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Earlier this week, East Carolina head coach Mike Houston had a lot to say about the NC State football team his Pirates face in the season opener this Saturday. at his weekly press conference. You can watch the press conference above, or check out some of the standout remarks related to his opinion on NC State below:

“Obviously a tough game in Game 1 with a highly ranked NC State team. I think this is the highest ranked NC State team in school history for the preseason and there’s a reason for that Coach Doeren has done a great job growing this roster and they had a great year last year most of their team is coming back one of the best quarterbacks in the game country and one of the best defenses in the country. It will be a difficult match, but one that we are passionate about.

Houston stated the obvious that preparing for this team is very different from preparing for the game against the Wolfpack in 2019.

“There really isn’t a good comparison. We were understaffed that day in 2019 and we kind of knew that at the start of the season you can’t do much in six months, you have to grow as much as you can with what you have . It was a spotlight on where our program was at that time compared to NC State’s. Now, I think there has been a lot of recruiting, development and growth work. There’s a handful of guys who were on this court for this game in 2019 who are going to be on the court on Saturday and see how they’ve grown and see how the program has grown, it’s a different program. That being said, I think the NC State program is a different program that is arguably the best team in the ACC this year. I watched a lot of ACC games this summer, saw the bulk of the conference and what NC State had last year and what they have back, as we prepared for them . They must feel they have a realistic chance of winning the conference championship.. We have a good football team; I have no doubt about it. We have a big challenge on Saturday and a challenge that we are passionate about.

Houston is fully aware of the abilities of NC State Quarterback Devin Leary.

“I think his decision goes hand in hand with his arm talent, he has a very strong arm, he’s a good athlete and he runs very well. He doesn’t make a lot of big mistakes, 35 touchdowns for five interceptions the last year. He’s not only a talented athlete, but he’s also a really good quarterback. You look at a few guys that we’ve faced in the last year, whether it’s Grant Wells to Marshall, who, to my opinion, was one of the best quarterbacks we’ve seen the year, or Desmond Ridder in Cincinnati who was a high draft pick I think he’s kinda on the same level when it comes to the player he’s is, and then you put that with all the weapons he has around him. They’ve done a great job developing players or getting transfers and giving him a lot of viable options. It’s going to be a big challenge on Saturday from defend it.