O'Brien: 'They Are Excited'

NC State head coach Tom O'Brien fielded questions from the media today during his weekly teleconference. O'Brien talked about wide receiver Owen Spencer, Maryland, and much more.

Opening Statement:
It was certainly a difficult loss for our football team last Saturday in Tallahassee, but we've come back this week with renewed spirits. We look forward to getting back.

It seems like it's been forever since we've had a home football game... to play against Maryland here Saturday afternoon.

Owen Spencer is averaging 24 yards per catch. Are deep routes his specialty or does he get a lot of yards after the catch?
I think it's a combination of both but he's been our deep threat here from last year through this year.

He does a great job getting open deep... he caught a one-play drive ball last week. We tried to use a little more clock against Florida State, but that was a heck of a route he ran and a great pass by Russell to get him a touchdown-deep ball.

He set a record last year for yards per catch and he's actually ahead of that this year. We'll continue to work hard to get him the ball... he's just not a deep threat. He'll catch the ball underneath and catch short balls, but he's definitely been able to get open deep and make some big catches for us.

What are the keys to any receiving being able to consistently get open on deep routes?
First you need to protect the quarterback.. a lot of it is play-action passing we do so the line does a good job protecting and Russell does a good job, in the case Saturday and against BC, of being able to elude the rusher and being able to make the throw back down the field when he has him open.

He does a good job getting open, the line is protecting, and Russell is finding him which is a good thing for us.

You face another good quarterback this week. Any hope that defense can turn the corner or are you resigned to being in games like last week?
We hope we'll get better. We're going to go in with the same starting lineup that we had against Florida State, which hasn't happened yet, so that's a positive for us.

We're still banged up and beat up, but the kids came through the game Saturday... hopefully we'll be able to contain Maryland a little bit.

It's always frightening when coach Friedgen has an off-week to prepare. [Chris] Turner is a three-year starter and has done a great job for them. They seem to have been getting a little better each and every week. Certainly their defense has as they have become more comfortable to the blitz scheme they are employing.

We're going to have to play a great game Saturday to give ourselves a chance to win.

How are the guys handling being in the cellar of the ACC? Has it made you make any changes to get more points on the board?
I don't think they are focused on where they are in the conference. I think they understand you have to win one game before you can win two. That's what we're trying to do.

I don't know about... 42 points last week was... I don't know how many more we're capable of doing. Certainly the goal is to score one more point than the opposition.

There is no quit in these kids. They are excited about playing the game. They understand they have been dealt a very bad hand with 12 guys out for the year, but the good thing is the young kids that are getting an opportunity to play are excited about their opportunity and trying to make the most of it.

You still have a chance to go bowling. Is that another objective?
Certainly it is and that's one thing they hang on to. They know there is still hope, and they are still working to get to that point.

As I said before, we've got to win one game before we can win two. Our chances this week, it's the only game we have and we're putting everything we have into winning a football game Saturday against Maryland.

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