O'Brien Talks FSU

Head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media following Thursday's practice to discuss Saturday's trip to Florida State and what NC State will need to do to win.

Tom O'Brien PC

What will you have to do better Saturday than you've done all year to win?
"Everybody has to be much better. This is a team that pre-season was top 10 and I think they are playing like they are top 10 again. If we have any kind of chance everybody on this football team has to have their personal best day."

What is the approach in the game plan to deal with their offensive speed? Do you just try to keep them in front of you?
"That's what you try to do, keep them inside and keep them in front of you, keep them surrounded the best you can. That's easier said than done but that's the challenge for our defense. The kids are excited about going down and playing so we'll see how we do."

E.J. Manuel's health has improved recently, but is there anything else you've seen from him recently where he feels more comfortable?
"His health is back. Last year when Ponder was hurt he was forced to play some, that all adds up. You get better when you play in football games and he went through the whole spring, through the preseason and then went down in the first game. It set him back a little bit but he still has those experiences to draw on that he got playing last year."

NC State's offensive line pitched a shutout against Virginia regarding sacks. What do they have to do Saturday to make that happen again?
"They have to do the same thing. Have to keep the quarterback clean. There is no question that's going to be a great challenge but we seem to be getting a little better each and every week. Maryland got sacked six times last week. We're going to have to be on top of our game."

What things from the Virginia game do you hope the defense can build on heading down the Florida State?
"They stopped the run and made it a one-dimensional game. I don't know if we'll be able to do that but that's certainly, you want to try to make the offense be one dimensional."

FSU's offensive line has been reworked. What can you do to expose some of their inexperience?
"I don't know, we'll have to see what the defense comes up with. They've studied the line and we'll try to put our guys in the best position to be successful Saturday."

How important is it for your defensive line to finally have some continuity from last week's game to this week?
"That's the most important thing, especially playing defense. Defense in particular, to have the continuity, the same guys week in week out then you get a chance to get better."

Is there any secret to why Florida State and NC State have had so many close games over the last 10 years or so?
"Every game we've played for four years has been a good tight game. It's a good challenge, they are still the measuring stick I think on our side of the bracket. It excited the kids to go play against them."

How much have you been stressing field position and special teams this week?
"Special teams is always an emphasis but certainly when they have a return type of game like they do it has to be a huge point of emphasis. We'll continue to work. We're not to the point where we can ask our kickers to kick the ball away. They aren't mature enough to do that right now. We have to live with it and hopefully make up for it on cover teams."

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