N.C. State football coach Tom O'Brien on Florida State

Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Doesn't sound all that confident. Oh, and three-year starter at guard Zach Allen will not play. No word on the other two tackles.

NC State head coach Tom O’Brien On if Florida State is the 'old Florida State' like TOB said after last year's game…

"They're another year older. They're tops in total defense, tops in scoring defense. The two [defensive] ends are special guys, Carradine and Werner. They lead in tackles-for-losses and sacks. Like everybody else, when you play this defense, you've got two 300-pounders inside that take care of the middle, linebackers run free and a lot of the guys in the secondary - they've seven starters back, I think, from last year - ten of them are juniors [and] seniors. The only sophomore is a field corner who can cover anyone, so they're exceptional on defense."

On comparing Clemson's scoring success against FSU…

"We're a little different than Clemson on offense. Actually, we're a lot different than Clemson the way we do the offense. Clemson's a game that we use in our breakdown, certainly."

On what the aura of beating FSU used to mean and if they're getting back to that point…

"I don't know that because your only talking about evidence of five games. I think they built their reputation over years of being a top-five, top-10 team. they've kind of fallen on tough times the last couple years, but it certainly looks like their trajectory is heading back in that direction. But it's the same thing: until you do things year-after-year-after-year, then that's when you get to be the elite status."

On the psychology of how team's used to ask themselves how much they were going to lose by…

"I don't think our guys feel about anyone that way, nor should they. Harking back on the Miami game, I think, once again, we lost a game. There isn't anybody in that locker room, all due respect to Miami, that thinks we got beat. We lost. We've got to figure out a way not to beat ourselves before we get a chance to win against a good football team. That's the focus of us this week, is getting better individually and getting better as a football team, and then going out and playing a great football game on Saturday night."

On what he saw in Miami film…

"[We] did some really, really good things on offense, except when you turn the ball over in the scoring zone like we did a couple times, and then you turn the ball over in their endzone, the defense did a pretty good job of holding them and then making them kick a field goal, which they missed, but to come back the way we did and tie the game up and then not come away with a victory at the end is a little tough to swallow. Defensively, it was a record-breaking gamer both teams, unfortunately, that we ended up losing the football game. We have nobody to blame but ourselves."

If the offsides on the field goal was the play of the game against Miami…

"In that game, you can pick 10 plays that could be the play of the game, but that certainly didn't help matters at all."

On repairing CB Davis Amerson's psyche…

"It's a work in progress and he’s going to be challenged on Saturday. This is a team whose wide receivers who, from top to-bottom, is as good as any team we play. Tennessee had two – they [Florida State] have six-to-eight guys that can run and catch the football, so it’s going to be a great challenge for him. I think he’s gotten away a lot from fundamentals. He’s been stressed the last couple of weeks, but if doesn’t hit home after last Saturday, it ain’t gonna hit home."

If he had a heart-to-heart talk with Amerson or if film doesn’t lie…

"I think it’s film doesn’t lie. I think Mike Reid spent some time with him, and I intend to sometime this week. It’s a question of fundamentals. He’s not reading the fundamentals. He’s trying to make every play instead of doing his job. That’s what you’ve gotta do. You have to do your job. If he does his job and a ton of other guys do their jobs, then we win the football game."

On what concerns him about Florida State’s defense…

"Certainly they have great speed. We saw that last year. We hadn’t played [against] speed like that until we got to them last year. Thank goodness we’ve seen some, especially in the opening two games. You know, guys that can come off the edge with speed. Miami guys were better suited to play them. The problem we have is, once again, the way we’re 20 – October 2, 2012 starting our fifth different offensive line in six games. We only have one starter in a spot we want him in. That’s going to be the challenge for the guys up front. The other four guys are in positions we’d rather be playing other guys, have to block them. We have to be able to protect the quarterback and we have to be able to throw the ball."

On the offensive line’s performance with Joe Thuney in the mix in the second half against Miami…

"I think what we did is, he and [ ] Fordham both played and [Cameron] Wentz played both right guard and center. We’re going to have to continue that because I don’t think that either Thuney or Fordham is going to be able to play a whole game against these guys. Wentz is going to have to play both, and that’s the situation we’re in. We’ll make due the best we can."

On Zach Allen’s injury status…

"There’s no definitive answer right now other than he’s not going to be ready this week. I don’t know the injury is. I don’t know if he’s out for a year. I don’t know if he’s out for four weeks, or two weeks, until we get that, it’s obvious he won’t play this week because he’s not on the depth chart."

