NC STATE FOOTBALL
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Monday morning quarterbacking
Three things that did not work:
1. Second half offense
Whether it was because State became very vanilla on offense in the second half or because the offense just didn’t play well, the Pack was held to a meager field goal in the final 30 minutes. They had 154 yards of total offense.
2. Fourth quarter defense
After pitching a shutout for three quarters and holding South Alabama to just 202 yards of total offense up to that point, State let up a bit in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars scored a touchdown and piled up 112 yards of offense in the final 15 minutes.
The point of the first two things that did not work well is that NCSU did not have a consistent, complete game Saturday. At halftime, one would have figured that NCSU was on their way to a lopsided 40-plus point win. Instead they were outscored by South Alabama 7-3 in the second half.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Tom Oâ€™Brien wary of The Citadel (w/video)
- O’Brien said there has been no change in the status of redshirt sophomore running back Mustafa Greene. Greene was suspended for Saturday’s game against South Alabama.
Starting junior left tackle Rob Crisp “didn’t seem to be making much progress Sunday” according to O’Brien. Crisp has missed the last two games with an unspecified injury.
- When asked if there was ever a thought about trying to get by with redshirting freshman quarterback Manny Stocker, O’Brien answered, “You can’t do that if he’s the backup quarterback.”
O’Brien noted that the decision to play Stocker “wasn’t hard at all.” He also expects that Saturday’s brief action should do Stocker good later this if they have to call on him and again next spring when he will battle Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas for the starting job.
Hopefully Stocker will have a better debut the next time he plays. It turned out Saturday he could not find his helmet when his number was called.
“He was running around like a chicken with his head cut off,” O’Brien joked. “The only I said to him is just make sure you get the ball from the center. Don’t worry about anything else. You just get the ball from the center and go from there.”
- Sophomore linebacker Rodman Noel got the start against South Alabama after a strong performance at Connecticut the week before. Noel had six tackles, including one for a loss, in East Hartford.
“He’s made plays,” O’Brien said. “When we got to the Connecticut game he got his opportunity, he got in there, he made some plays and was in the right spot at the right time and will continue to get playing time because of that.”
Noel is listed as the starter on the depth chart over classmate Brandon Pittman, who started the first two games. Pittman ironically led State in tackles with seven, including two for losses and a sack, against South Alabama.
Depth Chart: NC State vs. The Citadel
â€¢ Sophomore Tony Creecy is now listed as the starter at tailback. Senior James Washington is the top reserve and Mustafa Greene is not on the depth chart.
â€¢ Sophomore Rodman Noel is listed as the starter at strongside linebacker. Brandon Pittman is backing him up.
James Henderson (PackPride.com)
O’Brien: Pack Prepping For Triple Option
“We start our preparation tomorrow for The Citadel. We started a little bit yesterday. Their offense is one that is tough to handle. The last two weekends they’ve knocked off ranked teams in their division.
“They are playing with a great amount of confidence. The quarterback is extremely dangerous. He’s their leading ball carrier I think he’s carried it 54 times, only throw eight, maybe nine passes. I know it’s less than 10.”
“We’re going to have to be very disciplined, trust our eyes, and read our keys or we’re going to be fooled. The quarterback can run around you, by you, through you, or past you, and when you have to defend that sooner or later the ball is going to go flying over your head. That’s what they do.”
“I think it’s the first time since ’92 they started 3-0 and that is the last time they’ve beat one of the FBS or whatever we call ourselves now, and won their conference title.”
Weekly Tom O’Brien TV Show
In this week’s episode head football coach Tom O’Brien breaks down the South Alabama game with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with center Camden Wentz and previews the Wolfpack’s next game against The Citadel.
O’Brien: We have to make sure our players know what’s going to happen
NC State head coach Tom O’Brien said he’s pretty sure the coaches know what to expect against Citadel and they just have to make sure the players do too.
