September 23, 2010

Thurs. practice report: O'Brien talks youngsters

NC State coach Tom O'Brien met with the media for the final time before the Pack travels to Atlanta for their crucial ACC contest against Georgia Tech. O'Brien briefly talked about the history of the 3-4 defense, how safety Brandan Bishop is improved from last season and what is special about rookie running back Mustafa Greene. A full transcript of what the coach said after practice is below.

The 3-4 defense was really in vogue in the 1980s…

No, it was in vogue in the 1950s and '60s, it started as the Oklahoma defense, it was back when I played. Michigan, Ohio State, that's what everybody played those days.

Why did it go away?

I'm not sure, I don't have an answer for that. I could think about it and figure it out but I don't have one right now.

Was Dick LeBeau the first one to do the fire zone concept?

He is credited with being the father of the fire zone, yes.

Coach, what are you getting from Brandan Bishop at safety?

I think he's much more in tune to what we are supposed to be doing this year. He's been in much better position than he was a year ago. He understands the defense. He is playing much faster and that's helping us, he's recognizing things, he's getting to his spots and he's tackling well.

Has Mustafa Greene's progress as a freshman surprised you?

He's certainly made a good impression, but I don't think it's surprising. Running backs can come in and play as freshmen, and I think you see it everyday in a lot of college football programs. If there's a position that should be playing early, that's the one. I've said it before, basically it comes down to learning what your pass protection assignments are; it's not as much carrying the football because they all know how to carry the football.

What's special about him?

He learned fast and he has physical ability. Certainly, he has the vision, he makes cuts and, knock on wood, he hasn't fumbled the ball yet. That's what's special.

You said it might take a few weeks before the running back position got sorted out. Is that starting to clear up a little bit?

I don't know. I think we're in a good rhythm right now, obviously putting the ball on the ground last week wasn't good for us, but we'll go this week and hopefully we've made improvements in that area. If we do, I think we've got a good rotation right now.

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