East Carolina’s Skip Holtz has concerns about facing N.C. State in Raleigh

ECU’s Skip Holtz has concerns about facing N.C. State this Saturday and who can blame him:

from the desk of East Carolina Coach Holtz on his Pirates going to Raleigh this week to meet the N.C. State Wolfpack.

On N.C. State:
“This is a rival game. This is a game that we’re excited to have the opportunity to play, especially since it’s the closest game on our schedule, only being an hour away. We have the opportunity to bump heads with N.C. State from a recruiting standpoint as well.

“We played them the last couple of years and we’re extremely excited to play them again. I don’t care what the records are. People talk about them being 1-2, but they came in here at 1-5 last year and beat us 34-20. The records are absolutely irrelevant.

“This is a very talented football team. Over the past couple of years, we have tried to recruit most of the players currently on their roster.(Andre Brown?????) When I turn and look at their talent and the game film from last year, I know that we’ve got one heck of a challenge. We certainly have to play better than we did last week. I think it’s going to take more of an effort like we put together for West Virginia if we want to have a chance to go over there and have a chance to be successful.”

On N.C. State’s Offense:
“I look at their left tackle, Julian Williams, who I remember recruiting. He’s a great young man and a great player. He was one of our No. 1 prospects that we had ear-marked for that year to come in here and help us. He’s an anchor for them at left tackle.

“Everybody on their offensive line is a junior or senior, so they’re very experienced. They have two upperclassmen, who they moved in the spring from defensive linemen over to be the guard and the center and I think they’ve done a nice job. It’s very similar to what we did in our first year when we moved Chris Sellers and Guy Whimper from the defensive line over to the offensive line.

“I know they’re [Coaching Staff] trying to put their thumbs in some holes as they walk into a program. I know they’re trying to put their best players on the field and I have been very impressed with some of the moves they have made. I think they’ve improved their football team.

“I have also been really impressed with Russell Wilson, their quarterback. He’s very athletic and has a strong arm. He hasn’t played very much after getting injured in the opener and then not playing in their second game. I think he’s a very talented player. I don’t think you can evaluate him based on just the Clemson game because of some of the things that Clemson defense does and the way it flies around. But I think he’s an excellent football player.

“Andre Brown is, again, very talented. He’s a hard runner, big, strong, physical and an upperclassman. Their two receivers, Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer are tall, athletic, fast and talented players. They’re going to give us fits. They’re 6’3″ and 6’4″ and when you look at our cornerbacks, there is definitely a size mismatch walking into this game.

On N.C. State’s Defense:
“When you look at them, I’ve been very impressed with Willie Young, the defensive end who gave us fits last year. I believe eight or nine of them are upperclassmen and the sophomores who are playing are some of their better players. They’re very big and strong upfront and they move very well.

“Nate Irving, their middle linebacker, has great speed and is a great player. He is one of those younger players who is stepping up and being really productive for them. I have also been extremely impressed by their two corners, who are probably the best defensive backs we faced to this point. The strength of their defense is probably their pass coverage.

“I think they are the best tackling team that we faced all last year. I thought they did a great job of one-on-one tackles last year.

“This year they are leading the nation in interceptions and are very athletic and quick. They came in here last year and held us to two yards per carry, 70 yards rushing and they threw for 335 yards against us. You can go on and on about the statistics and what this team did to us a year ago when we played them. It’s definitely not one you look at and say, `well we’re 3-0 and they’re 1-2.’ The schedules and records are absolutely irrelevant and this is a game that we’re very excited about stepping in and playing.”

On The National Polls:
“I don’t think what we’ve done to this point is relevant. As I continue to say, the polls will take care of themselves. We’re not worried about those. I think there’s one poll that matters, and that’s the one that comes out in December. That’s the one we’ll talk about and the one that we’re striving for. We can’t get there today and the only way we can get there is by turning and facing each opponent week by week and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

On The Excitement of This Week:
“I think we’ve got to have a really good focus this week in order to go 1-0. I think this is a game that our players are really excited about playing. They’re revved up for this one. There’s a little bit more energy in these rivalry and geographic games. The spirit is a little bit higher in practice, the attitude is a little bit more upbeat and everybody has a little bit more peep in their step and we’re excited about having the opportunity to go over to Raleigh and play.”