Monday Musings

December 12, 2011

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Eagles give Wolfpack a scare

N.C. State never trailed N.C. Central, yet it took a greater-than-expected effort to defeat the visitors from Durham.

Fighting off the Eagles over the final five minutes of Sunday’s game, the Wolfpack escaped Reynolds Coliseum with a 65-60 victory secured at the free throw line.

Shaking their heads and regretting some choices, State players lamented another missed opportunity to play better down the stretch. They spoke about cautious play that may have emboldened their opponents – who grew dogged in the closing minutes.

“We definitely don’t feel good about the type of win, but we do feel good that we won the ballgame,” State junior forward Richard Howell said. “We have a couple of errors we need to fix to finish the game out later in stretches. But that’s something we can fix pretty easily.”

Sunday’s game, which snapped a two-game losing streak for State (6-3), came after a six-day break for the first week of final exams. The Pack has four more days of exams before it must turn its attention to No. 1 Syracuse on Dec. 17.

State coach Mark Gottfried said his team could have performed better. He said players became cautious to shoot as N.C. Central extended its zone.

He also said they were ineffective at finding post options against that zone.

Observations from Central at State
BOX SCORE: NC State 65, NC Central 60


Wolfpack whips Alabama, avenges loss

N.C. State women’s basketball coach Kellie Harper saw the focus in her players’ execution from their first set on Sunday.

The attention to detail was apparent in their tempo and decision-making, leading to a complete and satisfying 79-57 victory over Alabama at Reynolds Coliseum.

“I thought that was very key to get our momentum going early,” said Harper, whose team shot 46.3 percent from the field, forced 22 turnovers and scored 28 points off those turnovers.

“I think our players are really buying into what they need to look like on the floor to be successful.”

The Wolfpack (6-2) pushed the pace against the Crimson Tide (7-4), following the lead of junior guard Marissa Kastanek, who scored a game-high 13 points, dished five assists and collected two steals in 24 minutes.



Episode 101 – State Women’s Basketball got off to a hot start this season, going 3-0 for the first time under Head Coach Kellie Harper.
All Access with Mark Gottfried

Mark Thomas tours the Dail Basketball Center with Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark Gottfried.
Gottfried happy to win, but sees lots to fix
Wood knew NC Central would give State a challenge
Howell looks forward to facing Syracuse
Williams felt good shooting the ball early


unc fallout

Brett Friedlander (
High octane Fedora has what it takes to reignite UNC program

About the only surprise at Friday’s press conference introducing Larry Fedora as North Carolina’s new football coach was that the standing-room-only crowd at the Kenan Stadium Blue Zone didn’t strap on helmets, rush down to the field and start “beating the tar out of” one another.

That’s how inspiring and energetic the new Tar Heels’ leader is.

Within the span of just 15 minutes at the podium, the former Southern Mississippi coach quoted Gen. George S. Patton, called out his new school’s fans for coming to games late and leaving early, laid out plans for an attacking new style and punctuated it all with a rousing shout of “Go Heels!” at the end.

If the job description for Butch Davis’ permanent replacement included a requirement for passion and an ability to fire up a fan base fractured by almost two years of scandal and uncertainty, then chancellor Holden Thorp was accurate when he called Fedora a perfect fit for UNC.

All the new coach has to do now is back up the enthusiastic rhetoric with results.

Whether Fedora is the real deal, as his 33-19 record in four seasons as a head coach suggests, or simply the college football flavor of the month whose current Conference USA championship team simply put him in the right place at the right time for a seven-year, $1.7 million contract will be determined at a later date.

Of this much, however, we can be certain: Whatever he does to try to break the Tar Heels from their current eight-win rut and catapult them into the ACC and perhaps even national elite, he’s going to do it – to use his own words – at full speed.

Brett Friedlander (
Getting to know new UNC football coach Larry Fedora

Offensive philosophy: “We will be one-back, no-huddle, multi-tempo,” Fedora said at his introductory press conference in Chapel Hill on Friday. “We will spread the field horizontally to create vertical seams in the defense. We will put the ball in our playmakers’ hands, and when you spread the field like that, you create the opportunity for a lot of explosive plays.”

Defensive philosophy: “We’re going to employ multiple fronts, multiple blitzes and multiple coverages,” Fedora said. “We are about stopping the run and creating confusion and disrupting a quarterback through blitzes and coverages. Our defenses will be known for flying to the football and knocking the tar out of people.”

Why he decided to come to take the job: “UNC is a special place with a tremendous reputation both academically and athletically,” Fedora said. “Chapel Hill is a great place to raise a family and we’re excited about getting settled here. Bubba Cunningham is a nationally respected athletic director and someone who knows how to win. After speaking with him and Chancellor (Holden) Thorp, it became clear that this is an administration with a vision and a plan for UNC football. These are the fundamental ingredients to success.”

