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NC State Football

NC State DC Tony Gibson: Pack Preparing For Both Louisville Quarterbacks

November 18, 2022

NC State defensive coordinator Tony Gibson met with the media ahead of the Wolfpack's upcoming matchup versus Louisville.

NOTE: Click the video above to watch the interview with Gibson.

How were the spirits today in practice?
Yeah, we washed that away on Sunday. That's what Sundays are for. Get in, win or lose, we got to flush it. Move on to the next one. So, thought the guys came out, got their work done today. Good spirits ready to roll and we can't relax or lay down. We have a good football team playing Saturday.

Do you know which quarterback you might be facing or are you still guessing?
I don't, that's a mystery right now. So we'll see. He got banged up a little bit and didn't play in the second half, but he's done that before. This year he's been banged up and he'll come back and play. I know he had a hand, he broke his hand last or two weeks ago. Played this past week, the first half against Clemson. So yeah, we're preparing for him.

What's the difference? Is there a big difference between the two quarterbacks?
Yeah, there's a big difference. Malik I think is an elite runner. Probably one of the best mobile quarterbacks in the country. That guy's a weapon with his feet. Extending plays and all that.

I think 19 is, he's more of a thrower. He'll sit in the pocket a little bit. They don't do a lot of quarterback design run with him. So, it is a little different.

How do you simulate Malik in practice?
You don't.

Have anybody that you use?
No, you have to use tailbacks or wide receivers or... we don't have those type of quarterbacks here, but our guys do a great job of preparing us for him and our kids have played against him in the past so they know what he's like.

You were able to pretty much contain him last year in the game here.  What was successful in that game?
I think we did a really good job with our rush lanes, with our D line, trying to keep him and putting him where we wanted him and then letting Drake and Levi Jones [spy]. We were playing a lot of spy with him and flushing him where we wanted him, and those guys were making some plays.

Drake had a pretty incredible game this past weekend. I think it was 13 total pressures that he had according to PFF.  When you look back at his performance last year, how important is that going to be this week and moving forward, too?
Yeah, obviously Drake, we all know what he means to this defense, and when he plays well it seems like we play well. So he is, he's up for the challenge, he's ready to go. But I thought he had a really, really good game on Saturday, and I just kind of leave it at that.

You ever find yourself watching NFL games and think back [to] a game plan against Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield and Kirk Cousins, when you're coaching at your various spots? What is it like for you when you watch these NFL quarterbacks that you once game planned against?
Yeah, I don't get to watch them a lot, Patrick, obviously Mahomes, is the one, the latest one I guess that we'd watch. Kyler Murray, we faced a bunch of them in the Big 12, that are doing big things in the NFL, but it really doesn't do anything now. It's in the past and you really can't learn anything watching the NFL game. So I'm more worried about what's next for us.

Is it a challenge when you're trying to prepare for almost two different quarterbacks and they show a difference? You have to come up with two plans?
You do, you do, and obviously the quarterback run game is crucial for us. We have to be able to stop that and if not, then obviously all the focus goes to their tailbacks. But moving forward, if Malik's not playing, we'll just kind of see what they throw out there and we'll be prepared and ready to roll.

Their two tailbacks are pretty fast.
Yeah, they're really good players. I think that watching them this week, they're really good. 25 and 7 are really, really good players.

So in a situation like that, when you get on the field on Saturday, is that the first thing you do? Go look at their quarterbacks?
Yeah, see if Malik's out. That would be my first job, so I'll be out there early trying to figure it all out.

I think Scott's got his press conference for that, so he may address that.
I'd say he won't give it away, but I hope he does.

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