Two of NC State’s key veterans, quarterback Jacoby Brissett and defensive end Mike Rose, discussed the upcoming football season and several other topics Monday at the ACC Media Days in Pinehurst, North Carolina. See what they said below. All quotes courtesy of ASAPSports.com.
Q. What has been the difference with the Dave Doeren era as far as what he’s done to improve this program to where you are right now, the confidence you have going into 2015?
MIKE ROSE: Coach Doeren is a great guy. I was there when Coach OB was there. We were kind of a middle-of-the-run team. We needed a little something to push us over the edge. The next year we went 3-9. Nobody really believed in him. I mean, that’s honesty. This past year we got a better quarterback and things changed. People started believing in the system and they started believing that we can play with any team out there.
Q. There’s a real feeling of optimism and promise around this team. How much difference does that make when you take the practice field in the fall that you can have the belief you can make a big splash?
MIKE ROSE: We hung in there with Florida State. If we could cut that game off at halftime, we could have won the game. A lot of people felt like that. As long as we can strive to be better, compete for the Atlantic, why not? I think we should compete for the Atlantic, not just be the third or fourth team in the Atlantic.
Q. The majority of your tackles for loss last season came inside the ACC. Playing up for those games, what can you say about those opponents, how you feel you’ve done overall?
MIKE ROSE: I have 15. I could have got 20. Me and my coach looked at the film. When I was playing ODU, those other schools, I didn’t put in the same effort I put in against Florida State, Syracuse, Clemson, Wake, all those teams. If I would have put in the same effort and consistency against those smaller schools, there’s no telling where my limit could have been. You have to play every game the same. I think that’s what NC State could do better. If we played every game the same, we’d be a much better team.
Q. You mentioned 3-9. The season you had last year, as well. How much momentum do you think you have as a program not only on the field, but in your fan base and recruiting as well based on what you did last year?
MIKE ROSE: I mean, we just got in a big stable of runningbacks recruiting-wise. I think we’re a program on the rise. I mean, a lot of people want to be part of the Wolf Pack. It’s a good time in Raleigh. If we won the ACC championship, Raleigh would shut down for a little while. People want to be in Raleigh. It’s an exciting time right now.
Q. What are your personal markers either to get better, to be a contributor? Do you look at it week-to-week, game-to-game, one-third of the season by one-third of the season?
MIKE ROSE: I’ll take every game one game at a time. But I do want to say this: I want to go into Virginia Tech 4-0. That’s the first goal. I want to start ACC play right and win against Louisville.
Q. You’re among the best in the league at tackles for loss and forcing turnovers. What is your philosophy within the scheme of your defense in the big or little games at trying to create havoc?
MIKE ROSE: I think sometimes you just got to blitz. It was that simple. We didn’t blitz a lot those first couple games. A couple blitzes we put in, it just worked. People weren’t ready for us. A lot of teams underestimate you when you lose a lot of games. I think it just took a little more effort on my part just to make it happen.
Q. The wrist?
MIKE ROSE: I sprained my wrist fighting with Annabelle, my SID (smiling).
Q. Camp is going to open up in a couple of weeks, 25 or 30 days. First one or two days in camp, what needs to happen?
MIKE ROSE: Everybody just has to come to play. A lot of guys, they say, Oh, fall camp, I don’t want to do it. You got to treat the first two days like you treat the last couple days. It’s two-a-days, hard work. Once it’s over, you feel a feeling of relief.
Q. Are the State players aware the last time NC State won the ACC championship?
MIKE ROSE: I’m going to take a guess and say ’76.
Q. It was ’79. Is that something y’all talk about or think about, that long stretch?
MIKE ROSE: Yeah, uhm, when the first coaching staff was here, they talked about it a lot. This coaching staff, this is the time, this is the best time we have. Florida State, they’re down right now. Who knows who their quarterback is. Clemson is on the rise, too. But we’re on the rise also, so…
Q. You seem to be a bit of a jokester. Is that your role in the locker room? Is that a role you fulfill to keep people loose?
