TOB & Spaziani hitting national ‘hot seat’ radar

Two coaches and programs inextricably linked through personnel moves of the last five years are now coming full circle in the national media. ESPN’s Heather Dinich had this today

It’s a game of musical chairs in the ACC, and there are two new coaches trying to stay off the hot seat: NC State’s Tom O’Brien and Boston College coach Frank Spaziani, who are currently a combined 3-7 with no wins against FBS opponents and trail in the Atlantic Division standings.

O’Brien, in his fifth season at NC State, is 27-28 heading into Saturday’s game against Central Michigan, and during his overall career, he is 27-42 (34 percent) against ACC opponents. He only has winning records against three ACC schools: Duke, Virginia and North Carolina. He has had one bowl win in two postseason appearances at NC State. An unusually high number of injuries to key players has played a part in NC State’s troubles, but the recruiting hasn’t helped offset that with depth.

Spaziani is currently 17-15 in his third season with the Eagles. He inherited significant recruiting problems, especially at quarterback, and staff turnover has been a legitimate problem, as there have been three different head coaches in a span of five years. Spaziani is still looking for his first bowl win, but this year, just getting to the postseason seems to be an unreachable task.

Both coaches and programs have their excuses, but both also know this is a business and the bottom-line number is wins. So far for Spaziani and O’Brien — two coaches and friends who used to roam the sideline together at BC — it’s not adding up.

One of the most influential and respected independent bloggers in the ACC is ‘Eagle in Atlanta’. Saturday’s loss to Wake Forest was enough to send Eagle overboard and he has now officially had enough. Good for other school for not accepting losing to the Weak Florist as much as we seem to accept!! FWIW, Tom O’Brien is now 2-3 vs Wake while at NC State when compared to Frank Spaziani’s 2-1 record vs the Demon Deacons. You can see Eagle’s comments and by clicking here.

I’ve held off on calling for Spaz’s job for a variety of reasons. No longer. He needs to go. What’s the point in keeping him? What are we building towards? What is he bringing to the table? The excuse makers can say BC’s young or has a tough schedule or has had some bad luck with injuries, but none of that holds up to any scrutiny. We were beat by a young team with a sophomore QB from a private school that takes academics seriously. If Spaz is going 0-3 against Duke, Northwestern and Wake Forest at home, why are we even playing BCS-level football?


For the 19th time in his tenure, BC has failed to score 20 or more points. Are we still blaming his guy Gary Tranquill for that? Or how about Kevin Rogers, who he ran off?


….He wasn’t given the job in 2006 for a reason and shouldn’t have been given the job in 2009. Given his track record with football, I don’t trust Gene Defilippo to handle this well, so maybe it is time others in the BC community take control of this situation.

What is particularly interesting is the parallel between what is happening at Boston College in Spaz’s third season (this year) and what happened at NC State in Tom O’Brien’s third season (in 2009).

Eagle makes the comment “If Spaz is going 0-3 against Duke, Northwestern and Wake Forest at home, why are we even playing BCS-level football?”. And, I don’t disagree with Eagle at all. Worth noting is that during Tom O’Brien’s third year at the helm in Raleigh the Wolfpack similarly lost to Wake Forest, was embarrassed at home to Duke in a 21 point loss on Homecoming, and lost to Boston College by 32 points.

At that time in 2009 most NC State fans (including SFN) were still preaching patience and offering optimistic support for our coaches and our program because we were banking on the production and results that O’Brien and Spaziani created together during a decade of stewardship at Boston College. But, where we are in October of 2011, one can’t help but wonder if these two men are much better in tandem than being apart.

In light of the crap that the most patient fan base in the country takes from the media, I always find it very insightful for the public to see the way other fan bases deal with similar issues. Good luck to Boston College in their quest for a new coach…and, good luck attracting a top coach in light of the way they’ve treated their last three coaches relative to the results those coaches have delivered.

