Secondary a Primary Reason For Pack Gains

New season, new secondary.

After going 1-5, N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien encouraged his team to think of the second half of the season as a fresh start. Then he went out and put some fresh bodies in the Wolfpack’s defensive backfield.

“The whole secondary got changed,” O’Brien said.

DeJuan Morgan moved from strong safety to free safety, opening a spot for redshirt freshman Javon Walker in the starting lineup. Jeremy Gray moved up to the No. 1 spot at one cornerback, ahead of two-year starter Jimmy Sutton. The only starter who remained the same was cornerback DeAndre Morgan, and the redshirt freshman only moved into the lineup four games ago.

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77 Responses to Secondary a Primary Reason For Pack Gains

  1. Ismael 10/30/2007 at 1:46 PM #

    What a good coaching staff these guys got…Walker and DeAndre Morgan are both RSh-Fr right?

    btw, don’t know if you guys saw any video of the latest recruit we got, i somehow got a free peak on rivals.com…but man this guy delivers some bone-crushing hits from the safety position. And he does NOT miss tackles…his teammates would miss arm tackles on a RB/WR but he stuck to em like glue and usually dropped them on the spot, not getting dragged for 3 more yards. If the video wasn’t so grainy and it didn’t look like a high school field, you’d think you were seeing Ronnie Lott out there or the Safety that Ohio State had way back in the late 90′s who was just a tackling machine. But watching these videos was actually painful, like when you watch those skateboarder videos and someone falls on his face from 10 feet…Roy Mangram was smacking people.

  2. RAWFS 10/30/2007 at 1:53 PM #

    After a few years of arm-tackling and no Thunder Dan or Adrian Wilson types, I’m really looking forward to some Pain Train players in our defense that will legally lay the wood on opposition players.

  3. noah 10/30/2007 at 1:57 PM #

    A couple of people questioned Tony Haynes asking about attitude adjustment, but that’s been a pretty consistent theme around this team for the past couple of weeks.

    Right before the bye-week, we had a couple of players quit and transfer, then we had O’Brien offering a fresh look at every position and then we get our first two victories over decent teams. I’d say that it’s pretty apparent that the remaining players are buying into the schemes and gameplans being placed in front of them and it’s starting to pay dividends.

    Yesterday, I briefly listened to Dave Glenn’s show on my way home. He had some typical UNC fan talking about how Amato had everyone buying into how great a Tang Bowl win was and how it was going take “years and years and years” before O’Brien could fix things. Then he basically confirmed everything I’ve always said about UNC fans (first, that UNC fans know eff-all about football; second, UNC fans can’t be bothered to learn about football; and third, no true fan of a school would ever forsake the fortunes of his or her team, regardless of the sport in question. If your team is playing, it doesn’t matter if it’s curling or football, it’s still your team. Especially, if “your team” is also “your alma mater.”) by claiming that he doesn’t care about college football, he can’t wait until Carolina starts playing basketball.

    To give Glenn credit, he cut the guy off and moved along with the rest of the show. It would have been nice if he had added, “If there are any other fans this pathetic out there, thanks for listening…but please don’t call.”

  4. beowolf 10/30/2007 at 2:02 PM #

    no true fan of a school would ever forsake the fortunes of his or her team, regardless of the sport in question

    Boy, isn’t that the case. There were times in the mid-1990s and then again the last couple of football seasons that I wished I could “forsake the fortunes” of the Pack, but it was impossible.

  5. noah 10/30/2007 at 2:16 PM #

    Even during the Tom Reed years, we weren’t so bad that I stopped caring.

    The closest I ever came was the 1992-93 basketball season. That was the year that Tony Robinson killed himself and Feggins got shot. 8-19, 2-14 in the ACC.

    I think Kevin Thompson was the only legitimate ACC player we had. That was after Googs had left and before Todd Fuller arrived. We started the year by losing (by TWELVE!!!) to UNC-Wilmington. We had beaten UNC twice the year before and they beat us by something like 35 and 50 points the two times we played them.

    It was like one of those movie fights where the spunky young kid gets in a couple of decent jabs against the truly dangerous and disturbed school bully….only for the bully to get serious and administer a beatdown of savage proportions. Like the fat guy at the beginning of *Shawshank Redemption* getting killed by the prison guard. At the end of the year, we were just left there….barely alive, whimpering and bleeding.

    If you were watching on TV or at Reynolds for some of those games, I think aliens could have come out of the logo at center court and no one would have really cared. The cheerleaders could have been performed their routines naked and $100 bills could have dropped from the ceiling.

    I don’t think anyone would have cheered. You could have held the game at midnight in a graveyard and the attendants would have been more lively.

