O'Brien: Safeties were 'baptized under fire'

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tom O'Brien met the media following Monday's practice and discussed having more experience at safety and the difference between the second and third scrimmages.

Tom O'Brien Audio

"I don't know if [R.J. Mattes] has taken a vocal leadership role just yet, but he's the most experienced guy up there having started as a freshman, so he's learning a new position himself moving to left tackle. There are a lot of nuances that he is still working to get down and he's working hard. The more comfortable he feels the more he'll be able to take a more vocal role."

"Same thing as always, hold onto the ball and pass protect. Those are the two things [the running backs] have to do well and those are the two things that are critical for our success right now."

"[Earl Wolff and Brandan Bishop] were baptized under fire and their experience level is just so much greater right now than it's ever been. Learning on the run going through a spring practice we saw them develop last year, continue to develop in spring practice and certainly a lot faster this preseason practice right now. Expect them to be better and if they are better then we'll be better on defense."

"The recognition factor isn't there. Worrying about getting lined up and calling what they are supposed to call, they understand all that now so they can just go play and go to the football. And go as fast as they can get there. It's enabled them to make more plays which gives them more confidence."

"We're rotating a lot of guys in there, [McKay} Frandsen, [Daryl] Cato-Bishop, [Art] Norman, those are all guys that right now are kind of in the mix. We're trying to find out who the best four guys, three guys, two guys are going to be. We'll start with two and work our way up."

"The third scrimmage is totally different than the first two. It's all situational, it's all going to be end of game situation. Either the offense is going to be ahead or they are going to be behind, conversely the defense is either behind or ahead, it changes the whole complexion of the scrimmage. There is a lot two-minute situations, a lot of run out the clock situations, we spend the whole time on those situations. Basically you start working on the quarterbacks Master's Degree to see if he can figure out what he's doing."

"It's better now. It was good, [Duran] Christophe went down, it got bad. Now it's starting to get better. They took a little bit of a beating the last scrimmage but they won't get the same opportunity to run the ball."

"It took a while, as I say all the time people always remember the last five years not the first five years that I was there. It takes a while. The biggest thing right now, in the last couple of years we lost [Denzelle] Good, Sam Jones and we lost [Torian] Box this year. You can't keep losing guys like that. As we got here we had to start signing junior college guys to fill in. We're getting the development going but I think we're on track."

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