It may not have been pretty at times, but NC State emerged with a 43-21 home win over Liberty last Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
Head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media Monday afternoon, and he noted that in many ways Liberty will help NC State prepare for Wake Forest.
The Flames use a similar 3-4 defense, and like Wake Forest, Liberty likes to mix up its offense. O'Brien just wishes he had three more games to prepare for his conference opener. He said Monday that he would prefer to play all the non conference games before getting into league action.
Wake Forest should be a stiff test for NC State. The Deacs showed a lot of improvement in a 36-29 overtime loss at Syracuse. O'Brien attributes some of that to the Deacs simply being more experienced.
This will be the fifth straight year that NC State has started its conference slate with a road contest.
- O'Brien said that redshirt freshman defensive tackle Thomas Teal will be out 4-6 weeks after having foot surgery Saturday evening. Teal hurt the foot on the same play he sacked quarterback Mike Brown of Liberty in the third quarter.
The injury is identical to what is currently sidelining fifth-year senior defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy. True freshman T.Y. McGill has moved up to second string. At this point, O'Brien does not want to remove the redshirt from true freshman Carlos Gray.
- Two players that O'Brien singled out for praise were sophomore linebacker D.J. Green and junior defensive tackle Brian Slay.
Green was credited with five tackles and made a diving interception. Slay had six tackles, including a pair of sacks, two quarterback hurries, a quarterback pressure and two recoveries, one of which he returned 52 yards for a touchdown.
- O'Brien liked what he saw from the defense except for parts of the third quarter, and he's happy that the freshmen kickers "survived." He praised Liberty for being a good challenge, noting that Brown may be the best quarterback in the FCS level, and that senior receiver Chris Summers is an NFL prospect.
- On redshirt junior quarterback Mike Glennon's fumble that was returned for a touchdown, O'Brien said he could not even tell from the end zone angle if Glennon fumbled. Regardless of whether or not it was a fumble, State blew the protection on the play. One of the missed extra points can be attributed to a bad snap, O'Brien said.
- The offensive line struggled at times Saturday night, which O'Brien attributed to not communicating well in the first quarter.