"We are looking forward to getting back out on the field Saturday and playing our next game and continue to build off of the momentum that we have created in the last few games just as far as playing good, solid football, and I hope that continues as we go, and we get much better as a football team."
I know there's been a bit discussed about the rotation that you're currently doing with Williams and Renner, but what are your thoughts are having to defend possibly a rotation with NC State with Mitchell possibly and Thomas and having to kind of do the looks offensively and defensively this week?
"Yeah, it makes it much more difficult when you're trying to prepare for two different quarterbacks, when you're preparing for multiple things offensively. It just makes it much more difficult. Your defense has to prepare for quite a bit, and it waters things down for them.
"You know, hopefully our guys will do a great job in preparation this week, and we will be ready to go on Saturday."
What are some of the differences you've seen between them as quarterbacks?
"Well, looks like they feel more comfortable running one more than the other. They like to throw the ball with the other kid. You know, there's a lot of different things. You see different things formation-wise, you see things motion-wise. You know, a lot of it is just the unknown of what all they can do with these kids because they've been rotating them pretty thoroughly throughout the year."
You've been saying that you felt the team was getting better even though it was not showing up in the win-loss column. Coming off a win is there something you can point to on the team to say, okay, this is what I was talking about and you did pay off here on Saturday?
"Well, I hope so. Each week we're trying to build off of the positive things and get the negative things corrected. As we've gone, I can say that each week we're making fewer mistakes. We haven't cut them all out, but we're making fewer mistakes, and the mistakes that we're making lately, we've been able to overcome. So that's a big part of it, also, is just the mindset when you do make a mistake, it's how you attack it.
"So I do feel like our guys are starting to get a little bit better feel for taking care of the football, playing smarter, playing faster and being more physical."
I wanted to talk about what happened with your defense last week. Going into that game y'all were statistically the worst defense in the ACC but played a very strong game against Boston College, a team that has some weapons. Can you talk about what happened in that game, where the progress came from, and do you expect that to continue?
"Well, we continued to get guys to-- they're playing better each week. We really are. They're starting to feel comfortable. You know, they're relaxing and just playing. I mean, having fun, not worrying about making mistakes. In that result, we're playing better defense. Our mental errors have cut way back.
"We're probably a little bit more simpler than we've been, and we just let them play, and our guys have come through. We're making tackles. On the one long run we had the missed assignment on the inside and we had a tackle go the wrong way and it created a gap that we weren't prepared to defend, so that hurt us. They took advantage of it. But other than that, I thought our guys played very well throughout the game."
I know this is your second rivalry game with State; how different in terms of mentality and emotion is a game with a rival like State than your ordinary, every-week game?
"Well, preparation-wise there is no difference. The difference is when you get out on the field on Saturday. That's when all of that emotion and all of that excitement comes through, and then it boils down to how do you handle it. Do you go out there and you lose your mind or do you focus and you do your job and you're able to make decisions under duress? And that's when your mental toughness shows up.
"But I mean, to me it's just the fun part about college football is having those regional rivalries and everything that goes with it."
Eric Ebron is on the verge of setting all kinds of records for tight ends, school records for tight ends. What's been the progress you've seen? I mean, he was really good last year, but what's the progress he's shown you from last year to this year?
"Well, Eric has become more of a complete tight end. I mean, just more of a complete player. Now you can-- you know he's going to handle himself at the point of attack. You know whether he's attached or unattached. His football IQ has gone up tremendously. He understands what we're trying to do with the package, and he feels very comfortable doing it.
"So now he's just able to turn loose and make plays, and I think that's what you're seeing him do. He's out there playing and he's having fun playing the game, and he's making plays in return."
Have you had to speak with him about his use of social media, and in fact do you talk to your players in general about how --
"Yeah, we do talk about that quite a bit, actually. You know, it's just something that you can't ignore nowadays because it's a part of their world. It's a part of all of our world, and it's a world that I didn't have to grow up in, but these guys do. We constantly are talking to them about making good decisions and being smart about what they say and how they say it and just understand that sometimes it's going to be perceived differently, and no matter what you put out there, you've got to live with it."
It looks like NC State has had some success this season running the ball. Just your thoughts about the NC State running game and the challenge it's going to present to you guys.
"Well, they have. They've been pretty efficient running the football. I think they're averaging 180, 185 yards a game rushing, which is good. So that to me, they're going to spread you out, they're going to get into a lot of different formations, motions, shifting, all the different things they can do to try to throw some eye candy at you and get your eyes where they shouldn't be and get you out of a gap, misaligned, all those things.
"But they still want to be able to run the football, there's no doubt about it, and offensive line-wise they're going to come off the ball, they're going to try to create some gaps for you, and the running backs do a really nice job of running it, and so do those quarterbacks."