O'Brien Pleased With Spring Opener

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media today following the Wolfpack's first spring practice.

Tom O'Brien

Did you get a chance to watch Toney Baker any today?
I watched him a little bit. I think he looked like he's back... he's not back to the Toney Baker he was when we first came, but it didn't look like he favored it at all. It didn't like he felt any pain one way or another, so this is going to be a process for him.

It's just a start. The important thing is how is he going to feel tomorrow?

One thing he mentioned was how excited he was when you and the staff came in because he felt like he was a good fit for your offense. Did you feel the same after watching him that first spring?
Certainly. We named him the starter. He started that [first] football game, and we thought he was the best back coming out of spring practice... and to be the back for us as we started here.

The injury was devastating, not only for him but for us.

Thoughts on Terrell Manning's progress:
Certainly having the opportunity to practice before the bowl, I think it helped him a lot.

I think, just a general comment, you can look at them all, you see what the difference a bowl practice means. You've only been off the field two-and-a-half months, things are... everything was much more concise, every drill was faster, guys know where to go and what to do. It looked like we haven't missed a beat.

Getting back to him, that was huge to be able to get that first experience to get on the field and do something. You can only get better by playing, so he has to use some of that to fall back on. He's got a lot to learn and today was just a start for him too.

Pretty pleased with your first practice?
Yes, as I said, it was much better from an organizational standpoint, much better from an execution standpoint.

Certainly with your third year and you've established what you're going to do on offense and what you're going to do defense, you see the fruits of that happening now because there's not a lot of change.

They understand where to get lined up, not that we did it right all the time, but you get lined up more times and you can execute and play faster...which is what the key is.

You're looking for two new guards. How do you see Zach Allen competing for one of those two spots?
They all have got a shot. It doesn't matter where they are on the chart right now, they all have to go out.

As I told them in the team meeting, if I'm on the second or third line, my job is to beat out the guy ahead of me because there is no job given right now. I'm going to tell him I'm coming for his job.

He's got a chance to prove himself and the spring will be big for him.

How much of an adjustment is it from going to the two-deep from the scout team?
They have to change their mentality. They are not scout team anymore, and I don't think some of these freshmen will have a problem with that mentality.

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