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45 Responses to TOB & Spaziani hitting national ‘hot seat’ radar

  1. DRW 10/03/2011 at 2:40 PM #

    I’m usually pretty patient and am willing to give coaches time to build the program, but unless this team makes a big turnaround, it is time for TOB to retire to his beach house in SC.

  2. baxter 10/03/2011 at 2:49 PM #

    sigh, once again, show me a program that has 7 experienced DTs ready to play. We had Sweezy (SR), Teal(RFr), Slay (JR), Ferguson(So) out, leaving Kuhn(Sr) and McGill(Fr) and Gray who we don’t want to burn this year. Coming in we have the best DT in the state of NC, and a massive JUCO DT. You can’t really recruit the position much better. What are you going to have 10, 11, 12 DTs? People bring up UNC, they were without Austin, Quinn and McAdoo. If Coples didn’t have a freak breakout year, they would have collapsed (and nearly did against Clemson, William and Mary, Duke, Tennesee)

    PS. Sweezy, one year starting, one year back up – 17 TFL, 9 sacks.
    Marvin Austin, 2 years starting, 1 year backup, 13.5 tfl, 9 sacks. Who seems to be more valuable to lose?

  3. packplantpath 10/03/2011 at 3:29 PM #

    Baxter, what about the complete failure to develop any kind of o-line? I can’t believe I’m saying it, but Chucks o-lines weren’t much worse than what we have seen out of the 2011 version. That is the biggest failure of this staff, especially considering the reputation they came in with.

  4. TheAliasTroll 10/03/2011 at 3:33 PM #

    Wow, TOB is 27-42 against ACC opponents? That’s just awful. That is an even harder pill to swallow considering how doodoo the ACC has been over the last 5 years.

  5. StateFans 10/03/2011 at 3:34 PM #


    What was our injury report like for Wake Forest?

    Do you really believe that NC State shouldn’t be able to beat Wake Forest while being down just a couple of players on defense?

    How many years can we lose to Wake with great excuses?

  6. codebrown 10/03/2011 at 3:40 PM #

    Fire Herb!

  7. Pack Mentality 10/03/2011 at 3:56 PM #

    When you have to come up with a long written “reason” for why a coach should not be fired and the only thing that those who are unhappy have to do is point to his record…well, that says everything doesn’t it?

    It seems like I’ve been in this same conversation before.

  8. wolfbuff 10/03/2011 at 4:09 PM #

    I have a solution that will save both TOB and Spaz (though not in his current job) – fire Archer and hire Spaz as the DC. Yes, it will take more than that. But he seems to be one of those classic cases of a coordinator not being able to make the leap to head coach. Then he needs to revamp the rest of the staff. Hire some young, energetic coaches to go out and recruit and send TOB to Sales school so he can close the deal. On Offense, sorry Dana. But your offense is way too predictable. You failed to develop an OL, so you need to freakin compensate with imaginitive play calling (example: 3rd and 1 and you know you’re going to go for it on 4th down. Why are you calling a run play up the middle? Do something wild and unpredicatable). I’m calling the plays up there. And if I can do it, the opposing coaches for dang sure can.

    Or, let pride and loyalty get in your way and the Frau will make the decision for you. You’re a Marine. At least TRY to take the hill!

  9. packhammer 10/03/2011 at 4:25 PM #

    This is not going to make anybody happy but it looks to me like Wake is actually about the same or better than us. NC State under Coach O’Brien is 27-28. During this same period, Wake is 28-26. They won 9 games in 2007 and beat Florida State several times. Worse yet, Wake beat us 3 out of 5 years. And of course Wake won a conference championship in 2006 and went to the Orange Bowl. We last won the ACC in 1979 with a much weaker conference.

    Wake, under Jim Grobe is not the Wake Forest you remember back in the day that everybody used to beat. Anyway, measuring our success against beating Wake is not a good idea. We want to be better than that but building a program that can consistently beat them would be a good start, and not a God-given right. We do have great supportive fans, good facilities, and a huge public University to support the program. Why can we not get a good, solid football program going?

