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NC State Football

Tony Gibson: "The Guys Did What We Needed Them to Do"

October 4, 2023

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

NOTE: Click on the video in the player above to watch Gibson’s interview.

On the run defense…

It's met my expectations these last two games. Obviously in the first game, we gave up a couple of explosive runs. I thought the kids did a tremendous job Friday, shutting that run game down. Obviously, we were worried about that going into game day. They were averaging 230 yards a game. For us to get out of there with 20 yards, I was pretty happy with that. 

On what contributed to stopping the run…

Well, we were gap sound. Guys were doing what they needed to do, doing their job, and not trying to be somebody else's job. That's the big key for us; we just have to play, and we've got a lot of guys on defense who play a lot of football. They care, and they're competitive. Sometimes, their emotion gets the best out of them, and they want to try to make somebody else's play. Friday was the first time all year long that it met my expectation of what this defense should look like and play like.

On the challenge Marshall’s offense presents…

[Cam Fancher] is able to keep plays alive with his feet. He looks to run before he throws. We have to do a great job in the back end of plastering our coverage and getting guys to the ball. [Rasheen Ali] is a really, really good player. He's an NFL guy that’s big, strong, and fast. He’s played a lot of football, so we have to do a great job of shutting this run game down, making it a one-dimensional game, and making them try to throw the ball.

On the safeties who have stepped up with players falling to injury…

Sean Brown's playing as well as anybody on our defense right now. He's a smart kid, and he’s tough. Unfortunately, he has to sit the first half this week. He’ll give us a good spark going into the second half to get him back, and it's good to have [Devan] Boykin back out on the field and doing everything. We’re used to that around here. Ever since I've been here, it seems like we lose a guy or two in the back end, and the next guys steps in. I think Bishop [Fitzgerald] is playing really well right now. Rakeim Ashford is a kid we’ve counted on for a long time, and he continues to get better. They’re gelling back there, and I like where they’re at.

On Payton Wilson

The leadership that he brings to our defense, the communication piece of it, and everything that I ask of him to do, he just keeps stepping up and making plays. Right now, I don't know if there's a better defensive player in the country, in my opinion, than him at the level that he's playing at right now. I know he's not satisfied with where he's at or where we're at, so I look forward to watching him to keep getting better as this year goes on.

On the depth at safety…

We've got enough. With Boykin, Rakeim, and Bishop, those guys will get the bulk of the reps. When Sean gets back, again it'll be a great boost for our defense in the second half.

On Davin Vann

I feel like Davin's playing his best football. We try to create matchups to get him one-on-one with interior linemen. That's all schematics on how we're trying to do that and move him around, especially on third down to get him in what we count as a mismatch, trying to have him win.

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