O'Brien: Graham 'Special' as a Returner

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media following Wednesday's practice. O'Brien discussed a number of topics including his secondary, wideout T.J. Graham, and the expectations of the program.

Tom O'Brien

"I can't control it. The only thing we do is work hard and try to put a football team together to go out and have a winning season to go to a bowl game. That's what our goals are and that's what we're working towards."

"More things have been done off the field I think than off the field to help us get our APR up and those kinds of things."

"If you don't build the first two as a solid foundation, you're going to be up-and-down all the time on the field."

"We're building a program. I think what everybody remembers is the last five years at BC. They don't look at the first five."

"It's his natural position for him. [Justin Byers has] played actually for two years with a shoulder. That's put him behind... he gutted it out for us for two years. He had surgery in the offseason... it was one of those things he could have played with. It wasn't as bad his first year but got progressively worse last year. He had to have surgery and he got it in the offseason. Now he is back to 100% and he's back to playing his position. I think he's much more comfortable there, and I think it's a position we need him at now. He's doing a good job for us."

"If you don't do it right off the field you're never going to get it right on the field."

"Obviously [T.J. Graham is] something special in the return game. Every time he touches the ball he has a chance to take it all the way which we've seen the first two years so that was a big loss for us last year."

"[Graham is] much more comfortable now as a wide receiver. He's making many more plays... maybe he came in more as a track guy than a football player, but now he's a football player. You can see it in all phases of his game."

"They should be. There isn't any reason why we can't be, but you can't be unless you have the pieces in place to be that way. For the last three years, we haven't had enough guys to do what we have to do. The one year that we got healthy at the end of the year and made a run at our only chance to get over the .500 mark, then we lose our quarterback at halftime of a bowl game."

"It's all documented. I'm not going to use the injuries as an excuse, but you need to have all your guys. You need to have all your weapons. It's too hard nowadays not to be able to use all the guys you have to be able to win."

"We think we can get to the top of the conference. We were able to do it at Boston College, certainly we can do it here."

"They understand the defense, which helps them now play faster. That's certainly the key on defense. We have to play much faster. We have to have greater anticipation. You can't be thinking about what you're doing, you have to be reactive."

"We haven't made any decisions anywhere. We kind of changed things around and moved a couple of guys around. We still have until Sunday before we have to make any decisions, so there's no sense making them on Wednesday when you have until Sunday."

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