Noles News 10.27.11

This is pretty cool. If you "like" this Kraft foods facebook page, Kraft donates a meal for the holidays. 

What do you think the attendance will be for tonight's awesome matchup between Virginia and Miami? I'll say actual: 31,000 / announced 45,000. Get ready for those tight camera angles.

Perhaps dad is winning out here? Mario Edwards Jr., he of the "my top two consists of OU and LSU but I am still an FSU commitment" fame, is visiting FSU this weekend per our friend Josh Newberg.

Dave Telep - State of the Game - The insider's guide to dirty recruiting - ESPN
In 2002, LeBron James helped demonstrate how much money surrounds the recruiting trail, and its impact has not dissipated. Dave Telep provides an insider's guide to dirty recruiting.

Gerald Christian, Robert Clark To Transfer From Florida - Alligator Army
Florida's passing game is losing two more options: the Gators have announced that Gerald Christian and Robert Clark will transfer. They weren't in line for PT and this clears more room for a big signing class.

Florida State in lower third of the ACC’s Graduation Success Rate – Chopping Block – Seminoles Blog – Orlando Sentinel
Not unexpected

WORTHY ADVERSARY: MARK MAY - Every Day Should Be Saturday
Pure gold from EDSBS

Attacking "Psycho" fronts and other blitz heavy defensive looks | Smart Football
When asked earlier this season how he would describe the current trend in modern defenses, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton summed it up in one word: "confusion."

"I can run on it and everything," Sweezy said. "I'm just ready to get back into football." - Backing The Pack
N.C. State gets its DT back.

Baby Got Less Back Than Expected - Backing The Pack

For attrition-ravaged Gators, road back begins with long-neglected numbers game - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports

Week Nine F/+ Rankings - Football Study Hall
This week's Football Outsiders F/+ college football rankings. These are the composite combo of S&P+ and FEI. FSU the 20th-best team in the country by performance to date? I can get on board with that.

UNC Game Film Review - Shakin The Southland

Tobais Palmer Enters the Annals Of NC State Stuff - Backing The Pack

A receiver got a concussion in the pre-game? Ouch. 

Inside, find what Jimbo Fisher and N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien had to say on the ACC teleconference!


Jimbo Fisher

Very happy the way our team perform against Maryland. Maryland had a very good ballclub, was doing a very good job on offense, and I thought our defense played a very good game, gap sound against a lot of the quarterback run things which they did and which they presented a lot of problems. And when O'Brien came into the game we adjusted, made a pass and made a few plays. On offense, I thought we were pretty sharp, moved the ball pretty well, took advantage of some opportunities. Special teams were very solid in the game, and we have to continue to grow and get better. And we took another step. Was very happy, I thought we ran the ball much better in the second half, ran the ball with pretty good effectiveness and we have to continue on both ends to get better. But we are making progress and I'm very pleased with the direction we are going.

Q. Off topic of this week's game but Christian Ponder created a stir with his first start in Minnesota, but can you talk about his mental makeup and did you notice a fearlessness?

COACH FISHER: No doubt. The injuries he played with -- a couple years ago he played with two broken ribs. Matter of fact, NC State game, two years ago down here, broken them about second drive, played with no pain in the first half, we won a 45-42 game and won the game. He played tremendous, played the whole year like that. Played with the elbow that was last year; the competitiveness, the toughness, the things it takes to win and gained the respect of your teammates. He's an ultimate competitor, extremely intelligent, prepares very well. He has all of the intangibles to be a very good player, and hopefully he'll continue to play well.

Q. There seemed to be some questions about whether or not he deserved to be drafted as highly as he was. What did you tell teams, the NFL folks?