On UNC’s upcoming NCAA sanctions: Bubba made me aware of everything. It didn’t scare me. Adversity brings out the best in us. When it does, you look it in the eye, grab it by the throat and choke it. That’s what you’ve got to do with whatever adversity comes up either now or in the future.”

Tar Heel Fan (
Fedora Press Conference Recap

The meat of Fedora’s press conference came in his discussion of his philosophy. He believes in attacking on both sides of the ball and special teams should be changing the game. He is disposed to the offense and is involved in all the offensive game planning even though he does not generally call the plays during the game. His offensive focus means Fedora needs to hire a strong defensive coordinator, something he mentioned during the press conference. Despite the offensive focus, Fedora wants a defense that attacks with blitzes, sows confusion and stops the run. He wants defensive players flying around the field. On offense it will be multiple tempos, no huddle and since it is a spread the ball will be in the air. As for how the players will acclimate to the new system, Fedora said there will be no learning curve. In other words he expects them to do the work to get up to speed.

Tar Heel Fan (
Larry Fedora Contract Details

–Fedora and UNC agreed on a 7-year deal. Five-year deals are usually standard for a new coach but Fedora received an extra two because UNC placed itself on two years of probation amid the NCAA investigation into impermissible benefits and academic fraud within the football program.

–Fedora’s base salary will be $350,000 per year. He’ll also receive an additional annual compensation of $1,350,000. That adds up to a total package of $1.7 million per year. That number does not include Fedora’s media and apparel contracts, which he’s expected to sign with outside sources.

–Fedora will receive a one-time payment of $400,000 on or before Jan. 31, 2012.

–He’ll also be given an annual expense allowance $30,000.

One important takeaway from the salary is UNC has room to grant Fedora a contract extension and give him a significant raise without necessarily breaking the bank if he does well or gets interest from other schools . Another aspect is Fedora’s salary level should leave a nice pool of money for hiring quality assistant coaches, especially on defense. As good as a head coach might be, a program gets made or broken by the work of his staff. Just ask Butch Davis.

Tar Heel Fan (
Thanks Coach Withers

At 1 PM today UNC will introduce Larry Fedora as the 37th football coach in school history bringing to an end the “Butch Davis era.” Lost in the shuffle of today’s announcement is the man who, on July 28th, was thrust into the position of interim head coach a mere week before the players reported for training camp. When Chancellor Holden Thorp fired Butch Davis, it set off a massive backlash in the fan base. Some of it was a sycophantic devotion to Davis. Some of it was reaction to Thorp’s handling of the firing from the timing to the disastrous press conference that followed. Over a year of NCAA investigations and routine castigation by the media had taken its toll on everyone involved from the university administration down to the lowliest fan on the message board. The UNC football program was already on the brink. In the opinion of many, Thorp’s decision pushed it over the edge into irrelevancy.

… On the cusp of an NCAA Committee of Infractions hearing and eventual penalties, the last thing the program needed was a losing season in football to deepen hole any further. Withers ensured that did not happen. By no means was it perfect. There were slight missteps along the way from giving Butch Davis the game ball following the opening win over James Madison to verbally sparring with NC State’s Tom O’Brien over academics before having his Tar Heel team mail it in versus the Wolfpack. The circumstances surrounding Withers and the football program were far from ideal as was the way some of the games unfolded. However, I am hard pressed to believe that even with Butch Davis at the helm this team ends up marginally better than 7-5. This was still Davis’ team and staff.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

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19 Responses to Monday Musings

  1. Pack78 12/12/2011 at 10:06 AM #

    Interesting that the holes try to spin the extra two years (7 v. 5) on Fedora’s contract as being related to the self-imposed probation; if you’re not planning to cheat, then probation doesn’t matter! This extra time added indicates to me that the holes are expecting to get hammered (as they should) and recognize that the new FB coach is gonna need more time…

  2. eas 12/12/2011 at 10:12 AM #

    Fedora is bringing the no huddle to UNC…why in the he!! Can’t we run the no huddle here? It should be obvious by now that we ALWAYS play much better in the no huddle offense here.

    Sorry for the random rant but it drives me nuts to see us do so well in a no huddle offense only to be let down by never using it (except when we are down).

  3. TruthBKnown Returns 12/12/2011 at 11:22 AM #

    I wonder if Fedora’s contract duration and dollar amount just shows how difficult it was for them to find a replacement. At this point, he doesn’t seem to be a $14 million dollar coach, or deserving of a seven year contract.

    They act like they’re such a top program and appealing job. But they didn’t exactly bring in a home run hire, and they had to pay through the nose to get him there. With that kind of money, of course they’re going to be appealing to SOMEBODY!