MIKE ROSE: Jacoby is a little stiff, but great person (smiling). He’s a humble leader. He’s real calm under pressure. Everybody loves him. He’s just the quarterback. He’s cool. That’s it, the quarterback. Me, I play on the defensive line. I play with a bunch of 300-pound guys. We’re always laughing and joking around. That’s what we do.
THE MODERATOR: Mike, thank you. Let’s bring the dry, stiff Jacoby up to the podium now and get his response. Questions for Jacoby.
Q. Jacoby, talk about the change of environment that was just discussed at NC State. What can you say about being a leader on this team and how you see the environment changing, what some of your goals are as the leader?
JACOBY BRISSETT: It’s an exciting place to be in. I’m just honored to be in the situation that I’m in, to be part of something special. Every day you go into the facility, you know that everybody is in there working to get better, striving to be a better player and better person at the end of the day before they leave.
Q. Can you compare the confidence that you have as the leader of this team playing the quarterback position compared to last year, how much that will help you in 2015?
JACOBY BRISSETT: I really felt it helped us out a lot. Going from the 3-9 season to the 8-5 season, it showed you we could play with anybody and we’re serious. That’s going to springboard us into this year to understand that we have to make sure that we’re ready to play a lot of other teams, but a lot of other teams have to worry about playing us, too.
Q. Kind of the image last season, the play against Florida State, is that a love/hate play? Does Coach Doeren cringe when you make those kind of plays, taking a high risk/reward type thing?
JACOBY BRISSETT: You know, as a competitor and as a quarterback, you just got to be willing to deal with the highs of that play and the lows of that play. No matter what, just stress to put the ball in the end zone by any means. That’s going to come with the bad plays, but it’s going to come with a lot of good plays, too.
Q. We have several mobile quarterbacks in this league, of which you’re one. A couple defenders have said, Nobody likes a scrambling quarterback. How much fun do you have running around making defenders miss?
JACOBY BRISSETT: It’s fun because they’re out there to try to really hurt you bad. To see them miss, to see their reaction out there is priceless.
Q. What is the level of respect right now that NC State is getting? High or low? Are you trying to change the level of respect that people have for the Wolf Pack?
JACOBY BRISSETT: You know, each year you want to make more and more people respect you. A lot of teams respect us, but they don’t really respect us the way we want them to respect us. That’s our job this year, is to let them know we’re for real.
Q. Looking at this offense, talk about some of those weapons that you have, some of those guys people should watch out for this season.
JACOBY BRISSETT: Honestly you should watch out for the whole team. Everybody’s making strides this summer, this off-season, to put themselves in the situation where they’re going to make the best plays. Everybody’s fighting for jobs. Everybody’s fighting to get better. Everybody’s competing against other teams across the country to be the best group and the best team that we can be.
Q. Coach Doeren keeps it pretty flat when he’s dealing with the media. What is the coach that you see behind closed doors maybe in a pregame situation?
JACOBY BRISSETT: I’m sure y’all saw him dancing in the locker room. I mean, he’s very serious. He wants to win. That’s the main focus and the main objective for everybody on that team. That’s what he shows us day in and day out.
Q. You have some runningbacks who can really catch the ball. How do you plan on using weapons like that in the upcoming season?
JACOBY BRISSETT: It’s our job to find out ways that the teams can’t control them, can’t put them in the box, contain them. Those guys are going to make plays regardless of how you try to play against them. It’s just going to be my job to find out how. It changes every week. When their time is called, they’re going to make the play.
Q. You guys bring in three very talented runningbacks. Could we expect to see them at other positions? How could you utilize them as freshmen?
JACOBY BRISSETT: You know, it will just pan out when fall camp comes here. Whichever way is going to benefit the team the most, how they’re going to adjust to the college game, see what it takes for them to get on the field.