  10. StateFans 10/03/2011 at 4:59 PM #

    ^ That is the point. When Wake is as good as us over a long period of time like five years, then the only answer is to start over and try again.

    It is unacceptable.

    Must I remind people that Duke beat us by 21 points on our home field the last time we played them. And, the score was closer than the game!

  11. TheAliasTroll 10/03/2011 at 5:06 PM #

    What we need are 3 head coaches. We need to keep TOB, re-hire Chuck, and then get a 3rd head coach, preferably Bill Cowher or Nick Saban if Cowher isn’t available. TOB only coaches the team the week we play Carolina. Amato coaches the team the week we play FSU. Cowher/Saban would coach all other games. It’s so simple.

  12. TruthBKnown Returns 10/03/2011 at 5:15 PM #

    StateFans, I can’t disagree much about your last comment, except for this. That Duke game was much closer than the final margin would indicate. State’s defense had finally found a way to stop them that game, but then blew consecutive punt returns. (Emphasis on the fact that Duke was punting, not continuing their drives…) But we fumbled those punts in an unforced fashion, resulting directly in two Duke scores. At that point, the game was blown open and we were forced into desperation mode, and could not score.

    Had we not muffed the first of those punts, we would have been driving for the tying touchdown. And up to that point, both teams had traded touchdowns on nearly every possession. No team led by more than 7 until those muffed punt returns.

    This is a sore spot with me (can you tell?) That was a tight game until that. It’s bad enough we get the ribbing from Duke fans. The last thing we need is State fans acting like the score was closer than the game. The score couldn’t have been any worse!

  13. Wulfpack 10/03/2011 at 5:28 PM #

    The only thing I remember about that Duke game was that Duke did whatever it wanted on O. We could not stop them all day long. I think the QB had a career day. When that happens, it’s time to start over.

  14. TheCOWDOG 10/03/2011 at 6:15 PM #

    Damn, Boy. It was Duke! At home!

    Shouldn’t matter if it was OT or a raging blowout. Same with ECU last year.

    Hey man, it is the motis operandi that when this team is flat, the collective staff has not and cannot still, put the finger in the levee in time. Period. It’s maddening.

  15. TruthBKnown Returns 10/03/2011 at 6:15 PM #

    Wulfpack, we also did much of what we wanted on O. It seemed bad because it’s true that we could not stop them for a long time. But we traded touchdowns with them until it was 21-21, and I think there were no punts to that point — six touchdowns and no punts. It was all offense and no defense.

    But what I remember is that the defense DID get stops against Duke in the second half. But we ruined that by botching the Duke punts. Duke recovered one in the endzone for an immediate touchdown, and the other inside the 10 I believe, for another quick score. And the wheels were officially off the wagon. Down 21 forced us into desperation node, which changed the dynamics of our offense. We could no longer take our time and do what we wanted. We needed three touchdowns just to tie.

    Duke was definitely the better team that day. All I’m saying is that score is not indicative of how the game went. It was a good (albeit frustrating) game, and a back-and-forth affair. Then the fumbles happened and it was over.

  16. hammerpack 10/03/2011 at 6:45 PM #

    This just in…We can’t stop ANYBODY but us!

    Time for a change and I’m betting DY won’t wait like Uncle Jed!

  17. pack76 10/03/2011 at 6:49 PM #

    Five years and we get the show we’re getting this year!!! Give me a break! I’m tired of the “injuries” excuse! This is part of the game and we should be able to replace injured players with good backups. It’s time to make a change and I don’t mean wait until the end of the season to evaluate. We’ve evaluated for five years and it’s time to make a change!!!!

  18. john of sparta 10/03/2011 at 7:19 PM #

    as in basketball: Who Ya Gonna Call?
    essentially, who will return those calls?

  19. eas 10/03/2011 at 7:21 PM #

    Just let TOB, Archer and Bible go. Then hire Amato as interim coach until the end of the season. I mean if we are going to look this bad and make penalties galore you might as well bring some life to the party.

    Hire a good HC at the end of the season that will bring some life back to the program.