On how the Miami and Tennessee games were expected to show what NC State is really made of during the preseason…

"I go back to the fact that we have nobody to blame but ourselves in losing those games. We feel that we lost them. I don’t think anyone in this building feels we’ve been beaten by anybody other than ourselves. That’s what frustrating at this point: To make those eight pre-snap penalties on Saturday, which we had been so good [at avoiding] the last couple of years, being the least-penalized team in this conference; to come away with as many penalties as we did Saturday, and then once again, to be out of position and have the ball thrown over your head for a second week. We rushed the ball pretty good against a defense that had given up rushing yards, but they had given up rushing yards when they played a true 11-man offense because the quarterback ran the ball against them in the other two games. This was basically a base-running offense. Those kids ran hard and there were some seams in there, and guys blocked them. You end up winning the game and then you’ve got a lot of positives looking forward into this game, but it didn’t happen. We have to get reorganized and get ourselves ready to play Florida State, have a great night here and it’s another week and another chance to win a football game."

How to keep the team believing that they can beat a team of Florida State’s caliber, like Clemson last year…

"They were a hot team coming in. They were a top-10 team and that’s the challenge. That’s the great part of coaching and being around kids and making sure that they get focused. Sometimes here we lose our focus, but I think we’ll be focused on Saturday night against this football team coming in."

On how the defense doesn’t have Audie Cole and Terrell Manning to make plays like last year…

"I think it makes it different, especially in the blitz-game. We couldn’t get the kid on the ground. He got out of the pocket nine times. There was more than one occasion when we’re free one-on-one and can’t get him on the ground. They’re not to the level of the linebackers we’ve played with the last two years, but how can they? They’re all first-year guys playing their first time around, so until they get better and improve to that level, we’re going to struggle getting to the quarterback in those situations because of all the plays that Nate [Irving] made, and that Cole made and Eme made. We don’t have that level of play right now, but that’s not their fault because they’ve only played five games. They’re still learning the position and learning how to get there."

On what the biggest challenge is in defending Florida State QB E.J. Manuel

"The first thing we have to do is try and keep him in the pocket. We just talked about how we didn’t do it with [Stephen] Morris last week. He [Manuel] got out of the pocket once last year and we missed him with six guys. He kind of ran over us. I think I said after the game [and] I still believe it - standing on the sidelines, he looks a lot like Donovan McNabb did to me when I first went to B.C. and he was the quarterback at Syracuse: A big guy who could run and beat you with his legs and throw the ball. He’s a good pocket passer, but he’s a guy that’s much more dangerous running the football when he gets on the perimeter. Unlike Morris, he’ll pull it down and run. Last week, he [Morris] would get out of the pocket and want to throw it first. I think for Manuel, it’s probably 50-50 whether he’s going to take off and run or look down the field and throw it."

On FSU’s backfield…

"Well [Chris] Thompson – he didn’t play against us last year and he’s special, too. They just keep rotating guys It’s a different breed of cat than we’ve been playing, so it’s going to be a big challenge for the difference, but we’re at home. We get great vibes from the crowd. It’s a great place to play. It’ll be a great night, eight o’clock Saturday night, so the 12th man will have a lot to do with this one."

How he gets mistakes like penalties and turnovers turned around…

"You get it turned around if it’s important to the team because they have to do it. We have evidence, even here, and going back years, that we don’t mistakes like that. It has to come down to them and how important it is for them for the little things, and make sure they do the little things right, and then they’ll be corrected. A lot of those things can be corrected if it’s important to them and they want it corrected."

If the guys are traveling too much…

"I think that would be a wrong generalization for everybody. I think we had a pretty good session yesterday. We didn’t practice yesterday because [of] the heat, and coming off a game like that in that heat and humidity – it’s so draining. We’re going to have to get every edge we can get speed-wise if we’re going to have to take advantage of it. We spent a good three hours in meetings yesterday talking about a lot of different things. Hopefully we got across to the football. We’ll find out starting tomorrow morning if we did."

On Robert Crisp’s injury status…

"He went out and tried to do some things on Tuesday and then couldn’t move on Wednesday. He’s back to where we were, which is always the case with an injury: you try it and see if you wake up the next morning and where you are."

On CJ Wilson…

"He’s in the rotation back there in the secondary."

On mixing and matching on the offensive line…

"I think with all the questions we have about the offensive line, you come back and you have two pretty good back-toback rushing days, you get games with two kids [who rushed] back-to-back with 100 yards. That’s always a benchmark, mark. Whether we can continue to be at the 200 numbers, I don’t know, but hopefully we can get to the 150 mark consistently for the rest of the year. The other thing that was different, too, was it was probably the first time in a long time we ran the ball more than we passed it. I think we had 46 rushes to 42 passes. Eighty-eight plays ate up possession time. Once again, second-half possession time was huge, but just couldn’t ever get in front."

On RB Shadrach Thornton’s second game…

"I think it was good for him to go, especially at a place like that and play in that type of stadium against a brand name team like that – athletes like that. It was a learning experience for him. It was a road game for him that he had to go to the road and prepare. It’s a little bit outside the comfort zone. I think he acquitted himself well, with the exception of the one fumble, but, as only Shadrach can do, he came up and promised me he wouldn’t fumble again."

If Shadrach is ready for Florida State…

"We’ll find out."
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