Jim Young (accsports.com)
The ACC Weekend That Was, Sept. 17
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Football Power Rankings, Sept. 17
4. Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0)
So much for a trip to a struggling Pittsburgh team not providing a test. The Hokies werenâ€™t just upset by the future ACC program, but beaten convincingly, 35-17. Quarterback Logan Thomas (14-of-31 with three interceptions) played awful and the Hokies run game continues to struggle, producing just 59 yards on the ground.
Last Weekâ€™s Ranking: No. 3
Next Game: Saturday vs. Bowling Green, noon
5. North Carolina (1-2, 0-1)
The Tar Heels nearly pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in school history at Louisville. Of course, they also fell behind by 29 points by halftime. Their one-point loss to Wake looks less respectable now as well.
Last Weekâ€™s Ranking: No. 6
Next Game: Saturday vs. East Carolina, 3:30 pm
6. N.C. State (2-1, 0-0)
Beating up on FBS newbie South Alabama (31-7) doesnâ€™t help the Wolfpack much at all. Nor will doing the same to The Citadel next week. The good news is corner David Amerson looks like his old self. Heâ€™s picked off passes in the last two games and now has 15 career interceptions.
Last Weekâ€™s Ranking: No. 8
Next Game: Saturday vs. The Citadel, 6 pm
7. Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1)
How does Wake beat Florida State a year ago and then turn around and lose by 52 points in the rematch? It probably has more to do with the Seminoles getting better than the Deacs getting worse. Still, you canâ€™t ignore the fact that Jim Grobeâ€™s team looked frighteningly inept.
Last Weekâ€™s Ranking: No. 5
Next Game: Saturday vs Army, 12:30 pm
Ken Medlin (WRALSportsfan.com)
UNC, NC State continue to progress
At State, the Wolfpackâ€™s dealing with a running back absence as well. Mustafa Greene sat out Saturdayâ€™s game for an undisclosed suspension and he remains OFF the depth chart for this week
“His situation hasn’t changed right now, he’s on the team should be practicing but not any different than we were Saturday night,” said head coach Tom O’Brien.
But after two challenging road games… The Pack found another gear against South Alabama… playing efficient football on offense… and nearly recording a shutout on defense…
“With two wins under our belt we have to keep our foot on the pedal. We can’t let up and get lackadaisical,” said NC State linebacker Rickey Dowdy.
“I think our offense really came out of the gates and played well,” said Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon. “I felt the crowd responded well to that and it kind of just set the tone for the whole game.”
The Pack remains at home this week to face a Citadel team that just beat Appalachian State.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
NCAA frees Purvis to play for Wolfpack
The NCAA designated Upper Room as a school under “extended evaluation” and technically ruled Purvis ineligible while it investigated the school.
“This was never about Rodney,” said Shanda McNair, Purvisâ€™ mother. “The only part that was about him was that he was the one who could be penalized.”
Upper Roomâ€™s status with the NCAA has not changed, an NCAA spokesman wrote in an email to the News & Observer on Monday, rather Purvis was cleared after an “individual review” by the NCAA.
In order to get clearance from the NCAA Eligibility Center, Purvis needed to provide extensive paperwork for each of the core courses required by the NCAA. That meant rounding up four years worth of syllabi, class assignments, and textbook information for the 16 core classes, hence the protracted length of the process.
Purvis would have missed the entire season without Mondayâ€™s ruling. It has been a long summer for Purvis, who was held out of the Wolfpackâ€™s trip to Spain on Aug. 4 by the NCAA while it began its review of Upper Room.
Purvis Cleared For Competition
NC State freshman basketball player Rodney Purvis has been granted permission to compete immediately for the Wolfpack in a decision handed down by the NCAA Committee on Initial Eligibility Waivers on Monday.
The committee, comprised of campus administrators from across the nation, reviewed an appeal submitted by NC State on Purvis’ behalf to determine his competition status. The committee had previously determined that Purvis could attend classes with athletics aid and practice with the Wolfpack during the upcoming season.