  4. Wufpacker 12/12/2011 at 12:07 PM #

    “routine castigation by the media”

    Perhaps I slept thru the past 16ish months, but I recall no coverage by the media which I would characterize as either routine, or castigating.

  5. 61Packer 12/12/2011 at 12:48 PM #

    UNC may regret hiring Fedora, but it’s more likely that Texas A&M will regret not hiring him.

  6. wolfbuff 12/12/2011 at 12:58 PM #

    Aside from our obvious bias, I don’t know why anyone would downplay Fedora. He’s exactly the kind of coach that either of us would hope to get – a young, engergetic up and comer. Maybe he’s not all that, but we’ll see. Let’s hope TOB can still whip them.

    Back to State. 3 basketball games in a row with tentative play down the stretch now qualifies as a bonafide, disturbing trend. I like the way they’re playing much better this year. And I’ll lay the poor execution at the end of games squarely on the shoulders of the previous administration, who failed to properly coach them up. But this is something Gottfried needs to get out of these guys’ heads now or it will spiral in a bad way.

  7. vtpackfan 12/12/2011 at 1:51 PM #

    Did he say on his presser whether he would even bother taking his UNC issued cell phone out of its box?

  8. wolfie91 12/12/2011 at 2:04 PM #

    Our problems scoring at the end of games goes back to the Vandy game at least, IIRC. We had TX down by 7 and won by 3. I believe Elon closed the game on a 10-0 run. Not sure why we have trouble scoring at the end of games, though I have to wonder if it is mostly mental.

  9. pack76 12/12/2011 at 3:41 PM #

    Fedora says regarding the NCAA sanctions, that Bubba told him everything. I’m not so sure they told Bubba everything! No way should he get a 7 year deal. He’ll be 7-5 the first three years with the Swahili group he has now.

  10. tjfoose1 12/12/2011 at 3:47 PM #

    “…the holes are expecting to get hammered(as they should) and recognize that the new FB coach is gonna need more time…”

    Or more likely, Fedora made it a requirement for him to accept the job.

  11. blpack 12/12/2011 at 4:44 PM #

    They spun it well, but in no time the holes can have a Cusa team they can be proud of.

  12. TruthBKnown Returns 12/12/2011 at 5:01 PM #

    tjfoose, I think you hit the nail on the head. Even if they think sanctions will impede their progress for a couple of years, that is not reason enough to throw Fedora a 7-year contract. They could give the “standard” 4-5 year deal, and let him know that he will not be judged too harshly in his first couple of years, but that they’ll want to start seeing some progress after that.

    I believe the deal he received shows that coaches were not exactly chomping at the bit to take that job. They sweetened the pot like a glass of southern ice tea. Are we really supposed to believe they did that simply because they like the guy? They like to act as if UNX is a dream job, but this shows it is not. But when you throw $14 million bucks at a coach, of course it becomes VERY appealing!

  13. Ed89 12/12/2011 at 5:35 PM #

    ^But when you throw $14 million bucks at a coach, of course it becomes VERY appealing!

    Throw half that at me, and it’s VERY appealing!

  14. tractor57 12/12/2011 at 8:57 PM #

    I think Fedora can be the man depending but the history for a coach following a major screw up isn’t so good. Tom Crean at Indy in BB apparently an exception.
    Lotta obstacles and I also believe the length of the deal signifies UNX was having some problems finding a coach.

  15. eas 12/13/2011 at 1:10 AM #

    Whether Fedora becomes a success remains to be seen. Personally I think it was a good hire for them but the 7 year deal is just weird.

    Fedora does have some qualities we all appreciate. He is younger, hungry and confident. Can’t say I wouldn’t mind seeing something similar in Raleigh….

  16. PackerInRussia 12/13/2011 at 6:22 AM #

    “On UNC’s upcoming NCAA sanctions: Bubba made me aware of everything. It didn’t scare me.”

    Maybe he gave him the same speech that Butch gave recruits concerning sanctions.

  17. Sound Tech 12/13/2011 at 10:41 AM #

    Bubba was asked about his conversation regarding the sanctions with Fedora on 99.9 after the press conference. Bubba stated to them that he and the UNC staff felt confident that the self imposed penalties would be all that UNC would receive. I guess we will have to wait and see.

  18. TruthBKnown Returns 12/13/2011 at 12:27 PM #

    “On UNC’s upcoming NCAA sanctions: Bubba made me aware of everything. It didn’t scare me.”

    Maybe he gave him the same speech that Butch gave recruits concerning sanctions.

    And maybe he has 14 million reasons over seven years to not be scared.

  19. Prowling Woofie 12/13/2011 at 2:10 PM #

    –He’ll also be given an annual expense allowance $30,000.

    Is that AKA “the Tutor Fund”, “the South Beach Fund”, “the Parking Ticket Fund”, or “the Agent’s Camp Fund” ?

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