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Quotes from NC State Media Day

Posted Sunday, August 22, 2004

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The Wolfpack football team meets the media before signing autographs at the Day of Champions.

Before signing autographs for an enthusiastic crowd of fans at the Day of Champions on Sunday, the 2004 NC State football team gathered in the media room at the RBC Center to answer questions from the media.

Rover Andre Maddox on the NC State defense:

"In think we'll bounce back this year because of the simple fact that our defensive line has matured. Those guys have come a long way. Mario [Williams], Manny [Lawson], Johnny [McCargo]...I can go on forever. They've stepped up, they've got a year under their belts and they're playing excellent. In practice, I see a lot of things that I haven't seen before. It's a great situation."

Maddox talks about the experience of the secondary:

"I think it's an advantage because we're all seniors and we're all experienced. All of us have had playing time and we've all been together, so we have that chemistry. We're all close friends and that chemistry is there. It's a big advantage for us because all of us are seniors back there."

Who is going to be a surprise player on defense this year?

"I think Stephen Tulloch. He's a great player and I've seen him come a long way. He's become one of the best defensive players I've ever seen."

Talks about freshmen tailbacks Bobby Washington and Darrell Blackman:

"Those guys are excellent. They'll bring a lot to this team along with T.A. (McLendon). Those guys bring us something we really didn't have last year because they are super fast. T.A. is fast, but these guys are faster. They're probably two of the fastest players on our team. I think that speed brings an extra dimension to our offense. The offense is going to be speedy, let's put it like that."

Freshman tailback Darrell Blackman:

"It's a learning process right now. You've just got to sit there and listen to the coaches and veteran players and not try to get ahead of yourself. We're freshmen and we're going to make mistakes. We just can't get down on ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

Tackle Derek Morris says it's only natural that the NC State offense is being underestimated in the wake of quarterback Philip Rivers' departure:

"Philip Rivers was a person who was just on another level; he was a great quarterback. When we had him last year, expectations for us were real high. Now that he's gone, it's only human nature for people to say `they don't have Philip Rivers anymore.' But Philip Rivers wasn't the whole offense. He had a whole offensive line in front of him; had Jerricho Cotchery in front of him; had a bunch of receivers. He had a whole team around him. People have got to understand that he didn't do it by himself. He had 10 other guys out there helping him out. We've got nine of those 10 guys coming back."

Quarterback Jay Davis on the evolution of the offense this preseason:

"It takes a while for an offense to learn what it does best. Each year, it's kind of evolved into a different thing. If you look at it from the first time I was here, which was Philip's sophomore year, the things we do are kind of different outside of our base plays. This year, you'll see another big change as far as what we do. We're learning and finding out what we do well right now."

Head coach Chuck Amato addresses tailback T.A. McLendon's preseason, which has also included a hamstring injury:

"He was having a great fall practice up until I think it was last Friday. He broke one and he was running down the field when he tweaked the hamstring. It probably scared him more than anything. He had been phenomenal in every phase of the game. We've got to get him healthy. It was probably a blessing in disguise that we had the opportunity to take a good look at these two freshmen that we have. They can't get enough reps. We know what T.A. can do and you know what T.A. can do. When T.A. is healthy, he might be as good as anybody."

When will you start preparing for Richmond (Opener on Sept. 4)?

"We're going to start on Richmond tomorrow (Monday). We won't stop on working on the fundamental aspects because theoretically, we're only halfway through the 29 practice opportunities that we have. We'll go through this week and start on Richmond, introducing their defense, offense and things like that."

What has impressed you about freshman tailback Bobby Washington?

"He hasn't lost a fumble. He has tremendous acceleration, and to be here for such a short period of time, he's really picked up the offense. It could be a little complicated, but he really has worked hard. He and Blackman are very coachable. Coach Portee has done a great job of giving them all the extra help that they need. I would too if I was him. They're good. They're the type of people you need."

Talks about what new defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has added:

"He's smart and he's been around. He was up in the league for a couple of years and he knows it all; he knows the front and the back. He grew up in a system that I spent 18 years of my life in. I never had the opportunity to coach him; he was gone before I got there. He's very aggressive and very intense. Discipline is important on his radar screen. A lack of loafing is important on his radar screen. Knocking ball carriers back is important on his radar screen. I've left the field these last 15 practices or so with a voice because he's an extension of me. I'm excited for our team."

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Quotes from NC State Media Day
Tailback T.A. McLendon
photo by Gene Galin
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