July 22, 2007

O'Brien welcomed at new school, missed at old one

PINEHURST - North Carolina State defensive lineman DeMario Pressley calls it the look.

Boston College linebacker Jolonn Dunbar refers to it as the blow-by.

Both players were discussing some of the personality traits of new NC State coach Tom O'Brien on Sunday at the ACC media day at Pinehurst Golf Resort.

O'Brien, the former Boston College coach, was a popular topic at media day linking together NC State's Pressley and Darrell Blackman, and Boston College's Dunbar and Matt Ryan.

"He is really quiet, but he gets his point across," Pressley said. "He makes us really scared because we don't know what to expect. You can't really read him. He is so quiet, and it is like you are just scared to let him down. I've never heard him yell."

Part of the contrast stems from how different O'Brien's personality and style is from his predecessor, Chuck Amato.

"He is a man of few words, but he really gets his point across," Blackman said. "Once you get things going with him at a meeting, he'll open up. I know some of the players are scared when they have to talk to him at the head coaches office.

"Coach Amato would talk about the same thing over and over, and I think after a while, some people lost their focus."

Even Boston College quarterback Ryan, an All-American candidate, said there were several times where O'Brien will just walk right by you without saying anything. It is just his style.

"College football is a business, and you realize that people's livelihoods are at stake," Ryan said. "Coach O'Brien thought it was the best decision for he and his family to come down to NC State. I respect that and there are no hard feelings on my part against Tom or his staff."

Dunbar and Ryan both respect O'Brien and wish him luck in ever game but one on Sept. 8, when the Eagles and Wolfpack play each other. They got to see their old coach this weekend at Pinehurst.

"I wish him the best of luck in all but one game, and I love him to death," Dunbar said.

Pressley tries to talk to O'Brien every time he sees him, and hasn't gotten a blow-by yet, but has watched it happen to his teammates. He said the first meeting gave the team an accurate glimpse into O'Brien's low-key personality.

"We expected him to talk for an hour and tell us about himself," Pressley said. "The meeting lasted about five minutes. He said that we are going to win games and he wasn't going to take any of the crap and that we better go to class. We were all like, 'Oh my God.' We knew that we couldn't let this man down."

NC State upset Boston College last year, 17-15, on quarterback Daniel Evans' 34-yard touchdown pass to John Dunlap with eight seconds left. The two teams will be linked as long as O'Brien is coaching the NC State.

Pressley said last year's game against the Eagles has left an imprint on what to expect under O'Brien.

"He runs a tight ship because they never committed that many penalties," Pressley said. "Boston College is a great team, and right now, I'm just happy he's our coach right now.

"It's going to be a big rivalry now. It's going to be a great game."

The players swapped stories about O'Brien on Saturday prior to media day. Ryan is happy with new B.C. coach Jeff Jagodzinski, but appreciates his five years of knowing O'Brien dating back to when he was getting recruited in high school.

"O'Brien's a great game-day coach and he's cool under pressure," Ryan said. "When things are going bad, he's really good. That is ultimately what you want in a head coach. They'll be fine and he'll work out well for them."



 

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