COACH FISHER: I thought he deserved to be that high, I really did. His arm strength is much better than people give credit for, great balance body control, can make decisions, process the information, lead, be tough. That's everything you want. The guy can do everything, he really can. And like I said before, and I don't mean it as a knock, one thing you have to remember with him at Florida State, the only drafted player he had ever played with on offense was Rodney Hudson there was never a skill guy around him that was drafted. That's not a knock. You put some first, second round guys around him as a quarterback and the numbers, and the pace he was going on before he got hurt in the eighth or ninth game of his junior year when he got hurt at Clemson, he was on pace for 4,000 yards and that's without a drafted guy around him. So I mean, we had a couple free agents make it, but the guy, he's going to be a very good player hopefully if he continues. He has all of the ability, there's no doubt.

Q. NC State has the nation's leader in interception in there in the secondary, David Amerson, when there's a guy back there like that, does that affect the way you game plan on offense?

COACH FISHER: Oh, yes, always have to know who the great players are, whether he's a pass rusher or cover guy or whatever, and when the ball is around him, he has great ball skills, he adjusts, his instinct, he breaks on the ball. He does a very good job. There's no doubt you definitely have to be aware of where he's at and what he's doing at all times.

Q. You talked just a little there, but watching on film, what stands out about him?

COACH FISHER: Playing with his eyes very well. They are a very zone-oriented team with a lot of fire zones but he understands where the ball is going to go, understands down and distance. He's long, he's big. He can play man when he has to and he uses that size advantage and his leverage and gets his body in position and breaks on that football extremely well.

Q. You have the same issue I would suspect with your defense and special teams with T.J. Graham, who is probably as explosive as him, can you comment on that along the same lines?

COACH FISHER: Yeah, you have to know where he's at, you get him in one-on-one situations, he can definitely burn you, run by you. He catches the ball underneath. Great thing about him is he is a great return guy and he has running skills once he gets the ball in his hand on short routes. And they have done a bunch of that, hit eight-, ten-, 12-yard routes, and they did that last week at Virginia, they got a ten-yard out on third down and broke it for a long run. There are different guys even besides him. And his return skills, you have to know where he's at and you have to hem him up and we have to be very disciplined in our special teams and our lane coverages and how we kick it and make sure we get great height on the ball and all those types of things and whether you kick it way from him or don't. On offense, you have to know where he's at, because he can create the big play. I mean, there's no doubt, he's a heck of a football player. I think he's averaging, what, 21.8 yards a catch.

Q. Does he remind you of anybody?

COACH FISHER: I haven't really thought of it that way, there's so many guys. And I always say this, I don't like comparing guys because guys are all different, you know what I'm saying. And I don't know him, I never been around that, so to say that is unfair, but he's very impressive on film.

Q. I think I read that you had tried to recruit Mike Glennon out of high school; is that right?

COACH FISHER: Yeah, we went up and looked at him and talked to him and he came down and visited us, yes.

Q. What did you like about him? What does he have that fit what you look for quarterback?

COACH FISHER: One thing that jumped out at you when you saw the arm count. The ball jumps out of his hand, he can drive it, he's accurate. And you met him and very intelligent, sharp, good leader. Make a very -- just a great overall person you would like to have in your organization. We were just very impressed when I saw him in the camps and the things he did. I saw him in a Nike camp one time. Very complete football player. Great size which I think is important, too, if you can have it. Big, physical, can take punches; in other words, with his body, is not a thin guy, strong guy, and has good instincts for the game. Moves in the pocket well. He's a good quarterback.

Q. Winning two in a row now, are you doing certain things better than you were in your losing streak?

COACH FISHER: We have been taking care of the football all year except for the one game against Wake we didn't take care of it very well. We eliminated some penalties, playing a little smarter and we are getting out and getting good starts and playing from ahead and we are able to keep balance. We are still able to run the football and mix the run and the pass and keep balance so you don't get one-dimensional, which can make you get penalties when you play from behind because you are having to throw it from behind and all those things. I think defensively we are playing much sounder. And in our gap control, we were not playing, before, we would play five games a game that would slip up and somebody would miss a gap and they would hit a big play. We are doing a much better job that have and continue to go put good pressure on the passer in things that we do and special teams are playing solidly. Some of the self-inflicted wounds I think we are eliminating.

