O'Brien: 'They Never Gave Up'

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media following the 28-27 win over North Carolina.

Tom O'Brien

"I have to give our kids a lot of credit. That was a great effort by a pretty beat-up football team to be able to come back and win that game in the second half."

"Whoever scheduled that game as the last game of the year I'm kind of happy about it now."

"We gave up too many big plays in the first half. It wasn't like they were doing anything sustained at all. We had to take away the big plays and once we were able to do that, to make them work and drive, we had much better success, which you want to do."

"They had great effort, blocked a field goal, and the offense did a good job of making first downs there at the end."

"I certainly hope Dana is back because it's been hard all week trying to get this thing done. It was really hard last week and just hard this week... you have to give the offensive coaches a great amount of credit."

"They brought a lot of pressure again and for whatever reason. We beat the pressure, both running the football and throwing."

"I think it had a lot but I think it's more the seniors."

"This is the hardest year I've ever been through coaching. You start off with your best football player on defense almost killing himself in the summer. You end the year with your offensive coordinator in the hospital with cancer."

"We played with a walkon corner the whole second half when Byrd went down. We went through 16 or 17 season-ending injuries? That's unheard of for a football program, to have to go through what these kids went through."

"They never gave up. They kept fighting and playing, and it paid off today. It will pay off in the long run for this program."

"We were like a MASH unit out there. Every play somebody breaks this, does that. It's a disaster right now. Thank God it's over. I don't think we could go play in a bowl if we had to."

"We're going to be a heckuva football team here, and it's all because of the seniors."

"As disappointing as this year is, I think someday we'll look back and say things turned maybe today."

"Our kids didn't lack for confidence. Anytime Russell has the ball in his hands we have a chance. Those big wideouts go down there and get open, and he's good throwing it to them."

"When we caught them in man we were able to beat them in man."

"We worked all year hard to beat [man coverage]."

"It means a tremendous amount to this program. The seniors, they are going to ask how your senior year was and they can say we beat Carolina. It will sum up their year."

"Our fans... they suffered as much as all of us this year."

"Nobody can see Dana. He's in isolation because of infection."

"45 yards is about his limit... you don't want it low, you don't want it blocked... we had a chance to score. The ball was in his hands."

"As Russell said, he didn't know how to call the victory formation it's been so long."

"I thought that's what I had to do to win the football game. We weren't knocking them back running the football... we came up one first down too short."

"The last two years have been unlike anything I've ever been around... we haven't had a normal year here in two years. The situation we're in now is we have no upperclass at all."

"We played 17 freshmen this year. I haven't played 17 freshmen ever. We played seven true freshmen? I've never."

"Basically we've been hanging on."

"We needed everybody healthy coming back to be good. We had a chance to be good, that's coming out of spring. We lose Nate Irving. We lose three guys over the summer, one started so you're down two starters on defense and two other guys who backed up a lot, gone. Then you start going through all these injuries, and you can't replace them unless you have... there's good players in those nine guys we had but you need 15 of those guys as seniors."

"It affects you on special teams and everything you do... I think there will be only nine guys we inherited coming back next year."

"He made some tackles in crucial situations, and that's what we've needed. We're going to have some really good kids come in this program this year to go with some of those good, young kids. After that performance today he might find himself with a scholarship, you never know. He's got a chance to win a job in the spring, I'll give him that chance."

"He's sneaky fast. He got better on that post-move. That was the first touchdown, he ran a postmove and one safety bit on George which we thought they would. He beat him, just ran right by him."

"Everybody says where are your special plays, those are our special plays. We have had more 20+ yard completions this year than I think we've ever had. We work hard to find those type of plays and Russell has got good at throwing those plays."

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