Updated Entry – July 30, 2009
Pretty significant news coming out of Greensboro this morning and Ken Tysiac got it up on ACCNow in short order.
Coach O’Brien is talking Nate Irving and our linebacker play – and Dwayne Maddox is going to be given the first shot at replacing Nate Irving.
If Maddox can handle the job, that will allow returning starter Ray Michel to stay at middle linebacker. Sophomore Audie Cole – who has received rave reviews from the staff for his play during the spring – will replace 2008 senior Robbie Leonard at field linebacker.
If Maddox struggles, N.C. State has other options. Sophomore Sterling Lucas, who played well as Michel’s backup last season, could start and allow Michel to move to Irving’s spot. Promising redshirt freshman Terrell Manning could play at field linebacker and allow Cole to be moved.
The good thing for the Wolfpack is that it has developed enough depth to have decent options in the event that Irving is out for an extended period. But Irving still will be one of the best defensive players in the ACC whenever he is healthy.
He will be missed if he can’t play.
You may remember that SFN ran a poll near the time of Irving’s injury asking – Which linebacker do you predict will successfully ‘step up’ in 2009 if Nate Irving’s injury causes him to miss the season? The 657 votes broke down as follows (and we didn’t include Audie Cole in our choices):
Ray Michel 105
Dwayne Maddox 182
Terrell Manning 251
Sterling Lucas 91
William Beasley 28
Recognize that we were not asking who would replace Irving at his position; but where asking who would emerge as more of a major contributor than their previous role.
Original Entry – July 27, 2009
The bad luck that all NC State fans have learned is a major component of our livelihood began a month ago today…
…so it is quite fitting that today the news about Donald Bowens became public.
NC State head coach Tom O’Brien announced today that redshirt junior wide receiver Donald Bowens will miss much of the season with a knee injury. According to O’Brien, Bowens is expected to be sidelined until mid-October or November with the injury.
In 2007, Bowens posted the team’s best reception average at 15 yards per catch. He totaled 41 receptions for 598 yards and three touchdowns. Bowens had a breakout performance in his start against Virginia, recording 11 catches for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Those were the top marks ever posted by a NC State sophomore.
Bowens played in 2006 as a true freshman, registering 16 receptions for 200 yards and two scores.
He missed the 2008 season with a back ailment and injured his knee in the offseason.
The media – and many fans – seem to discount the impact of Bowens’ absence when you consider that Bowens’ would have been our #1 wide receiver heading into the 2008 season.
The fact that Bowens’ availability, or lack of availability, is not considered to be a cataclysmic event to the 2009 season speaks volumes about the performance and evolution of the Wolfpack’s current stable of wide receivers. For more on the topic of our wide receivers, you can click here.
The Wolfpack’s current stable of wide receivers is deep and generally young; the current core group will be able to support the program for at least the next three seasons if you choose to include JUCO commitment Tobias Palmer in the group. Heading into this season the Wolfpack boasts:
Donald Bowens R-Jr
Darrell Davis R-Jr
TJ Graham, So.
Steven Howard, R-So
Jay Smith, R-So
Owen Spencer, Jr.
Jarvis Williams R-Jr
On a related topic, I was glad to see these comments from Nate Irving’s teammates as highlighted by HD over at ESPN.
If you want to more closely follow the ACC’s Media Meetings then this link can keep you