Thursday, November 4, 2010

More on team building from Pack's O'Brien

A comment N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien made in a story in Wednesday’s editions of the Charlotte Observer and News & Observer was jarring enough that other media have followed up seeking further details.

In a story describing team building exercises the Wolfpack did in July, O’Brien said that his first three N.C. State teams might not have benefited from similar exercises because of their lack of character.

Asked about that comment, O’Brien expanded Wednesday on the ACC’s weekly coaches’ teleconference:

“I didn’t paint the whole football team as a character issue, but there were enough guys that, it was all about, ‘Me.’ It wasn’t about team. Nothing was going to change in their mind. That was who they were, and 31 guys, 32 guys aren’t here because they didn’t want to conform to the team concept with what we’re trying to get accomplished here.

“We had great kids when we got here. The Evans twins. I can go down the list of great kids. But there weren’t enough of them. They couldn’t overcome some of the ‘me’ and the ego problems that we had when we got there. If you have an ego, you have no chance to be a teammate. You have to forgo a lot of those ‘I’ and ‘me’ situations if you’re going to be a true teammate. We’ve made great strides in that area with these kids playing for each other instead of playing for themselves.

“[This team], they want to do the right things. They want to be good. They want to do whatever it takes to win within the rules and regulations of the game and the campus and everything else. There was that want-to feeling from a majority of guys. It can’t be just three, four, five guys. You can’t have 25 guys committed to want-to, and 75 not. Now when those numbers change over time, which we’ve had to change by attrition, whatever, and you get that number high enough, then you can absorb all those guys that maybe aren’t the want-to guys. The guys that really want to do it and be leaders, they will lead the rest of the Pack.”

It’s been argued that O’Brien disrespected the players on his first three teams who did have high character because of his initial statement. Nothing could be further from the truth.

O’Brien obviously wasn’t ever saying everybody on his first three teams was a “me-first” guy. Current team leaders such as Russell Wilson, Jarvis Williams and Nate Irving were on those teams, too, and O’Brien clearly appreciates their character.

His initial comment was jarring enough, though, that I asked him if he was comfortable with it during the exclusive interview that led to the story. He said he was.

“We had some bad guys,” O’Brien explained. “I’ll say this. There’s a lot of things we could have done and it wouldn’t have made any difference with them. They weren’t going to listen, and they had no intent on being a team player. They were nothing but ‘me’ kind of guys, and most of them, there’s even more that aren’t in the program because of it.”

O’Brien has said a more team-first attitude is one reason that N.C. State (6-2, 3-1 ACC heading into Saturday’s game at Clemson) is off to its best start in years. And he’s sticking to that story as the Wolfpack seeks its first berth in the ACC championship game.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Tom Obrien, keep this ship headed in the current direction and you wont believe the gratitude that the wolfpack nation will show you

Anonymous said...

Yep, Tom is certainly a great leader when he calls a local senior citizen to request that he not press charges against one of Tom's players who had robbed him.

Anonymous said...

^ keep hating tarhole, its what yall do best

Dwight Willoughby said...

Why don't you quit hiding behind the anonymous tag and identify the player you're talking about, as well as yourself! .
Hmmmmm, I didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Butch needs to put a call into the "Agent" that forked over money to the Tarheel players that got booted. They robbed him evidently because all of their draft statuses dropped considerably. If they all still get drafted.