O’Brien wants Pack to keep up physical play

Tom O’Brien and Nate Irving met with media members following practice today and talked some about the physical play O’Brien talked about following Saturday’s first scrimmage. Here’s some of what they had to say.

On the injury front, running back Brandan Barnes is out indefinitely after dislocating his ankle during Saturday’s scrimmage. O’Brien said Barnes had surgery Saturday night to fix the damage.

Nate Irving

Coach O’Brien mentioned that things have been more physical following Saturday’s scrimmage. Have you noticed that? Is that something the coaches or certain players have been harping on thus far?

“I’ve wanted to get more physical as an individual and I’ve wanted the team to get more physical and I think everyone on the team knows that and know that is what the coaches expect from us. He’s challenged us to be more physical and I think we’re beginning to answer the call.”

What was it like Saturday making the first contact?

“It was before Saturday we had a little live team period before that. It was more than I thought. I enjoyed and relished the moment and just moved on to the next play.”

Talk some about how being in the middle has changed your game. How was Saturday’s scrimmage from that perspective?

“It was kind of different from what I’m used to, you know being in there and going full speed as opposed to practice when you get breaks in between and all that. Being in the live scrimmage at middle linebacker was different but I’m enjoying it.”

Where would you say you’re at physically? Are you 100%?

“I know I’ll be 100 percent by the time the season starts. I know that much. Right now I know I still have more to do. Strength to pick up, speed, mental toughness and more to build up on. I’m not too far off.”

Tom O’Brien
You said you were impressed with the physicality of Saturday’s scrimmage. What’s been different this year as opposed to the last two years?

“It’s what we’ve been trying to do anyway since we’ve been here. That’s one of the things that was a trademark of our football team at Boston College, being a strong, physical football team. We haven’t even been close to those types of things since we’ve been here. I think we’re finally getting the hang of it and figuring out what we have to do. We’ll keep pushing and keep trying to be stronger and tougher.”

Is the physical play a result of having more bodies or something else?

“We actually have less healthy guys now than we’ve had guys are just working. That’s the way it is.

Talk some about Nate’s development and how he did Saturday. Did the offensive line have any trouble with the defensive line and linebackers during the scrimmage?

The matchup and some of the things that happen in the scrimmage doesn’t mean that anybody blocked him or didn’t block him. It’s the first scrimmage so I don’t get excited about any of those things. Nate isn’t anywhere close to where he was. In comparison he’s ahead of where Toney Baker was in a similar spot at this time last year. He’s got a long way to go but certainly him being out there is a big help to the defense. We’re trying to take care of him and not overwork him to make sure that something doesn’t get hurt again. It’s a question of managing properly and knowing he’ll be much better in August than he will be in even a week or so.”

How has Rashard Smith looked? Is he healthy?

“Rashard’s healthy enough but he’s got a long way to go. He’s got to play better than he played Saturday that’s for sure. He’s got to step it up and a lot of guys do.”

Does Nate’s status now make you excited based on how things worked out with Toney Baker last season?

“You’d think we could Nate back to full speed. That’s the thing. Right now he’s trying to learn the position, it’s a lot different than what he’s played before and he has a lot more responsibilities so right now the thing is the mental part. If he does the mental things now, once he catches up physically he’ll be ready to go.”

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8 Responses to O’Brien wants Pack to keep up physical play

  1. wolfonthehill 04/06/2010 at 9:34 PM #

    Sucks when the consistent tenor remains injuries… those recovering from them and those suffering from new ones… but I’m glad TOB sounds happy about our willingness to just get after it & hit someone…

  2. GAWolf 04/06/2010 at 9:58 PM #

    Thanks for sharing, Derek. I hadnt heard about Barnes. Man alive…we’ve got the shittiest luck of any sports team I can ever recall when it comes to injuries.

  3. Wolfy__79 04/07/2010 at 12:21 AM #

    i like what i hear. i’m not too worried about injuries, they are going to happen. mustafa baby, added depth at rb. one thing about TOB, i don’t think he puts players out there that can further injure themselves, the bad luck part of that is the guys suffer the tough injuries. can’t wait for the spring game…

  4. Sam92 04/07/2010 at 8:45 AM #

    honestly, the injuries refrain is old and tired — the truth is, we just haven’t been very good at all and have no depth

    really good football teams have injuries too, they just overcome them; we haven’t

  5. bradleyb123 04/07/2010 at 11:16 AM #

    Sam, it’s more than just that. Our injury total IS higher than average. In the last year or two, I believe we were in the top-5 nationally for injuries. The count of missed “man-games” is a measurable statistic, and I believe that is how it can be proven that our injuries are worse than those of most other teams. By man-games, I mean our players missed something like 75+ combined games (or whatever the number was).

    And our injuries in 2008 were to most of the skill positions, too. I tried to find NCAA statistics on reported injuries, but wasn’t able to find anything. I’d love to see the actual numbers if someone knows where to find them.

  6. Wolfy__79 04/07/2010 at 11:24 AM #

    the inexperience for these kids plays into the injury bug, IMO. but i’m not trying to get all up in a fuss about this. the proof is in the pudding so to speak… i just get tired of everyone bashing TOB, b/c if/when things begin to turn then i see this as no better than being a FAIR WEATHER FAN. you all should be better than that. REFRAIN this all you want.

  7. pack44fan 04/09/2010 at 8:17 AM #

    I think conditioning, what happens in practice (too much contact?), and dumb luck plays in to the injury situation. I’m not sure what goes on with conditioning and how much contact there is in practice, but we have a number of fluke injuries, which I hope will start to decline.

  8. Packstrength90 04/09/2010 at 11:44 PM #

    I’m glad the “injury situation” is coming to the forefront of the discussion. Strength and conditioning can either cause or prevent injuries. I can’t speak to the conditioning part of our program, but strength training has definitely taken a step backwards from Chuck’s regime.

    Most of the lifts implemented by the NCSU football S and C coaches are Olympic / ballistic in nature. This style of training is the least effective for building strength and the most likely to cause injury while performing the exercise.

    I was worried when Todd Rice said he was going to emphasize stretching in the program (When TOB first took over). Stretching is good but can be overdone in a power sport, especially when combined with improper strength training. Stretching is beneficial in that it increases a joints range of motion (ROM) and reduces tendon stress over a specified ROM. But unless the muscles are strengthened accordingly, the lower muscle stress and increased ROM can lead to hyperextension of the joint. This transfers stress from tendons to ligaments connecting the joint causing tears or ruptures. These are the type injuries that have sidelined many of our athletes.

    I wish TR would visit Pen State. It’s worth checking out the video at the link below to see how a High Intensity program can impact a player’s performance.


    But we should all realize that good scientific based Strength and Conditioning helps an athlete achieve his or her ultimate potential and provides that extra competitive edge, but Genetics determines the ceiling as well as the floor. No manner of training will turn a slow 135# ectomorph into a D1 linebacker. This is where recruiting can take a team from the bottom to the middle-upper echelon of a conference, but you have to have all the pieces in place to be a consistent champion. A good scientific based S&C program is one of the key elements.

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