  6. McPete 10/30/2007 at 2:19 PM #

    What’s sweet about this secondary improvement is that all these guys should be back next year, Gray and DeJuan Morgan are only RS Juniors.
    I find it interesting that Sutton III and Scott aren’t in the starting line-up considering how much the previous staff thought of those two, but this current staff needed to shore up the tackling problems the D had the 1st half of the season.

  7. Redblogger 10/30/2007 at 2:30 PM #

    “second, UNC fans can’t be bothered to learn about football; and third, no true fan of a school would ever forsake the fortunes of his or her team, regardless of the sport in question”

    WalMart only sells UNC Basketball apparel, that explains every thing.

  8. packpigskinfan23 10/30/2007 at 2:38 PM #

    When I first saw Willie Young I thought he would be great… he didnt do much the beginning of the season(wasnt he 2nd or 3rd on the depth charts? or was that just me). I am glad he has bought into what TOB was teaching him, and he is making QB’s fear holding on to the ball!

  9. kool k 10/30/2007 at 2:39 PM #

    You know who also won the NCAA title in ’93. At least we didn’t go 8-20.

  10. Sam92 10/30/2007 at 2:40 PM #

    wow noah, that really takes it back a while and yes, that season was about as low as it ever got. a player suicide (i met him several times he seemed like a nice guy) and a shooting as well. but was that the year that our two wins came against UNC?

  11. BJD95 10/30/2007 at 2:47 PM #

    ^ No, we beat UNC twice my freshman year (91-92). It seemed like each successive season of my student tenure only got worse, but much of that is likely just feeling the cumulative effects.

    I remember the huge crowd for the Jimmy V speech before the Duke game. I would guess that a good 10-20% of the students left after the speech. I actually took a hmework assignment into Reynolds with me.

    Those were some pretty damned lean times.

  12. Dr. BadgerPack 10/30/2007 at 2:47 PM #

    “The cheerleaders could have been performed their routines naked and $100 bills could have dropped from the ceiling.”

    PacMan Jones is SOOOOO down with this concept…

    Make it rain; Reynolds’ Style.

  13. BJD95 10/30/2007 at 2:48 PM #

    As to football, it seems clear that TOB is following the Marine Corps model – tear them down, then build them back up the right way.

    Over the bye week, the rebuilding began.

  14. MatSci94 10/30/2007 at 3:03 PM #

    Watching the UVa game (didn’t see the ECU game) it also seemed like the chemistry between the OL and Evans was much better. I don’t know if the OL is just playing better and more consistent, or Evans trusting them more, but there didn’t seem to be the number of ‘run for your life’ moments that I remember from other games. I think this may have been the single biggest impact on the ‘lack of QB development’ since Rivers that has been talked about here and other places.

  15. noah 10/30/2007 at 3:09 PM #

    “Make it rain; Reynolds’ Style.”

    !!!

  16. McPete 10/30/2007 at 3:10 PM #

    Quick question: what the heck does football have to do with the military, other than some organizational similarities? Why do people try and relate the two with TOB? He even said himself that he learned about coaching football from George Welch, not the marine corps. He’s been a football coach alot longer than he was active duty. I seem to recall Kellen Winslow taking alot of heat for comparing himself to a soldier when at miami. I hear it so much it becomes just another tired sports cliche in a very long line of tired sports cliches.

  17. Mr O 10/30/2007 at 3:15 PM #

    You could see signs of a turnaround in the FSU game. We had a chance in that game, but the picks and bad calls finished us off.

    I was as pessimistic about this team as anyone. I have been amazed the last two weeks as we actually look like a good team again. It has been a long, long time since I saw us play smart, tough football and now we have done it two weeks in a row. We look solid in every facet of the game(thank TOB for Haushka(sp)).

    Watching the QB position all year has been very interesting. Going into the year, I figured Evans was our best hope. But then after the first couple of games, I figured we might as well give the ball to Beck as he had the most potential in the long run. Then Beck gets hurt and all of sudden D. Evans looks like one of the better QBs in the ACC with seven hundred yards and a 6/2 TD to Int ratio the past two weeks.

    Sounds like the players really believe in the coaches. These were big wins the last two weeks. We won’t likely make a bowl game, but it is amazing what a couple of wins will do to your mentality. I can only imagine how differently the players feel about themselves.

  18. Cosmo96 10/30/2007 at 3:29 PM #

    “If you were watching on TV or at Reynolds for some of those games, I think aliens could have come out of the logo at center court and no one would have really cared.”

