For all the positives of NC State's win against Western Carolina Saturday -- 48 points, 480 total yards, seven straight scoring possessions -- head coach Tom O'Brien was adamant that the Wolfpack needed to get much better before facing tougher opponents during the next several weeks.
For the Pack, this week of practice has been the first opportunity to take the necessary steps to make that a reality. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible said it's important to honestly evaluate film following any game, even if it's a 41-point victory.
"We sit down, evaluate it, watch it closely and really see what we're doing," Bible said. "Then we try to repeat the things we're doing well and trying to correct the things that need correcting."
Tight end George Bryan, who caught three passes for 23 yards and also hauled in a touchdown against the Catamounts, said one area of concern was how the offense started the game.
"We came out a little slow," he said. "We went three-and-out on the first drive but the special teams made a big play for us so we could go right back in and score. We need to come out and execute our assignments and techniques perfectly from the beginning so when we do play these tougher teams we'll be ready for it."
The level of competition will certainly go up in a big way Saturday when the Wolfpack take the field against Central Florida. The Knights opened up the 2010 season with a 38-7 victory over South Dakota. Central Florida's defense, which ranked fourth nationally in 2009 against the run, is a strength of a team which finished 8-5 last season.
Russell Wilson said the experience UCF brings to the table is something State has noticed in film study this week.
"They have a lot of experience, more than anything," he said. "They have played a lot of games, and we have too as an offense. They are a great defense, they have a lot of speed and they are physical. It's going to be a good game."
In 2009, NC State proved time and again that when its offense could execute, points would come. The same rang true against Western Carolina Saturday. Bible said consistent execution is still the most important part of any game for the Wolfpack offense, regardless of the opponent.
"We feel the onus is on us. If we execute and work our offense that will put us in the best position to be successful," he said. "Our approach is an unselfish approach, we're not looking to get anybody specific numbers, that's not how this offense is put together. We're going to go where we have the best matchup and where we have the best chance to succeed."
Bible did admit, however, that UCF will be a major early season test. The game agains the Knights is the first of eight straight against teams who made bowl games in 2009. The Wolfpack won't face an opponent who had a losing record in 2009 until mid-November, when Wake Forest visits Carter-Finley.
"Clearly we have to, in all areas, take those steps from week one to week two and show improvement. This will be heck of a test for us," he said.
Bryan agreed, saying that NC State will need to be ready when it takes the field Saturday.
"With the weapons we have on offense and the offensive line we have I feel like we could be unstoppable, but we've got to come out and run our assignments in order for that to happen," he said.