Excited to take our
first road game as a team, see how we can handle
the things that happen when you go on the road,
the different routine, the bus, the hotel, obviously
an unfamiliar locker room and field.
It's a big
challenge for us this week at Wake, a place that
State traditionally hasn't played well. The last
seven of eight times they traveled up there they
haven't come home happy. It's been a home-team
advantage for the last however many contests.
We're excited about the opportunity. I
know our players are looking forward to competing
against them. I know that they will play hard.
Can you remember a season where
you waited this long to play your first road
game? The fact it took this long, are there any
special challenges to break that routine and go
out on the road?
To answer your first
question, no, I've never had four home games in a
row with a 10-day prep. At Wisconsin we did open
up with a bunch of home games one year, but we
played straight through that year, we didn't have a
bye. That part of it's unique.
It's not like we're going a long ways. It's
pretty close as far as this trip. But it's different for
sure to play your fifth game on the road, to have
had a bye week somewhere sandwiched in there
before we played Clemson. It's definitely different.
As far as the routine is concerned,
how do you get your kids to break what they've
known for the last five weeks?
We actually changed
the routine for the week. We do some things
different. Normally as a team you stretch in one
area. We go to a different area and stretch. We
do everything on opposite fields just to kind of
make our guys have to function in a different way
for the week.
It's been something that we did at
Northern. It was good for us. They get used to the
change. Every time we go out on the field, it's
different than they're used to. We talk about it a
lot. It's not something we're ignoring. We're
talking about the routine change and we want the
kids to embrace it.
You talked before the season about
wanting to be a better road team this year.
How do you as a coach try to get that wish to
go into effect?
obviously you spend time talking to your team
about. It's a challenge we made a long time ago
for our program to move from a challenging
opponent to being a contender. We have to be
able to take our show on the road, bottle up our
energy we have at Carter Finley, take it
Whether it is loud there or quiet
there, we can't care. We have to be able to play
within ourselves and block out the distraction, or
not be brought down by the lack of energy at some
schools where they don't have crowds, and just
play exactly the same way we would play in our
We talk about it. We spend time talking
about it. It's been a big conversation piece this
week obviously. But in the off-season it was
something we talked about a lot.
I wanted to ask you about the fact
you're getting your wide receivers into play in
the running game. Is that something you've
always done? Can you talk about why you do
that, how effective it is.
It's something that I
really believe in. The misdirection part of our
offense is very important. My goal from a
defensive background is to test the edges and the
soundness of people's games. We're going to pull
them laterally with our jet game, our arounds, and
we're going to press them vertically with our zone
and power schemes. It puts a lot of stress on the
I think it's something that allows us to
utilize our speed. It helps our offensive line
because it pulls people out of the box. If they're
not going to pull out of the box, we're going to hand
it off to those guys and let them run. If they are, it
gives us a chance to run up inside against
The last two weeks especially,
Bryan Underwood, he's been very explosive.
He had 10 touchdown receptions last year.
Talk about the importance of getting the ball in
He's practiced better.
In the last two weeks he's had his best two weeks
of practice. He's gotten the ball more because of
that. A lot of these guys didn't have good practice
habits, didn't go fast all the time. That's not
something that we encourage now. He's bought
into the fact that when he practices fast, he plays
As long as he keeps doing that, he's going
to be a weapon for us, and we're going to find a
way to get our weapons the ball.
Recap your first four games. What
do you have to work on this week against a
really tough Wake Forest team?
Each week is a little
different. Our biggest issue has been change in
the lineup. This will be the third game in a row
we've had the same offensive line play together.
I'd like to see fewer tackles in our backfield because of that. That will be a challenge because
Wake has a great nose guard. I really like how
hard their defensive ends play.
That's the big thing, is we want to keep
people out of our backfield and limit the number of
plays that are made back there. That's a big goal
for our offensive line in this game. It would be
impressive for them to attain it.
Second thing, and we got better last week,
hurt us at Clemson, is to continue to minimize the
pre-snap things that we do from an illegal formation
or a guy jumping off-sides, just have not beating
Then defensively the takeaways I think are
huge. We're on defense getting three takeaways a
game, it's remarkable how much better we play on
offense because of field position.
Talk about rivalries in games. This
is a local rivalry in North Carolina. Talk about
what rivalry games mean for you.
Well, this game really
isn't a rivalry game. It's more of an in-state pride
game for us. I think anytime you're playing a team
that you recruit against within your borders, it's a
I just think we run into guys a lot in this
state in recruiting. We cross paths a lot on higher
academic kids in particular with Wake and Duke.
To be able to say you beat them helps you. It's
important we have that ability to say that. I'm sure
from their standpoint it helps them when they can
We definitely respect Wake. Definitely
have a ton of respect for their coaching staff, the
way they handle themselves professionally. It's a
game that both sides are going to want to win