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Patient process clears Rodney Purvis
The issue struck deep for Lester, who graduated from NC State played for the Wolfpack. He also has four children attending Upper Room â€” three daughters who are in the third grade, sixth grade and 10th grade, and one son in the second grade.
“My third grade daughter knows Rodney because he’s been here since she was in pre-school, and even she was asking, ‘Why? Why? Why?’” Lester said. “We have kids that graduated with Rodney in college right now.
“Maybe the outside perception has been somewhat cleared up. I really appreciate the support the Wolfpack fans have given.”
Lester would get questioned about the situation nearly every day once individuals realized who he was.
“I was on my lunch break and the librarian asked about Rodney, and I told her that the vast majority of our students were never going to play college sports,” Lester said. “My daughter in the 10th grade isn’t going to play in college because she doesn’t have the desire, but I know she’s going to do well in school. I know she’ll do well in college when she gets there.”
“When I look back at my own days, the happiest time I had playing was at NC State,” Lester said. “I know how that feels and that rush you can get. I know the support you can get, and the highest level you can play that. It’s great he has the opportunity to experience that.
“If there is one good thing that can come from this it’s to let you know to not take any day for granted. Take every day and live it to the fullest.”
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
NCSU guard Rodney Purvis cleared by NCAA
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
NCAA clears Rodney Purvis to play for N.C. State basketball team
Doyle, who worked at the NCAA for 12 years and joined N.C. State in 2010, said Upper Room is the first high school she’s seen that didn’t have a 48H form detailing its NCAA-approved core courses. A college-bound student-athlete must have completed 16 to gain Division I eligibility.
On July 16, the NCAA accepted only one of Purvis’ classes, an online course, and he wasn’t allowed to participate in a five-game exhibition tour of Spain and the Canary Islands in early August. Upper Room continued to provide more information to the NCAA during that time, and N.C. State submitted an initial-eligibility waiver Aug. 15. The NCAA accepted seven more classes, none of them online courses, and ruled Aug. 21 that Purvis could practice and attend classes with athletics aid but not compete.
Last Thursday, N.C. State submitted another appeal, this one to the core-course subcommittee, saying Purvis was prepared for the academic rigors of Division I athletics and claiming that he’d have a strong support system in place. The university also made a case that his high school situation was unique.
“I’ve never been involved in a circumstance like this where it’s a brand new high school and the brand new high school has never had any of their courses reviewed by the (NCAA) eligibility center to determine if they’re core courses,” said Doyle, who was an NCAA employee from 1987-1999 and a compliance director at New Hampshire for six-plus years.
The subcommittee had until Monday to make a ruling and granted N.C. State’s request that Purvis be eligible for competition. Otherwise, he could have been a partial qualifier, making him eligible to practice but not play during the 2012-13 season.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Mark Gottfried says it was “the right thing” to clear Rodney Purvis
Rodney went to one high school, and a lot of people say he did this the right way. Would you have felt that it would have been unjust if he hadn’t been cleared?
“I felt from the beginning that the right thing was for him to play because I know all the facts of the school and the courses he took. The truth of the matter, he’s really a bright student. It’s unfortunate he was even in a situation where anything was questioned. At the end of the day, I think the right thing happened. I think it’s good that he’s able to get on with things.”
What does this do for your team?
“There’s no question it helps our team. We’ve only got nine eligible scholarship players, so not only do we need him, we need all nine. He’s got to be a big part of things, and we’re just not in a position where we can afford to have anybody not be ready to play just because of our numbers. I think he’s a difference maker.”
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Rodney Purvis news brings out the creative side of N.C. State fans
News that the NCAA had cleared N.C. State freshman Rodney Purvis to play in 2012-13 was met with much fanfare on the PackPride.com message board. There are countless GIFs posted to express that excitement, including many featuring Kate Upton, Katy Perry, “Parks and Recreation” character Ron Swanson and “Anchorman” star Ron Burgundy.