    I guess you could say I didn’t know any better, but I really cared about the outcomes of those games. The ’92-’93 season was my freshman year, and I attended every game we played in Reynolds that year. We had had a very good football season, so I was primed for my first live ACC basketball experience. It looks like I happened to come in at the very lowest of low points. But I did care, and have ever since. I would hope against hope that we would win each time I was there, and I was rewarded a whopping eight times that year, including a memorable win over Maryland on Super Bowl Sunday (I even painted my face for that game…you know, gotta support the team).

    There have been plenty of times since then — for football, basketball, baseball, you name it — when I’ve tried not to care anymore. I’ve tried to make myself be indifferent and just wash my hands of the whole thing. I’ve tried, but I just can’t do it.

  19. LRM 10/30/2007 at 3:37 PM #

    I think this is one of the early examples we’ll look back on in a few years and say TOB was a great hire.

  20. BoKnowsNCS71 10/30/2007 at 3:39 PM #

    McPete — Guess you were never in the military and that helps to understand that while it is a cliche — it is also what he is doing to the mental attitude of the players. Boot camp is a from of resocialization where they break you down, strengthen you, and build you back up in to a team that reacts (appropriately) rather than thinking in battlefield situations.

    Tom has had to do this to a team that had an over inflated view of themeselves and played poorly as a team. It was a team that needed to shuck off the bad habits from the past and play the game the way TOB plays his system. It has been sucessful for him and he learned much of it under George Welsh.

    When I read the recent comments he made about he team “reacting” faster rather than “thinking” on the field — it all seems to come back to the military concept.

    So bottom line is that the team got a mental flush and an injection of a way to play better and win — and it’s paying off.

  21. LRM 10/30/2007 at 3:44 PM #

    The fans that had it rough were those diehards like myself that spent their formative years — middle school and high school in the 1990s — intensely loyal to a program that wasn’t very rewarding in terms of ROI. I started at State in the fall of ’97 and spent my adolescence cheering for some of the worst teams we’ve ever seen.

    It’s one thing to be in college and be loyal to your school; it’s entirely different to be vested in a belief in something that’s still an idea rather than a reality.

    There’s a great exchange in Rounders that sums it up:

    “If you had it to do over again would you make the same choice?”
    “What choice?”

  22. Par Shooter 10/30/2007 at 3:44 PM #

    I was in school for the 8-19 team as well and it was just putrid. Was that the same team that lost to Campbell in Reynolds? I was at the UNCW game and they looked like an NBA team compared to us. Of course, I watched UNCC (or Charlotte, whatever) do the same thing to us at the RBC.

    I’m glad that the current football staff did not take the defeatist attitude regarding talent levels that some folks here did. I always felt like there must be some athletic ability on this team and I think we are seeing it in guys like Morgan (2), Young, Irving, Bowens, etc.

  23. BoKnowsNCS71 10/30/2007 at 3:49 PM #

    This team has come a heck of a long way toward improvement since that embarassing first quarter agains UCF. Duke could have beat that team 50-0. I am proud of what I am seeing now. Many teams could have tucked tail and accepted that they were going to lose all their games. Not this team. They may not win the majority of the rest of their games but these guys are going to be winning a lot of games in the coming years. Go Pack!

  24. RabidWolf 10/30/2007 at 3:54 PM #

    “Quick question: what the heck does football have to do with the military, other than some organizational similarities?”

    If you break a football game down, it is very similar to battlefield tactics.
    (the poor state of the military academies’ teams notwithstanding). Also, the military “break down, build up” way of training young men makes them tough enough to handle anything, and confident enough to KNOW they can handle anything. The result should be CLEARLY evident in the performance of the entire team for the past two games. Was the opponent shut down? no….Was there adversity in the past two games? yes…Did the team give up, quit, or hang their heads? NO, HELL NO! These young men KNEW they could go out there and move down the field, score, and then stop the other team when it counted most.

    I think there may be a small amount of similarity.

  25. PamlicoPack 10/30/2007 at 3:57 PM #

    So what in the Sam Hill do you guys attribute Daniel Evans’ AWFUL first half against UCF to? Nerves? Even apart from the awful offensive line play, he just looked terrible in that game. Hasn’t even looked like the same guy out there the last two games.

    Do we have a shot against Miami? To get to 6-6 and a bowl bid (for which TOB should get COY hands down, but probably wouldn’t if that comes to pass), we have to avoid the mental letdown against the terrible teams left on the schedule (UNC and Maryland) and then steal one from either Wake or Miami on the road. On paper, Miami certainly is a more talented team than Wake, but who wouldn’t take Wake if they were going head to head right now? Until last year, Wake had a motivational edge against us when we played in Winston similar to that ECU had in the past. Will Wake (as ECU did) succumb to the complacency of being the clear FAVORITE for a change?

    Personally, even with the improved play, I think we lose to both Wake and Miami and sweep the Twerps and Heels to finish 5-7.

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