Tuesday, September 29, 2009

N.C. State's 3-1 start has O'Brien in good humor

While N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien spoke at the Raleigh Sports Club on Sept. 2, a disgruntled fan whispered a protest at the back of the room.

The fan complained that the speech was typical of O'Brien. He was calling O'Brien dull. But the fan wasn't listening closely, and you've got to do that to appreciate O'Brien's dry sense of humor.

His weekly news conference Monday was a good example. O'Brien joked about the snap that center Ted Larsen sailed over quarterback Russell Wilson's head. He said Larsen would be better off rolling the ball back to Wilson, if necessary:

"The guy (Wilson) plays second base. He can pick the ball up and play."

O'Brien joked about a snap earlier this season that also sailed.

"He threw it over (Mike) Glennon's head, which is hard to do," O'Brien said.
Glennon is 6-foot-6.

O'Brien's sarcasm even showed after he discussed a timing error by the officials that caused N.C. State to settle for a field goal at the end of the second quarter Saturday against Pittsburgh. He said ACC officiating coordinator Doug Rhoads acknowledged the mistake, which was made by a Big East crew.

"But what good does it do me now?" O'Brien asked.

Good point, and good line. O'Brien, who's soft-spoken and blunt, doesn't work a banquet crowd the way flamboyant predecessor Chuck Amato did.

But O'Brien does have a sense of humor, and it's probably easier to show it when you're 3-1.

・Although O'Brien made light of them, the two bad snaps by Larsen, who moved to center from defense in the spring of 2008, concern the coach.

"That's two too many," O'Brien said. "He gets hyper sometimes. He gets too excited. The blitz was coming and he just let it go. That's inexperience on his part in never having been a center. In those (highly charged) situations, you deaden it even more."

・O'Brien said quarterback Russell Wilson's performance Saturday (322 passing yards, 91 rushing yards, 4 TD passes) still didn't earn him a grade above 90 percent.

You'd have to be just about perfect, O'Brien said, to grade that highly on his staff's scale. But O'Brien said Wilson's performance against Pittsburgh was as good as any in his career.

"The fourth-and-14 (scramble for a first down) was probably the play that turned the game around for us," O'Brien said. "And that was just Russell being Russell."


Anonymous said...

Without a doubt the best team in the state 2 years running. This is coming from an SEC fan.