Keeping this family friendly, here are a few of my favorites from the lengthy thread. You might recognize some of the clips involving Oprah’s studio audience, Carlton Banks, Sean Connery, Chuck Norris, the “Napolean Dynamite” movie, Will Ferrell and the “Seinfeld” technicolor dreamcoat.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Anthony Barber an eye-opening basketball commitment for N.C. State Wolfpack
Barber talked then of potentially choosing the same college as Boo Williams teammate Troy Williams, who is considering Louisville and Alabama, but the Cardinals stopped recruiting Barber last week. He is ranked the No. 9 senior in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 3 point guard, behind Andrew Harrison and Florida commit Kasey Hill, by most recruiting sites. Recognizable by his braids and wiry, 165-pound frame, the 6-foot-2 Barber uses his quickness to get deep into the paint on offense and pester opposing guards.
North Carolina, Duke and N.C. State are all in line to sign strong classes even though the Wolfpack, for better or worse, got off to a slower start. UNC received its first Class of 2013 commitment from power forward Isaiah Hicks last August and added point guard Nate Hicks in November. Shooting guard Matt Jones committed to Duke that same month, and small forward Semi Ojeleye picked the Blue Devils last weekend.
N.C. State dealt with some disappointment, like when shooting guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes or point guard Chris Jones narrowed their lists and excluded the Wolfpack. Jones, the top junior college point guard in the country, committed to Louisville on Monday. N.C. State’s backcourt should be in good shape in 2013-14 with a pair of freshmen (Tyler Lewis, Rodney Purvis) and 6-6 LSU transfer Ralston Turner already on campus, and landing an impact big man or two is a priority.
Eric Bossi (TheWolfpacker.com)
Julius Randle talks about recent visits
Randle breaks down his general takeaway from each of those first in-home visits: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and NC State.
Duke: “It was pretty good. Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski] didn’t have to do anything special as far as bringing anything to show off. He just had to be himself. Just having Coach K in my living room was amazing. He was teaching me things about my game and telling me how he can develop me as a player at Duke.”
Kansas: “I think Coach (Bill) Self’s visit was probably one of the best of the week or maybe even the best at selling his program and why I would fit there. He explained to me what he would want me to do and how he would help me get better. It was at the end of the week and it was the shortest too, so that wasn’t bad either.”
Kentucky: “Coach Cal [John Calipari] is Coach Cal. He came in and he’s one of the coolest coaches out there. He was just himself. He wants me to come in and be the top draft pick. He sees me as somebody to get it to on the break to use my speed and quickness. He sees a way to use my dribbling ability whether it be on the break or playing at the elbows.”
North Carolina: “Everybody kind of heard about this one. Coach (Roy) Williams came and he brought all of his rings and kind of put on a little show for me. It was a lot different than the others, but also very informing. He really sold the culture of UNC basketball while he was here.”
NC State: “They see me coming in there and filling the role of a guy like C.J. Leslie because they think he’ll be gone for sure after this year. They see me as somebody who can play the four-spot in their offense. They are really confident that I could showcase my whole skillset in their offense. They also stressed how big basketball is at NC State and how they are trying to build and compete for a national title.”
Eamonn Brennan (ESPN.com)
Three Big Things: North Carolina State
1. Is this the year C.J. Leslie puts it all together? NC State fans are certainly hoping so, and with good reason. Leslie is by far the Wolfpackâ€™s most talented returning player, an athletic and versatile 6-footâ€“8 big man who can score with either hand on the low block, and who cleans up on the defensive glass. But thereâ€™s reason to think Leslie is still just scratching the surface of his ability. There were times in 2011â€“12 — which was a good season for Leslie individually, and a decent one for his team in general — in which he still looked less than fully engaged on both ends of the floor.
