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NC State Football

Tony Gibson: "They've Always Done A Great Job On Offense"

October 13, 2022

No. 15 NC State defensive coordinator Tony Gibson met with the media ahead of the Wolfpack's upcoming matchup versus Syracuse.

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

Thoughts on Syracuse...
They're still highlighting, obviously the running back, quarterback... very good players. They run the ball and they got some good wideouts. They're scoring points. They're moving the ball on everybody.

So Coach and I... Robert does a great job. We were on the same staff together at Arizona and then obviously, we went against him a few years ago at Virginia, so I know him well. He's a good football coach and obviously Coach Baber's background, they've always done a great job on offense.

I'm sure you found things, but was the second half a near masterpiece?
Yeah, it was. It really was. I thought the kids came out and executed in the second half really well, played hard, and really the biggest question, what did we change? Really, nothing.

We just started doing our job a little better. The first half we got out of our gaps, gave up some big plays, and the second half we didn't, and we executed and made plays when we needed to make plays.

Last two weeks, couple running quarterbacks, obviously gave up some pretty big gains. What types of things have you taken away from that to try to improve, especially when you have Garrett Shrader coming up this weekend?
Yeah, tackle the quarterback and stay in your gap.  What happens is we get too excited on the running backs. Everybody tries to get to the running back and forget to take care of the quarterback. So every defense we have, we have somebody accounting for the quarterback, and obviously the other night it didn't look like it at times.

Again, we went in at halftime, talked about it, and we came out in the second half and it was really good.

How happy are you with your team's ability to make those adjustments at halftime? They seemed to do a good job coming out in the third quarter.
Yeah, those guys are older. They understand it. It's not like we're drawing up a new defense. We just tweak a few things here and there and the guys execute and come out and continue to play hard and physical and all the things that you want as a coach. These guys do it every week for us. So proud of them for that.

Let's talk about the communication in a dome; obviously could hurt offense, but how about defensively?
Yeah, defensively it's not as bad, obviously they don't want to make noise when their offense has the ball, so it's a little easier on us. Our offense, obviously a lot of crowd noise this week and getting ready for it, but at times it's going to get loud. Our goal is to not let them cheer about anything, so we have to shut them down and not let them get big plays.

Are you surprised at Syracuse's success this year? They're kind of on the come up?
No, I'm not surprised though. They got good football coaches, they got good football players, they got the best tailback in the league. Their quarterback is playing extremely well. He's throwing the ball so much better right now and their wideouts are making plays so.... their offensive line's big. So they do a great job and I'm not surprised at all.

Based on your experience, when you're playing a team off a bye, do you typically see some tweaks in the offense?
Yeah, I'm sure they're self-scouting themselves during the bye week and going to do some different things maybe.  They've studied us now for two weeks, so they're going to try to attack what they think is a weakness. What we have to do is again, play assignment football and be sound with what we're doing and not give up big plays and those kind of things.

How good is it to have the energy and the play of a guy like Cyrus Fagan in that backfield?
Yeah, he's our glue back there. He communicates, gets everybody lined up. He understands football, he understands formations, what's coming, and he kind of runs the whole show, gets us in our checks. When he is not in there, obviously we suffer a little bit when he's not back there running the whole show for us.

A lot of ways to end a football game or seal the verdict from a defensive coordinator. How about having an interception in the end zone?
Yeah. Wouldn't want it any other way.

Especially when they're in field goal range.
No doubt. When we got the penalty, I felt really good and then we got the targeting and obviously moved it closer. But the one thing, the last thing I told the guys coming out of the timeout, I said, Look, they're not going to let it come down to their kicker. I said, they're going to take a shot at some point. I said, We got to make sure that we're doing what we need to do and don't get bad eyes. And sure enough he threw it the next play and Boykin made a heck of a play.

It was the exact same route that they scored a touchdown on in the first half and they came back to it and we played a little different and a little different leverage and he threw it right to us.

Don't fully know his status yet, but what would it mean to have a guy like Tyler Baker-Williams potentially back this weekend?
Yeah, I've raved about Tyler all year long and he's very skilled. He does a great job and has played a lot of football for us, so getting him back allows us to do some things with other guys that we haven't been able to do the last few weeks. So we're expecting him full go and ready to roll.

For the layman that follows defense but maybe doesn't know it as intricately as you do, when you have someone that sort of ball chases when they're supposed to be assigned to the quarterback, can you describe what that creates, and then how much discipline it takes not to chase the ball?
Yeah, and give Florida State credit, the scheme that they were doing to us was pretty good. And we had guys that saw something and thought, all right, I could take this gap and still make my play, and they couldn’t.  The quarterback was reading at the end and the end jumped in and we had nobody left on a quarterback, so it was difficult to swallow for him.  He felt bad about it, but then bounced back in the second half and played well.

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