NCSU's O'Brien says can't stop Clemson, only contain them

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From Wednesday's ACC teleconference:

TOM O'BRIEN: Certainly have a big challenge heading to Death Valley this weekend, but it's a great place to play football against a great football team. Very explosive on offense and solid on defense. Big challenge, but our kids are excited about the opportunity to go play and see what we can do on Saturday.

Q. What's your message to your defense this week about what you have to do in order to keep this game competitive?

TOM O'BRIEN: Well, probably the same thing if you asked that question every week who plays Clemson. They're so explosive on offense. They're averaging about 28 points in the first half, so what they've done is they've come out and jumped on people right away. I don't know if you can stop them. I think you have to try to contain them and slow them down. That's the best thing we can do. A lot of big plays off play-action pass and run fakes and things like that, so certainly just have to try to control what they do and not give up the big explosive plays that they're so good at.

Q. Easier said than done, however?

TOM O'BRIEN: Well, it hasn't been done yet this year. They've lost one game on the road to Florida State. They've been undefeated I think probably two years at home. Certainly it's a tough venue to play in. They feed off their crowd, and they have so many big play guys, a quarterback that can beat you with arm or leg, tailbacks catch the ball and run with it, and same thing with their wide receivers. There's not any one area that you say they're weak in. They're strong in all areas, and they put a lot of pressure on your defense.

Q. In conference play their two receivers (DeAndre) Hopkins and (Sammy) Watkins are averaging almost 200 yards a game between them. Are they the toughest pair you've gone up against in a while?

TOM O'BRIEN: Yeah, there certainly is two of them. Everybody seems to have a feature guy, and then there's the other guys. But these are two top-rated guys, and that's where all the stress comes in on the defense is that they have two guys that get in the seams or get down the field, double moves, things like that coming off play-action fakes that gets the ball deep, and they can run by you.
And not only those two, but as I said before, you've got the quarterback and tailback to deal with at the same time.

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