When heâ€™s on, heâ€™s a force, particularly in the paint. According to Synergy scouting data, 24.4 percent of Leslieâ€™s possessions came in the post, where he can score over his left shoulder or over his right shoulder, and where he oftentimes pivots and faces up against his defender before diving toward, and finishing at, the rim. And thatâ€™s just in the half court. Because heâ€™s so athletic, Leslie was a major target for NC State in transition, where the Wolfpack played nearly 20 percent of their possessions, and finished ranked No. 87 in the country in Ken Pomeroyâ€™s adjusted tempo. Leslieâ€™s second-most-frequent play types were transition finishes.
Still, despite having so many weapons in his offensive arsenal, Leslie finished the 2011-12 season with a just-above-average offensive rating of 102.1. Until a late push in February and through the ACC tournament, Leslie was often hit-or-miss. Now, as a junior, there are no questions about his talent, and about the role he’ll be asked to play on an NC State team with designs on its first ACC regular-season title since 1989. The question is whether he can bring a high and efficient level of play not just game-to-game, but possession-to-possession. Because if he does, there are only a handful of players who can impact a game the same way. He’ll be a star.
Andy Katz (ESPN.com)
Five Questions: NC State’s Lorenzo Brown
What has to happen for NC State to make a similar, or even better, run in the NCAA tournament?
LB: We have to have the mindset that we came in with last year. Weâ€™ve got the missing pieces to make it to the championship or the Final Four.
Whatâ€™s the buzz like on campus?
LB: This is as excited as everyone has been about us playing since Iâ€™ve been here.
What’s the biggest difference with your team under coaches Sidney Lowe and Mark Gottfried?
LB: It was just leadership. We didnâ€™t have it my freshman year. Last year we had good leaders, the type of guys that showed us the ropes. For us to be a good team we need the seniors that want to win games and defend.
Andrew Carter (N&O)
UNC Athletic officials stunned by Thorp’s decision
In a time of economic hardship, Thorp leaves a legacy defined by successful fundraising and improved faculty retention. But the problems in the athletic department during the past several years â€“ problems that publicly overshadowed Thorpâ€™s work in other areas â€“ will remain a part of his legacy, too.
Baddour defended Thorpâ€™s tenure as chancellor and credited him with construction of the Blue Zone, the $70â€‰million addition to Kenan Stadium that added premium seating, suites and a â€œcenter of excellenceâ€ for athletes.
â€œWhile I realize that people will focus on the Butch Davis decision,â€ Baddour said, â€œwe should also be reminded that without (Thorpâ€™s) support we would not have the Blue Zone. We would not have that wonderful facility that will serve student-athletes and on the financial side help the (athletic) department.â€
Williams described Monday as a sad day because of Thorpâ€™s announcement. Thorp was a regular at Tar Heels basketball games at the Smith Center, where he usually watched from his seat at midcourt, a few rows up.
Jane Stancill (N&O)
Thorp: My resignation right for UNC-Chapel Hill
UNC â€˜needed a scapegoatâ€™
The reaction on campus was mixed, but many expressed sadness that the athletic mess had claimed a brilliant academic leader who struggled to manage it all.
Joe DeSimone, a chemistry professor and longtime colleague, said Thorp had made many advances but the turmoil had taken a toll on him.
â€œThe need for strategic planning on this campus is past due,â€ DeSimone said. â€œThe campus has been distracted for a long time, and the ability to do these things that are important has been tabled for awhile. I think itâ€™s going to be really important for us to start plotting our path forward here.â€
Some thought Thorpâ€™s departure was inevitable.
â€œI donâ€™t think any of the scandals were his fault, but the university needed a scapegoat,â€ said Veronica Koven-Matasy, a graduate student in library science. â€œI donâ€™t think he had a choice but to resign.â€
Jackson Sutton, 21, a senior from Winston-Salem, said many on campus were disappointed.