  20. Wolfy__79 10/03/2011 at 7:30 PM #

    i like TOB and i will support him until DY fires him.. but he was on the hot seat after the first snap of running the ball out of the shotgun formation!

  21. mak4dpak 10/03/2011 at 7:32 PM #

    Although many say the State job is unappealing to any quality Division I coach, I find it hard to believe there are a large number of schools with the facilities we provide for our team, and the fans. So if a coaching change is gonna happen lets find a coach who will appreciate that, and will do all in his power to make State the best it can be in Division I football. And please a coach with some fire and enthusiasm on the sidelines. So ready for that man, who will accept the challenge, and turn the program in the right direction.

  22. Primewolf 10/03/2011 at 8:16 PM #

    TOB has gotta go. The simple reason is his performance to date and his performance in his 5th year.

    The longer reasons include a multitude of factors, like:
    1. Recruiting has gone from bad to worse in the past few years.
    2. Offense is way too predictable and plain vanilla. Since we always run up the middle or off tackle with no reverse, misdirection, or fancy running plays, how easy is that to defend. Lack of a dominant offense line with TOB’s offensive scheme is a recipe for disaster and the disaster has been unfolding for some time, less RW.
    3. Defensive coaching is bad, as in real bad. Technique and fundamentals. Why he hired Archer is beyond reason. I guess it was the only guy he knew. Archer has been a failure everywhere he has been.
    4. Special teams– weak. Petercuskie is both the recruiting coordinator and ST coach. This isn’t working.
    5. Teams not prepared to play. Slow starts.
    6. Getting beat by the likes of Duke, Wake (repeatedly), and ECU (last year when we had RW).

    7. Loss of fanbase support.

    Bascially, if TOB had half a football brain and had realize his offensive and defensive coordinators were not cutting it, and had brought in a new recruiting coordinator, and the team was playing with more pizzaz, one might be able to argue for another year. However, he had his chances and decided no change was needed.

    Further, how could a coach not have worked the RW issue better. He could have gotten RW back and given Glennon a chance. The risk of not having either was remote. The fact is, TOB really thought Glennon was very good and losing RW was not that big a deal. Shows what he knows about football talent.

  23. Virginia Wolf 10/03/2011 at 9:00 PM #

    I really think TOB’s thinking was, let’s give Glennon a year to develop so we won’t look so bad with a new QB in the first game of 2012 vs Tenn. in Atl., so he let’s Wilson go! Just saying! It seemed suspect to me! I also remember, that when Amato recruited RW, he said that RW could play baseball and football. TOB comes in and says he’ll honor that promise and allow Wilson to play both. Now, he has lied about that and needs to go.

  24. Packstrength90 10/03/2011 at 9:02 PM #

    TOB Is a good coach. I think he can lead us to more good seasons like last year if he can keep his 1 and 2 deep on the field. We all saw the results last year, and the season could have been much better w/o TOB’s screw up at Clemson by not going for the 4th and one, the second half blowup when Va. Tech came to town and the combination of a bad call and another let down at MD. I’m still trying to forget the EZU fiasco. Were those issues due to coaching – probably. But at least w/o the injury bug, TOB did get us a 9 win regular season and a good bowl win.

    I know many have issues with Archer, to be honest it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to upgrade that staff position. But the main change TOB needs to make is in the Strength and conditioning dept. Our guys are not only weaker than the other teams, they are invariably out of wind also. That can be conditioning or the lack of depth, but both are the result of poor S&C. Todd Rice’s training philosophy is piss poor. He includes way too much Olympic lifts that only serve to weaken joints and not make the kids stronger. I’ve been on this band wagon for 5 years now and unless TOB guts that dept. and gets credible S&C help you will never see a winning season again without pure luck of the sort we enjoyed last year.

    So if Todd Rice and his whole crew isn’t gone after or before the end of the season – then Debbie Yow needs to replace the whole staff.

  25. 61Packer 10/03/2011 at 9:04 PM #

    How many 2-3 teams are on the national radar?

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