O'Brien's Thoughts

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien spent nearly an hour with the media at the ACC Kickoff and gave his thoughts on several of his players heading into fall practice.

Senior Linebacker Nate Irving
The thing that Nate does is Nate finishes plays. He's always been a finisher. A lot of guys can read plays and a lot of guys sees thing when they get there… as I said earlier, they like to inspect the body when they get there. That's not Nate. He goes there and makes the play.

He's got us off the field in a lot of crucial situations when he has played. If he can play 12 games and play middle linebacker the way he's capable of playing it will be a big boost to the defense.

Junior Quarterback Russell Wilson
I believe he's coming back this year to try and solve the issue if he can be a NFL player. He already has his opportunity to be a Major League Baseball player. I think that keeps him focused and keeps him driven.

Russell has some traits that not a lot of people have.

We got into a situation after his first year where he made all those plays running around. We knew that the defensive coordinators in the league weren't going to let him do that. We made a concerted effort to try and make him understand how to be a pocket quarterback. They weren't going to let him run. You wouldn't let him run if you played against him either... you'd keep him in the pocket.

Sophomore Quarterback Mike Glennon
Mike Glennon is going to push Russell for the starting job. That's what his job is. One of the things that was a benefit for Michael is all the snaps he got in spring practice, and he got good. He got better.

We don't know how rusty Russell is going to be when he comes back because he hasn't played football since he put the ball down the last weekend of November last year. That's his job, to try and win the job away from Russell Wilson. That way we'll have great competition and two guys fighting for a job. We're going to have a heckuva quarterback come September 4th.

Senior Wide Receiver Owen Spencer
He's worked hard at that, making the plays he's asked to make. I think he's grown physically and maturity-wise. He's sneaky fast. He runs by guys all the time. You'd think after tape you'd say don't let this guy run by you but he does. Obviously he gets up on them pretty quick and they don't know he's going to run by them.

Freshman Safety Everett Proctor
[Moving proctor to safety] was more of a doctor's decision than ours because the surgery was in the front. It was one that was probably not going to hold up if he kept throwing the football. The doctor said you can stay at quarterback but you're probably going to do this again. I don't think you want to go back through that surgery.

He had a nagging hamstring and had to take himself out of the spring game the last week or so. He's got to get himself in condition, lose a little weight, he got a little heavy after his surgery. He has to get his weight down. Hopefully he has a good preseason camp because he can help us back there at safety.

Sophomore Linebacker Terrell Manning
I think he was like a lot of the freshmen. He played last year kind of blindly and just ran around out there... wasn't real sure what was going on.

Jon [Tenuta], who is a pretty dang good position coach, he helped him a lot this spring and I think Terrell learned a lot. He had a very good spring.

Senior Defensive End David Akinniyi
He's a really good football player. He's going to play a lot of football for us because he can do a lot of things. He's really technically sound in the fundamentals of playing the game.

Sophomore Lineman R.J. Mattes
He's a huge key for the offensive line to come back. He's really… he's a football player. He's a tough kid. He plays with an attitude you like to have on the offensive line. Those are all things that add… mental toughness is probably the hardest thing to get, and he's one of those guys that is mentally tough.

Freshman Robert Crisp
I think we have to watch him in practice. We have to go through the preseason camp and see how it goes. If he's good enough to play, he'll play. Redshirt him? He might not be here in five years anyways if he's that good.

Senior Wide Receiver Jarvis Williams
He's a big, strong guy that's really learned to use his body. I think he's increased his speed too, he's worked hard to get a little faster. He's learned to use that body. He'll position guys and go up and make catches that smaller guys can't make.

He adds a certain toughness. When we go to blocking drills and things like that he'll go down and knock somebody down for you. To a position not known for its toughness... he adds a little bit of that.

Junior Tight End George Bryan
He gives you a ton of options. He's got tremendous hands. The thing he's done is become a better blocker which is going to help the running game.

Sophomore Asa Watson
He played last year and is a really talented individual.

Junior Audie Cole
He was a high school quarterback who had to turn linebacker. We talked about Terrell Manning, the same thing, he's got to be better. Those two guys step up and improve and you throw Nate in the middle it stands to reason you might have a good linebacker corps.

Junior Defensive end Jeff Rieskamp
Rieskamp can add a lot because he was one of our best pass rushers a year ago. Losing him last year was a blow tot he defense. he's another guy walking around with a big smile on his face because he's feeling as good as he has felt. we'll see. hopefully he'll get back to where he was and be even better.

Junior Lineman Mikel Overgaard
He looks like he's going to be a good addition to the line.

Sophomore Lineman Andrew Wallace
From his infamous false start at the South Carolina game, whatever he did his first two plays, he's come a long way and grown up. Give him a lot of credit.

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