O'Brien: The Rivalry is Exciting

RALEIGH, N.C. -- At today's press conference, NC State head coach Tom O'Brien discussed the upcoming game against North Carolina with the media.

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    Tom O'Brien

    "It's a tough blow for our defense. Shea has done a great job for us. It's unfortunate, but I think that's going to bring the total to 70 games we've lost to starters this year, which probably nobody in the history of college football has had to go through this, but we'll see what we can go do."

    "I don't know who they are going to choose to play but certainly they are going to choose who they think gives them the best chance to win, which tells you they think he is probably the more talented guy."

    "They haven't changed what they have done on offense from one to the other. If you look at earlier in the season to what they've done in the past. We have to prepare for the offense and the system, and whoever is the quarterback is the quarterback."

    "[Andre Brown had] a tough spring, broke his foot, then came back in the fall, but from that point on, he bought into what we were trying to do and how we were trying to run, and had some success in scrimmages. It's like with anything else, once you see... some guys they have to see themselves do it, and they have say, 'Ok, this is what we want, this is how we want it done, and this is how you have to do it.'"

    "As he saw that, and I think he experienced it, maybe not so much the first game but as we went in to the second and third game of the year he started to run a little harder up inside with a little more power, that he found out that he was pretty good at it, and he certainly got better as the year has gone on."

    "It's always fun to have games like this, and it's exciting to go over and play in games because it's so important to the community and to the school. Certainly that's all the players hear about all week whether they are in class or in town or whatever. That adds a little special significance to it."

    "Certainly being played in the middle of the year, it's kind of tough to really say it's an end-all game. Now I think it is for a lot of our fans, so that's why it's important to us that we go do it. It probably would add a little more significance if you could play it at the end of the year, but you're not going to change the Carolina-Duke game. That's the way it is."

    "Oh absolutely, I mean that's all you ever hear about. It starts with North Carolina then goes to East Carolina then goes to South Carolina, so you got to beat the compass schools."

    "It's going to be a tough one."

    "I think [Markus Kuhn has] learned a lot, in fact actually played extremely well once he got his opportunity... he had to go in there Saturday against Wake Forest. He's a kid that we talked about doesn't have any reservoir knowledge on football. Flying by the seat of his pants last year, we tried as hard as we could to catch him up in the spring. He's really a smart kid. I think just watching, it's helped him. He's gotten some time to play. He's been in every game, been able to rotate, but hasn't been called upon to play the kind of role that Shea has played for us. Still the best thing for Markus if we could have done it was to have been able to redshirt him this year, but we don't have that capability to do that."

    "I think you got to give a lot of credit to Dana Bible and what he's done. The whole thing about coaching quarterbacks is you want to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. We changed the offensive schemes... we went to more spread stuff because in the spring we did it, No. 1 so that our defense could practice against it because so many people do it, but No. 2 with the thought that if Russell did end up being the quarterback it certainly suited his skills a lot better than the things that we did with say a Matt Ryan. It went back to some of the stuff that we did with Paul Peterson at Boston College."

    "You have to give Russell a lot of credit. It was pretty obvious through the end of spring practice that when we got down to it that it was going to be one of the two freshmen that was going to be the quarterback because they were the two most talented kids we had at that position. Russell did a good enough job. Unfortunately for us he missed those games earlier in the year that probably set us back and set him back, but now that he's playing, he's got that bank of knowledge. Each week he learns something new. There's something that he hasn't seen or experienced, but the good thing about him is that really he doesn't make the same mistake again. That's one of the best traits that he has."

    "Yeah [Nate Irving] was a lost kid, he didn't know what he was doing. He wasn't ready to play when we first got here, our first experience with him. He's a guy that's worked hard. I don't know, I still don't know what Nate is, he's only started 10 games for us. He's got a lot of good football left ahead of him. Certainly there is a lot more that he can learn to be a much better football player."

    "He was a freshman in a system that we came in and changed the whole thing. Sometimes a freshman, you come in and you're trying to learn what the other guys are doing then all of a sudden everything changes, the names are changing. He wasn't dissimilar to a lot of guys last year that were lost. But as time went on, Nate's a quick learner, he's a smart kid, he kind of figured it out, and I think changing the way we played defense, with him always being into the boundary and seeing the same things in front of him makes him even better recognition-wise."

    "First game in history that we didn't have a safety miss a tackle was last week... we were missing five a game I think. [It was] probably [the first time since] DaJuan Morgan was here."

    "[North Carolina has] a pro-style offense. They're multiple in what they do, a lot of motion, a lot of shifts, a lot of guys moving around. They run power football up front. Run the power like we do, run the gut play inside, a lot of reverses. They're averaging, I think the last three games they've run 13 or 14 reverses. They're getting the ball to their skill players who can make plays with it. Then they throw the ball deep... they got those good wide outs that go deep, so they protect the quarterback and take shots."


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