October 17, 2011
NC STATE FOOTBALL
CAULTON TUDOR (N&O)
Wolfpack looks at key test
In perfect weather against an undefeated, nationally 12th-ranked opponent and on homecoming, less than 48,000 fans were in 61,500-seat Scott Stadium.
Several hundred of those fans stormed the field to celebrate the first meaty win of the season. The three previous were over William & Mary, Indiana and Idaho (in overtime) and London’s first team went 4-8 (1-7 ACC) in 2010.
State (3-3, 0-2) hasn’t faced Virginia since winning 29-24 in 2007 in Raleigh.
In desperate need of a decent win, the Wolfpack could be catching the Wahoos at a good time in spite of their impressive performance against Georgia Tech.
While the UVa runners are hot, redshirt sophomore quarterback Michael Rocco has thrown eight interceptions and only three touchdowns passes. He had one of each against the Jackets and was relieved for a while by freshman David Watford, whose 47.3 completion percentage is among the lowest in the league.
Washington Steps Up
NC State needed a tailback to emerge with Mustafa Greene sidelined indefinitely with a foot injury, and junior James Washington has done just that.
Washington rushed for 109 yards against Central Michigan, his second-straight 100-yard rushing game, becoming the first Pack back to rush for 100 or more yards in consecutive games since Andre Brown did it against Southern Miss and Florida State in 2005.
“The [offensive line] was firing out, opening up some holes and seams,’ said Washington. “We got another 100-yard rusher this week and we just plan on doing it again in the next game.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
FIFTH QUARTER: Records are deceiving
DEVELOPMENT OF THE WEEK
This is the weekend that proved records can be deceiving. The team with the better record lost three of the five games on the schedule, including previously undefeated Georgia Tech. The carnage might have been worse had Clemson not awoken in the third quarter and rallied from an 18-point deficit to win at Maryland. The end result of the ACCâ€™s first Saturday of the season with nothing but conference games is that the 7-0 Tigers are still the team to beat while Virginia Tech â€“ as it always seems to do â€“ is suddenly rising back to the top as the Coastal Division favorite.
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Football Power Rankings, Oct. 17
11. N.C. State (3-3, 0-2)
The Wolfpack are entering must-win territory when it comes to saving its season. A loss at Virginia on Saturday would mean an 0-3 start in league play, with a road trip to Florida State and a home game with Clemson still looming.
Upcoming game: Saturday at Virginia (4-2)
Previous Ranking: No. 10
Jim Young (accsports.com)
Bag Oâ€™ Tweets, Oct. 14
Was Oâ€™Brien overrated to start with or is his performance a result in the change in schemes and coaches?
Iâ€™ve been wondering the same thing about Danny Oâ€™Brien ever since he got yanked from the Georgia Tech game.
Overrated seems like too strong a descriptor, but I did have some reservations about Oâ€™Brien coming into this season, given that heâ€™d be without his go-to wideout, Torrey Smith. I kept thinking back to what T.J. Yates looked like in his sophomore season, when he no longer had Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate to catches his passes. It turned out that Yates wasnâ€™t quite the quarterback prodigy heâ€™d appeared to be as a redshirt freshmen. And in later seasons it turned out he wasnâ€™t the struggling signal-caller he appeared to be as a sophomore. I think the same probably holds true for Oâ€™Brien.
Plus thereâ€™s the issue of the scheme. It looked all well and good in the first half of the Miami game, but new offensive coordinators often look like geniuses before opposing defenses have had a chance to really study their schemes. Just ask as any N.C. State fan who remembers what Marc Trestmanâ€™s offense did to Virginia Techâ€™s defense on its very first drive back when he was the Wolfpackâ€™s OC.
In order for Gary Crowtonâ€™s spread attack to truly be effective, it needs a quarterback who is a running threat. Thatâ€™s just not what Oâ€™Brien (16 carries, 18 yards) does. On the other hand, running does appear to be in C.J. Brownâ€™s wheelhouse (9 carries, 124 yards against Georgia Tech).
So, strange as it may seem, I get the feeling that Randy Edsall and his staff may see Brown, and not the reigning ACC Offensive Rookie Of The Year, as the Terpsâ€™ quarterback of the future. But if they do make that switch, Brown needs to hit the ground running (no pun intended). Because Maryland fans do remember what Oâ€™Brien was like before Edsall and Crowton arrived â€¦ back when the Terps were a 9-4 team.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
CUSA, MWC Merge To Form Huge Gross Thing
The Mountain West Conference and Conference USA have agreed to form an association for football, hoping the move will help solidify both leagues and improve their chances at obtaining an automatic qualifying bid for the Bowl Championship Series.