Q. Your rush defense, is that a function of a strong defensive line, good linebackers or

COACH FISHER: I think it's a combination of both and a priority. I'm a believer in this as the head coach: You have to be able to run the football, which was what was frustrating me earlier in the year and now we are getting better at and I think you have to be able to stop the one run. Those are two things we put high priorities on. I think we are very physical up front. I think have good size and not only our ends, they can rush but they can play the bigger guys, they can play the run. I think we have big inside guys, our linebackers that are solid, and our safeties are doing a great job of fitting and filling in when we have to. It's a priority for us. I'm a firm believer that you have to be able to stop the run.

Tom O'Brien

TOM O'BRIEN: We're certainly working hard to get ready to go play a really explosive Florida State team. They started the year ranked in the top ten. They look like they're back to being a top ten football team right now, very explosive on offense, and leading this conference in defense. It'll be a great challenge for us, but our kids look forward to going down there and competing with them.

Q. I was just wondering how much of David Amerson's success picking off passes has been about his instinct and how much you think has been about your scheme?

TOM O'BRIEN: I think it's probably a combination of both. You know, he's a kid that when you look at eight interceptions in seven games, it's a pretty big accomplishment, especially for this school since nobody has done it here since -- it ties the record since 1938, so that's a pretty good record to have right now. Hopefully he can get three more and get up to where Dré Bly was in '96 with 11. But he has great instincts and I think he has very good ability. He's a kid that has only been playing with us for two years, so he came into the scheme that -- he's learned it from the ground up. From day one he's come in and been coached to do what we want to do. But it has to be -- I think it's a combination of both things right now.

Q. Just to follow up with David Amerson, what were the things that -- he was primarily a safety in high school, and adjusting to cornerback in college, what are the things that he had to work his way through and learn about a little bit different position?

TOM O'BRIEN: Well, you know, we had him in camp, so as we put him through -- as he went through the camp and went through all the drills, we had no question at all that he could be a corner at this level and play at the highest level in the ACC at corner. So what he played in high school was not very significant for us one way or another since we had him in camp. So he has quick feet, he has great hands, he has good instincts. He's a student of the game. I think that's the thing that is the difference. As a freshman last year we had him rolled up into the boundary, and as a freshman, you're more worried about many other things than what's going on. Now he's more comfortable going to school and doing those things. He's become much more in the film study room -- he's got good anticipation. He got burned a couple times early in the season on a double move, but he's worked hard not to make that happen because he is so aggressive. All those, the little things and the study off the field is coming into play right now for him.

Q. I talked to him recently and he said that he spent a lot more time studying film than he ever has before. Particularly with guys in the secondary, does that give them that little extra edge if they believe that they can anticipate what a receiver is going to do?

TOM O'BRIEN: Yeah, I think you want to look at formations, study splits. Is it a big split, is it a number split, is it a hash split, what does this receiver run from the split he's in. Maybe they can pick up a clue on where his feet are. They look for all different things, look for how they come off the football. As you study the guy, you get into what his patterns are, and I think David will be better and better as time goes on as he anticipates all visit our archives at those things.

Q. I never thought I'd see a Virginia-NC State game where neither team completed a pass to the tight end. Has there been any kind of evolution in offensive or defensive philosophy that's minimized the role of the tight end at all?

TOM O'BRIEN: No, George Bryan has been All-ACC last two years. We've had trouble getting him the ball all year because people have made a concentrated effort not to let him catch the ball. We threw one to him the other day and he dropped the ball. He had a chance to catch a ball there in a third-down situation, a little choice route in the middle of the field. So we haven't given up trying to get the ball to the tight end, we just have had trouble with it because people have spent a lot of time taking him away or taking him out of the game. In our case, I don't know about Virginia's.

