Tom O'Brien Attends Seventh-Annual Triangle Pigskin Preview

Allen LoppCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2009

CHESTNUT HILL - SEPTEMBER 8:  Coach Tom O'Brien of the North Carolina Wolfpack watches the game against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium September 8, 2007 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Originally published by gopack.com

Tom O'Brien, David Cutcliffe, Moze Rinson, and Butch Davis all attended the seventh-annual Triangle Pigskin Preview.

Moderator Don Shea made sure every coach had their fair share of questions to answer.

Here is a few of the questions asked to Coach O'Brien:

1) "How is linebacker Nate Irving, who was injured in a car accident earlier this month?"

2) "How has first-team All-ACC quarterback Russell Wilson progressed since he was injured in the Papajohns.com Bowl game last December?"

3) "How much has the Wolfpack improved as a team since last year's 6-7 finish?"

4) "How many games do you expect to win this year"

O'Brien was armed and ready with answers to those questions.

1) "He doesn’t go back to the doctor until the end of August and that is all we can say right now,” O’Brien said. “I really don’t have an update. He still has some doctors to see, but until that happens, we will have to wait until later to see what his status will be."

2)"The coach said he and his staff used the spring to help Wilson – who missed time with three different injuries last year, all resulting from what the coach called “god-awful hits” – avoid situations where he might not have to tuck the ball in his arms and run, but they are by no means trying to keep him in check."

“We wouldn’t ever want to discourage Russell from running around with the football,” O’Brien said. “That is something that he does very, very well. In talking to a lot of defensive coordinators around the league, they don’t like him running around back there.”

“Do we get a vote?” asked Cutcliffe, sitting next to O’Brien. “We want him to stay in the pocket.”

The answer was no.

3) "O’Brien added that the Wolfpack’s internal expectations are high, now that the program is in its third year and players have completely bought into the system. He didn’t talk about the fact that the Wolfpack is frequently mentioned as a sleeper pick in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, but he learned throughout the course of the Wolfpack Club’s Spring Caravan that fans are excited about the coming year."

“This time a year ago, we went into the first game with a center who had never snapped in a college game and a quarterback who had never taken a snap in a college game,” O’Brien said. “We have a situation that for the first time since I have been in Raleigh, we are not relying on walk-ons. There is certainly reason for enthusiasm and high expectations, but I have found that you really don’t have to do too much to raise the expectations of the Wolfpack nation.”

"And, while Irving’s injury is potentially a setback to the defense, it’s not something that his team has never dealt with before. In each of the last two seasons, the Wolfpack has lost a projected contributor before the season began. Two years ago, it was tight end Anthony Hill. Last year it was wide receiver Donald Bowens, followed shortly by running back Toney Baker."

“We can’t possibly have as many injuries this year as we have had the last two,” O’Brien said. “Hopefully, we have turned that corner. Our kids are hardened to that fact and they understand that they may have to pick things up and play harder.

“I think we are much better physically and mentally prepared to accept what is in front of us in order to be a much more competitive football team this year.”

4) "We are going to shoot for all of they."


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