O'Brien: No Free Passes on Saturday

N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien discussed this week's game against Murray State today in his weekly teleconference. O'Brien talked about several players, including Toney Baker, Russell Wilson, and redshirt freshman offensive lineman R.J. Mattes.

Opening Statement:
We started our preparation for Murray State yesterday. Certainly it's a program under coach Griffin that has got better the last four years... they are in their fourth year there. We look forward to getting back on the field and playing a game here on Saturday night.

Do you have a plan in place for Mike Glennon?
Yes, we hope to get him in the game depending upon... we really haven't discussed it yet, but we'd like to get him in the game in the first half again to get him a little more exposure and more experience.

Where does your offensive improvement have to come from?
Certainly up front. We have to do a better job with the offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage. We didn't do it in the first half. We got better at it as the game went on, and as the game progressed we ran the ball better and protected a little better.

I think those are things we have to do... and see if we can score a touchdown this week.

Did you see this coming from your offense?
We knew coming in that South Carolina last year was the #1 defense in the SEC. All through preseason coach Spurrier was raving about the defense, it was the fastest defense he's had since he's been there, so we knew they would be a formidable challenge for us.

As I said, we couldn't get anything going in the first half, but as the game went on we were able to move the ball. We just couldn't get the ball in the endzone.

Toney Baker was out for a while. On his first snap he fumbled, but came back and finished the game. How do you handle fumbling and try to get through to him?
Certainly you don't want to fumble the ball and Toney knows how important it is to hang onto the ball. He's mature enough and he understands.

He's been around long enough to know he can't let that bother his performance the rest of the game, which he didn't do.

We put [Jamelle] Eugene in the next series, gave [Baker] a little time to think about it and it was over. He went back in the football game and tried to help us win the game. I think he and coach Swepson, the running backs coach, handled it well, and hopefully we won't see that happen again this year.

When he did come back in and ran the ball, how do you think he looked?
I think he showed a spurt there a couple of times that it's getting back to where it used to be. We'll continue to build on that and get better each and every week this year.

Thoughts on the FCS upsets in the ACC and how FCS teams are playing FBS teams a lot closer:
The only thing when asked about that is there are no free passes on Saturday's anymore. There are a lot of good players. The 85-limit in total # of scholarships means there's a lot of kids out there that once they mature and grow up... you look at two very experienced [FCS] teams that beat two programs in our conference.

I dont think that's a surprise anymore, ans as you said there's a lot more closer games these days. They have good players too.

Thoughts on playing freshmen:
It comes down to which guys are ready to play at that point. They may not be the best athlete or most skilled, but they are able to handle the pressures, not only academically off the field, but being on the field in the right spot at the right time.

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman R.J. Mattes started against South Carolina. What are his strengths?
No. 1 he's a football player. He understands the game of football. He's been well-coached throughout his career. His father has spent a lot of time working with him. Also at his high school I think his dad ended up being his offensive line coach so he came in with a skillset that was pretty well-defined to start with.

He's extremely physical and a coachable young man that has a great desire to succeed and win. A lot of those things play into his favor.

Russell Wilson's streak without throwing an interception has now reached third all-time in NCAA history. Has that amazed you at all?
It's pretty amazing. You have to give him a lot of credit and Dana Bible. They've done a great job being in an offense that suits Russell, suits his skills and he's done a great job making decisions one way or another.

The thing that helps him is his confidence to pull the ball down and take off and run. Some cases maybe he doesn't take chances that other quarterbacks would have to because they are not elusive enough to get themselves out of the pocket.

We're so numbers-driven now do you think Russell has noticed that streak going on?
I would be very surprised if Russell paid any attention to anything like that.

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