VIDEO: Media Day Interviews
VIDEO: Mark Gottfried Interview
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
The Wolfpacker Podcast: Basketball Media day wrap up
The Wolfpacker editor Jacey Zembal joins host Ryan Tice to discuss all of the happenings from NC State baketball’s media day. We discuss what new coach Mark Gottfried calls C.J. Leslie, forward Richard Howell’s weight loss and the addition of senior transfer Alex Johnson. We also give our first impression of the freshmen after getting to see them on campus and update the basketball recruiting trail.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Notebook: Basketball tip-off breakfast (video)
Laying the foundation
Gottfried said he and his staff have been busy, “laying the foundation” for the team. The coach said that means they have to teach the players, “how to work hard, play through being tired and not giving in; really learning how to commit yourself to being great and it started in the summertime. It’s not something we took lightly. You have to be on time and can’t be late.”
All of the players were on campus for the summer and spent two five-week sessions working in the weight room under new Strength and Conditioning coach Bob Alejo. The athletes have also had eight weeks of work with Alejo so far this fall.
“We’ve made steps but, honestly, I think we have a long ways to go,” Gottfried said.
The players were set to practice twice today, at 10:00 a.m. and again at 4 p.m.
Future tournament talk
Gottfried mentioned some future tournaments and trips that his team hopes to take, as well.
Next August, in between the second summer session and the start of the school year, he hopes to take his team to Spain for nine days. That trek will give the Pack 10 days of practice and freshmen will be able to participate. Gottfried said the plan could be to spend five days in Madrid and another five in the Canary Islands. The Pack will face some pro teams while on the trip.
In November of next year, the Pack plans to take part in the San Juan Shootout. The Puerto Rico tournament will be held the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
The following year, the team plans to be in the Old Spice Classic, held in Orlando, Fla.
Gottfried also mentioned that the plan is for the Pack to play in the Maui Invitational in 2014.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Expectations vary as ACC hoop practice begins
The Wolfpack returns three starters and seven lettermen from last yearâ€™s team, including ACC All-Rookie team selection C.J. Leslie. But according to Gottfried, everyone on the roster is going to be starting over from scratch in the eyes of the new coaching staff.
â€œGoing into practice everybody needs to be ready to play,â€ Gottfried said. â€œWhen you cut to the chase we finished 10th in the ACC out of 12, there is nobody on this roster that is guaranteed anything.
â€œItâ€™s not like I am walking into a team that has won 25 games where roles are somewhat set. Playing time is there for all these guys to hope to get and we will see what happens when practice starts.â€
While Leslie returns as a far more motivated player and junior forward Richard Howell is back as a much slimmer player, the biggest change will be made by sophomore guard Lorenzo Brown â€“ who will switch from shooting guard to the point in Gottfriedâ€™s uptempo system.
Itâ€™s a role Brown is excited about, especially now that graduate student Alex Johnson has been brought in to back him up and help teach him the ropes.
â€œLorenzo is our quarterback,â€ Gottfried said. â€œHe is the guy I am going to hand the ball to. It may take him a few years but he has to learn how to run a team, how to be a point guard, what the expectation is, how to value the ball, (but) I am excited for him and he is going to be good at it.â€
Gottfried isnâ€™t the only one excited about the changes that are taking place with the Wolfpack.
â€œWe are coming together,â€ junior forward Scott Wood said. â€œWe enjoy hanging out and enjoy having our teammates in our presence. I feel like that bond we have off the court brings it to the court. I feel like we can talk to anybody about anything and that is a big thing we were missing last year.â€
AARON BEARD, AP Basketball Writer
Slimmed-down Howell hoping for big year
Richard Howell remembers times last year when he had to decide whether he could get off the floor quickly enough to dunk or if he’d have to go for a layup. Now 20 pounds lighter, the North Carolina State junior feels differently.
“This year, when I need to dunk, I do dunk it,” he said.
Howell’s slimmed-down physique is one of the most obvious products of the arrival of new coach Mark Gottfried, who pushed the 6-foot-8 forward to get into better shape almost from the moment he took the job in the spring. Howell was listed at 266 pounds as a freshman and was around 270 in April, but he’s down to about 250 after taking on a workout and diet plan in the offseason. During the Wolfpack’s preseason media day Wednesday, Howell looked like a different player from his first two seasons.
Jason Jennings (WRALSportsfan.com)
Transfer guard at home with Wolfpack
Newly hired head coach Mark Gottfried needed a point guard after the defection of Ryan Harrow. Alex Johnson was looking to join a higher-profile program after graduating from Cal State-Bakersfield with a year of eligibility left.
As practices officially begin, Johnson is already fitting right in.
â€œHeâ€™s effected a lot of people on this team,” said sophomore guard Lorenzo Brown. “He wants to be in the gym 24/7.â€
When I first came here, and they said, â€˜You can have 24-hour access to the gym. You can come here whenever you feel like it.â€™ I said, â€˜You know what, guys? Iâ€™m not going to be the only one in here.â€™ Thatâ€™s how you get better,â€ Johnson said.
â€œWe werenâ€™t doing that last year,” Brown allowed. “Alex came and was like, â€˜Letâ€™s get in the gym. Letâ€™s get in the gym.â€™ like every other second of the day. And I was like, â€˜Alex, calm down.â€™â€