Q. You mentioned George's drop in that game. That was far from the only one from the receivers. There have been a couple of games this season where you've had kind of a breakout of the drops. Any explanation for it? Anything you can do besides just reps?

TOM O'BRIEN: No, I think it's concentration and reps. You've got to look the ball in. A lot of cases that's the case. A cases guys had a chance to make touchdowns. In fact, there were three of them, four times we had chances to make catches and make touchdowns. They were overly excited, taking off before running, counting the points up or whatever. But it's a matter of concentration, looking the back in, squeezing it and putting it away so it can't be stripped. We'll go back to the fundamentals, go back to basics, go back to concentration. It isn't lack of effort, I know that, on our part.

Q. Any concern at all about reading Glennon's body language to see if he's getting frustrated out there?

TOM O'BRIEN: No, I think he did a great job. After the one series that had a couple drops, he went over and got them together and said, listen, just hang in there. Keep working. I'm going to throw the ball, you guys have to start catching it. Hang with me, I'm going to hang with you. We're going to get this done together. So I think it was great leadership on Michael's part.

Q. I want to go back to David real quick. How good are his hands?

TOM O'BRIEN: Very good.

Q. Have you ever thought about using him at receiver at all?

TOM O'BRIEN: No, we actually used Rashard Smith this year as you know to play both sides. David returned because of the loss of TJ and because of the loss of Tobais last week. He returned a kickoff. He can return kickoffs, he can return punts. He could be a receiver. He's a lot like Will Blackmon, the kid I had at Boston College that we played both ways, too. He could do that. But we chose Rashard because he's a little bit older and been around a little bit longer when we needed help earlier in the year.

Q. You've won two in a row now. Is there anything you were particularly pleased with from last week's game that you're telling the kids, all right, this is exactly what I want, keep it up for this week?

TOM O'BRIEN: Well, I think it's a combination that we started -- we were so devastated injury-wise and we started to get some guys back by the first game, and certainly the off-week allowed -- we had a lot of guys just beat up in themselves, and then getting (J.R.)Sweezy back and a couple others for Virginia, after being able to try to put a defense back together for a couple weeks, I think that was the biggest thing that happened. It was people and the players. They played with a lot of enthusiasm, knew that they were going up a really good Virginia football team, coming off a great win against Georgia Tech, and it was a very good victory for us to go on the road and win a game.

Q. What exactly what happened to Tobais Palmer before the game? And have you ever had a season where not one but two key guys have gotten hurt in pregame warm-ups?

TOM O'BRIEN: Never. I mean, as I keep saying, you can't make this stuff up. They were just out -- they go out early, they get to the stadium -- a lot of guys go out and just kind of toss the ball around, they were running around, he ran into another guy and got dinged and had a headache. So the doctor wisely said, you'd better stay out, and better safe than sorry. I mean, that was the case.

Q. How much did Bryan Underwood's role expand because Tobais was not available?

TOM O'BRIEN: Well, he was the only one left. We took Steve Howard from the other side. Thank goodness Steve has been around, knows every wide receiver position. We were basically down to four guys in the play in the first half against Virginia. We talk about a lot. You hear me say all the time, one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity. Bryan certainly made the most of his opportunity to get some time in there to play.

Q. Each year's team is a new thing, and prior to the Virginia game your three wins had been at home where people would have perceived you as the favorite. How important is it, and how much morale boost do you think your players got from beating an ACC team on the road?

TOM O'BRIEN: Well, it should be a good boost for them to understand how difficult it is. This league is very difficult to go on the road and to win, especially when you go play a good team and a team like Virginia who was 4-2 at that point and coming off a great win the week before. It caught their attention being the NC State football team and what a great team Virginia was and how great they were playing. But that one is by us, and we have to look forward to Florida State. We can't be looking in the rear view mirror. We have to get focused on Florida State or you can get run out of the ballpark down there.
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