Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Q&A with Tom O'Brien

Q&A excerpted from N.C. State football coach Tom O'Brien's news conference Monday:

Q: You have a guy (quarterback Russell Wilson) that's playing statistically at the top of the conference.

A: I think you have to give a lot of credit to Dana Bible and what he's done. The whole thing about coaching quarterbacks is you want to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

We changed the offensive scheme, we went to more spread stuff. In the spring we did it, number one, so our defense could practice against it because so many people do it.

Number two was the thought that if Russell ended up being the quarterback it suited his skills a lot better than the things we did with, say, a Matt Ryan.

We went back to some of the stuff we did with Paul Peterson at Boston College. And then you have to give Russell a lot of credit.

Q: What was your impression of Nate Irving when you first saw him?

A: He was a lost kid. He didn't know what he was... I mean, he wasn't ready to play when we first got here, our first experience with him. But he's a guy that's worked hard. I don't know, I still don't know what Nate is.

He's still only started 10 games for us. He's got a lot of good football ahead of him and certainly there's a lot more than he can learn.

Q: Do the improved tackling fundamentals continue to show up on defense?

A: First time in history (for this team) that we didn't have a safety miss a tackle was last week.

Q: Really?
A: Bellwether day. We set records. We were missing five a game, I think.

Q: Can you give us a thumbnail sketch of your opinion of (North) Carolina offensively?

A: It's a pro-style offense. They're multiple in what they do. A lot of shifts. A lot of motions. A lot of guys moving around. And they run power football up front. Run the power like we do. Run the gut play inside.

A lot of reverses. I think the last three games they've run 13, 14 reverses. They're getting the ball to their skill players who can make plays with it.

And then they go deep. They've got those good wideouts that can go deep.

-- Ken Tysiac