â€œHolden Thorp genuinely cares about people,â€ Sutton said. â€œI think heâ€™s done a lot of good for this university. I guess that any time a scandal comes to a university, itâ€™s the person at the top under fire.â€
Luke Decock (N&O)
Thorp latest to fall at UNC
Thorp was always going to be the next domino to fall. It was just a matter of time. You canâ€™t fire Davis for not knowing what was going on within his own football program, then expect the chancellor to skate for not knowing what was going on within his own university.
And so the football scandal at North Carolina, which is now a full-fledged athletic and academic scandal of unknown scope â€“ encompassing NCAA sanctions, academic shenanigans in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, alleged financial improprieties by two fundraisers who happen to be a former Tar Heels quarterback and Tyler Hansbroughâ€™s mom â€“ claimed another victim when Thorp announced Tuesday he would step down in June.
Thorp resigned, but he seemed on shaky ground. His decision to fire Davis alienated the half of his constituency focused on athletics; the continuing series of additional scandals across campus alienated his base, the half focused on academics.
Thereâ€™s no doubting Thorpâ€™s academic credentials â€“ even his detractors acknowledge heâ€™s a brilliant chemist and teacher. But at a time when the university needed a hard-eyed realist keeping a close eye on Davis and the rapid expansion of football ambition, Thorp was at midfield, playing the national anthem on his keyboard before the Thursday night game against Florida State that turned out to be a disaster for the Tar Heels.
Caulton Tudor (N&O)
A sad but old story undermines Thorp
Perhaps the saddest aspect of Holden Thorpâ€™s resignation as UNCâ€™s chancellor is that his pending exit will not automatically put an end to the schoolâ€™s litany of firings, retirements and awkward predicaments.
While Thorp plans to step down at the end of the school year, investigations will continue into the matter of academic fraud and other issues. Such is the breadth and seemingly viral resilience of a quagmire that began with a routine NCAA probe into possible illegal interactions between football players and professional sports agents.
Itâ€™s unfortunate that Thorpâ€™s fate is only an example of how thoroughly a few corrupt players and employees can undermine a vast, proud, historically significant institution. Almost everything that has unraveled at Carolina can be traced to the selfish actions of no more than a dozen or so individuals.
J. ANDREW CURLISS (N&O)
Chancellor Thorp flew with since-ousted UNC fundraisers
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp flew multiple times on private planes with former UNC fundraisers Matt Kupec and Tami Hansbrough, trips that university records show took place after Thorp stopped Kupec from hiring Hansbrough because the two were dating.
Thorp said Monday he didnâ€™t question their travel at the time, even though Kupec, the chief fundraiser as vice chancellor for advancement, rarely flew with any of many other fundraisers at the university who had higher-ranking jobs than Hansbrough. Thorp said vice chancellors such as Kupec are in charge of their own travel.
The flights Thorp took with the couple werenâ€™t the only red flag he missed in a controversy that led to resignations by Kupec and Hansbrough last week and contributed to Thorpâ€™s resignation on Monday, effective at the end of the academic year.
Fourteen months ago, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp drew derision from sports fans but high praise from academics for firing popular football coach Butch Davis after an NCAA investigation found agents offering perks to players and a tutor fixing up their papers.
Thorpâ€™s explanation was simple: Academics come first at one of the nationâ€™s top public universities, and the issues raised by the investigation had become too big a distraction for that mission.
But the athletics-related distractions didnâ€™t end. An academic fraud scandal and, last week, a travel scandal, emerged that raised much deeper questions about how beholden UNC-CH had become to big-time college sports.
Like many university chancellors and presidents around the country, Thorp struggled to balance the competing demands of academics with a major athletics program. Monday, he announced he would resign at the end of the school year and return to teaching as a chemistry professor.
Thorp did not expressly state why he was stepping down, but his prepared statement suggested that he thought he had become the distraction.
â€œI will always do what is best for this university,â€ Thorp said. â€œThis wasnâ€™t an easy decision personally. But when I thought about the university and how important itâ€™s been to me, to North Carolinians and to hundreds of thousands of alumni, my answer became clear.â€