Well we're looking forward to going on the road and playing a good North Carolina State team. They're playing very well on defense. They're big and physical up front. Their linebackers can really run and tackle, and they have basically the same secondary guys that we played against a year ago. They're also playing very good offense. I think their running backs are running really hard and they're good up front. Jacoby Brissett's doing a really nice job operating their offense and being very efficient and accurate and completing a lot of passes. So it's a great challenge for us, and certainly one we're looking forward to.
On how the first win has changed the overall feeling of the team
It was a good win for us. Obviously it was one that we expected to win and should win, but our players went out and took care of business, basically in practice. That was what was great to see, was how we practiced and the effort and attitude we had in practice. We've had three tough games where we didn't come out on top in the end, but our guys have a great attitude, keep working hard. It was fun in the locker room to see the smiles on their faces after a victory.
On Lamar Jackson and the QB situation
Lamar's a very, very talented guy. He made some really good decisions in that game. I thought he took care of the ball, he operated the offense ... you know, besides his playmaking and his ability, you have to operate the offense; make sure we're in the right formations, make sure we get the motions in in time, make sure the tight ends get where they belong. You know, it's all a learning process for him, but he continues to work hard and he's gotten a lot better. I look forward to him continuing to improve on a weekly basis.
On social media and its effect on recruiting
I'm not sure exactly what you're asking, but I think everything affects recruiting, everything that you do. There is no hidden information. Everything's all out there. So what we try to do is sell our university, sell our APR and our graduation rates and the fact that we had 18 players graduate at midyear last year. Our motto is to get your degree as your eligibility ends, so that's what's most important. And then it's up to us to put on a great performance on the field and show our crowd. What we try to do the hardest is to get guys onto our campus so they can see for themselves.
How do you think it affects the kids that the fans have such regular access to them?
I think you'd have to ask the recruits that.
On James Quick's injury and how concerned he was at the time that James might be out for the year
Yeah, I was really concerned because of the way he went down. The initial thought was that it might be an achilles tendon, and it was good after the game when we got the news that that was not what it was and that he would be able to rehab and get back.
It was really great to have him back. He showed his speed, his quickness, and he really helps us in practice. I think that's the thing that people really don't understand is that with his understanding of the offense and his work ethic, he makes everybody practice better.
How will the likelihood of rain affect the way you practice for this game?
We're going to prepare the same way, but you do have to understand what the elements are going to be. We're keeping our eye on it too. We know that there will probably be some inclement weather. You really just have to focus on taking care of the ball and operating your offense in that type of weather.
Does that lend itself to running the ball more?
Sometimes it does, but sometimes it's harder to rush the passer when it's a soggy, wet field and sometimes the offense has a real advantage in throwing the ball when the field's bad and the weather's bad.
What has limited your power run game so far?
Just the ability to control the line of scrimmage; knocking people off the ball, our running backs hitting the right spot and making yards after contact. What hurts it is when you don't get four or five or six yards on first down so you can continue to call those plays. So we're just really working hard at it in practice and I think we're improving.
On NC State, their level of competition so far and if they're for real or not
Well I think they're for real, for sure. They've got a really good offensive front and their running backs are running the ball, their quarterback and receivers are making big plays down the field. And then we know them real well on defense. This is a group that we battled really hard with into the 4th quarter last year, and we were fortunate to come out with the win. You put the video on of last year and it's the same guys who are playing physical and fast for them. They're a very good football team, they're very, very well coached, and they're playing with a lot of confidence.
What concerns you most with defending the NC State offense?
The biggest thing is they utilize a lot of formations and motions. So the first thing you have to do is make sure you're in the proper alignment and understand what their formations are challenging you with. And then we have to be able to stop the run, because we know they're running the ball real well. And then they have a quarterback who can really throw it down the field. So it's a great challenge for us.
On Reggie Bonnafon and the difficulty of learning a new position
Yeah I think it's easier for a quarterback because a quarterback has to have an understanding of everybody's position, and what the paths are for the running backs in the running game, and he's a real natural athlete who can jump in there and really do it. Reminds me a lot of Michael Bush and his ability to make a real quick move and be able to help us at different spots and in different plays on the field.
On the interceptions streak and if something like that is contagious for a secondary
I think it does. We always tell our players that playing hard and making fast and making plays is contagious. We try to do it on both sides of the ball. Our defense is great at putting pressure on quarterbacks, which is what usually leads to interceptions. And then our guys are very confident in seeing it and breaking on it and not hesitating. I think that's one of the biggest things is that you have to trust what you see so that you can break on it and play fast.
Coach, thanks for your time, best of luck this weekend and we'll talk to you next Wednesday
My favorite words on Wednesday, Mike.