Teleconference: Tom O'Brien

NC State head coach Tom O'Brien fielded questions from the media on his weekly teleconference.

OPENING STATEMENT:
Certainly this is a big game for 16 of our kids because it's senior day, the last time they'll get a chance to play in front of the Wolfpack Nation here in Carter Finley stadium. They're a special group of kids. It's the first group that we had a full year to recruit. Four of them have already graduated, 10 of them are due to graduate here in December, and the two others will graduate within the next year. All 16 kids will have earned their degrees since they've been here.

With a win, if we can find a way to win this game Saturday, they'll have won their 24th game in three years, sending them to three Bowl games in a row. The most wins in the history of this school for a three-year period is 26. Early in the '70s it was done and then Philip Rivers did it. They can end up the regular season two wins shy of the best three-year period since it's been here. They've had a great influence on this program as we continue to move forward, it'll be certainly an emotional day for them.

I wanted to get your perspective on Maryland leaving the conference because I remember when the ACC announced Pitt and Syracuse would join you, you talked about your experience when you went through the transition at BC from the Big East to the ACC. What do you think this next year is going to be like for Maryland, and what are your thoughts on losing them as an Atlantic Division opponent?
You know, I hope it isn't the way it was when we left the Big East. There was a lot of acrimony at that point. I think in today's world, people are changing conferences every year, so it's-- it may be bad with the fans one way or another, but certainly we'll treat Maryland with the respect that they're due as a longtime partner of the ACC.

I think any time change happens I think opportunity to make yourself better and it's an opportunity to be better.

The thing that I would hope going forward, and especially because they're traditionalists and everything else, that we can't do it next year, but certainly going in 2014 that we could change our brackets and go back to the original ACC against everybody else, the Wake Forest, Duke, Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia, the original guys, and we can go back to playing each other and it can be the old guys against the new guys. I don't care what you call the conference.

But I think that would certainly be something we've got to consider, and if we're going to be traditionalists and think that that's important, then maybe that can happen in 2014.

Is there any concern, you probably haven't even had time to talk to any other coaches about it, but just that this could open the door for more teams to leave the ACC?
As you said, we haven't talked about it, but I would think that that might be in some guys' mind one way or another, but as far as coaches, we have no influence on this process. You're asking the wrong guys that question.

I just wanted to ask you about the Bowl situation. Obviously you qualify for a Bowl, but winning another game, it just seems to me that so many teams are bunched in the middle of the ACC that one more win could make a big difference in your Bowl destination. Does that matter at all, or do you pay attention to that?
No, it certainly doesn't, and I think that's one of the carrots that we talk about to the team, that they can separate themselves from everybody else.

You're going to have 10- or 11-win teams in your top two, and then if you want to be the third team in that selection process, then you have to win this game on Saturday, not only because it's senior day, the last home game and everything else, but it certainly has a lot to do with, I think, your stature and where you can go in the Bowl process.

When we talked to Coach Cutcliffe Tuesday, he was talking about-- we were talking about this, that so many teams are so close in the middle of the league to being 6-6 or 7-5 or maybe 5-7, and he was talking about it being parity. Obviously Clemson and Florida State have separated themselves, but other than that, is there parity in the ACC, and is that a good thing or a bad thing?
You know, parity is always good, but certainly I think perspective for the league, you don't want all your Bowl teams as six- or seven-win teams. I think you like to have parity at the eight-, nine- and ten-win level, but that hasn't been the case this year.

So everything is relative, and you have to figure place where you're going to be this year in this league. We have an opportunity to possibly separate ourselves from everybody else by winning another game, and that's certainly important for us.

You've got in Boston College a team that played a pretty tough game against Notre Dame and then lost in overtime against Virginia Tech. What concerns you about them? Are they a team that you see has shown some improvement as the season has gone on?
No, they've played very well the last two games. As you said, they've had great effort up there, and that's typical of the Boston College teams that I've been familiar with in the past. They certainly have not been afraid to come play us. They've beat us because, as I told the team, because they've been tougher mentally and tougher physically than us and have played harder than we have, and that's something that we have to be concerned with.

I know that Frank and them, they seem to like to come play NC State. They've had success, and we would expect them to play better this week than they have the last two weeks.

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