You would think that, having spent fifteen years coaching at Virginia, NC State head coach Tom O'Brien would have a soft spot for this 2-6 squad still looking for its first ACC win of the season. You would be wrong, because O'Brien is a heartless so and so who couldn't give a...
Okay, that's not entirely fair of me.
When asked during his weekly press conference whether he still had any sentiments left at Virginia, O'Brien responded, "No, I've been gone 16 years."
O'Brien coached tackles and tight ends from 1982-1996 under Hall of Fame coach George Welsh, having followed Welsh from Navy to Charlottesville. Under Welsh, O'Brien helped a Virginia squad who had never been to a bowl game establish 10 consecutive winning seasons and a share of the conference title, twice.
"We still have a lot of friends there," O'Brien added. "Charlottesville is a great place for us. We raised our kids there. We've been very fortunate."
Charlottesville has been a great place for O'Brien. Last year, in the only contest against NC State in Charlottesville under O'Brien's tenure, the Wolfpack came away with a 28-14 victory. In fact, Virginia is 0-3 against O'Brien-coached teams (a loss to Boston College in 2005 and two losses to NC State).
"As far as coaching goes, I've learned everything in coaching from [George Welsh] and the guys he had on his staff. I learned so much on how the game was meant to played and how it should be played from Coach Welsh."
Virginia and NC State kick off at 12:30 this Saturday. The Wolfpack will be without James Washington, their 2011 leading rusher. Of course, if there's one thing we've learned this season, it's that Virginia has struggled capitalizing on opponents' injuries.
But Tom O'Brien has no sentiment for that.