"Their tackles will come," Wolfpack defensive coordinator Mike Archer said of Cole and Irving following Tuesday's practice. "It just so happened in the way they attacked us and what they did... also, those two only played about 25 snaps. We got them out of there, we only played 49 plays as a defense in the game.
"Like I said, their tackles will come. We're not worried about that. There were some things we didn't do which wasn't necessarily their fault. The front guys have got to do their job. Those are some things, we looked at the tape, that we know we need to get corrected this week."
NC State's defense came out looking to make a statement after a 2009 season that left them with a lot of question marks. Early on it looked like not much had changed after Western Carolina marched down the field 87 yards on the opening drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead. The Catamounts had a lot of success on the drive by attacking the middle of the Wolfpack's defensive front.
However, NC State made some adjustments and limited WCU to just 102 yards of total offense the rest of the way.
"We worked on that play probably 100 times within the past week," said Archer. "Sometimes when you put the lights on, guys tend to forget. I thought our last two scrimmages were really good in the running game, and they didn't do anything we didn't practice on.
"I think the speed of the game, the excitement of the game... we had four new starters up front. It was a combination of everything. The first play bounces outside, the corner comes in and supposed to have leverage. It was a combination of things."
"What they did when we got them on the sideline and we set them down, they made the adjustment," added Archer. "They didn't panic, they understand what they did and didn't do and went out and executed. That's the most important thing, they got better as the game went on."
Archer knows his team has a big challenge ahead of them this weekend. The Wolfpack hits the road to take on Central Florida, a program picked by some to win Conference USA. UCF features a balanced attack that totaled 476 yards of total offense in a 38-7 season-opening win over South Dakota. 231 of the yards came on the ground, as UCF averaged five yards a carry with sophomore Jonathan Davis accounting for 107 yards and a touchdown to lead the way.
"We've got to stop the run," said Archer. "Some things were exposed on Saturday night, and we've got to correct those things. They are going to look at that film and say, 'Okay, we can run this, this, and this... that's what Western Carolina did.' So we've got to get that corrected."
Getting back redshirt juniors Markus Kuhn and J.R. Sweezy at defensive tackle could certainly help the Pack's chances at stopping the run. The duo was suspended for the season opener, and if they return it should add depth to a defensive tackle rotation which had two players making their first starts being backed up by two freshmen.
"They add depth for sure," Archer said of Kuhn and Sweezy. "We were really thin going into the game, and we knew that because of their suspensions so we had to keep our fingers crossed. We'll have more depth there and be able to rotate guys into the game."
UCF isn't a one-dimensional team, as the stats in their opener indicated. They passed for 241 yards with starter Rob Calabrese completing 12-of-15 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown.
"They are going to throw the football," said Archer. "They are very balanced. They've got guys that can stretch you vertically. 81, 3, 14, 6 and 9, those are the guys. Guyton, No. 3, had eight catches so obviously that's a go-to guy for the quarterback.
"They've got good speed. Many of those kids played up here as freshmen in 2007 so we're well aware of how quick they are and how athletic they are."
Archer admits that it all starts up front for UCF. The Knights return four starters on the offensive line, led by senior tackle Jah Reid, and 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end Adam Nissley is an outstanding blocker.
"They are big and all of them are back with one exception. They may have as good an offensive line we'll play in the first half of the year.
"They are a very physical team, and it's going to be a fist fight. We know that. It's the way it was in 2007. We've got to go down there prepared for it."