I’m still licking wounds and dealing with depression from Thursday and I just want to turn my attention forward. So, we are NOT going to re-hash all of the post-mortems from Thursday night. The Wolfpack should have no problem heading into the Pitt game on September 26th with a little rust worked off the machine and a 2-1 record with a little momentum. I think that the realistic expectation was to exit September with a 3-1 record, and that opportunity will still exist in the last week of September.
With this said…the following are a few pertinent points that we wanted to make today as we start to look forward:
========== Game Commentary ==========
- There is no doubt that Coach O’Brien will have a stigma/challenge of being a ‘slow starter’ until NC State can have a couple of years of not laying eggs in the first game. Heck…its not just the first game – it is the first play. In 2007, Central Florida’s Kevin Smith broke off a 77 yard touchdown run against the Wolfpack on the first play from scrimmage of the season; in 2009, Toney Baker fumbled inside the USC 20 on the Wolfpack’s first play from scrimmage. Ouch!
- No matter how frustrated you may be about Thursday night, you have to be pleased about the Wolfpack’s defense. Wow! We could have easily given up 24+ points and instead found a way to hold the Gamecocks to seven points. Names like Ray Michel, Audie Cole, Rashard Smith and Earl Wolff all signaled that we may be hearing a lot more from them. WolfpackPigskin.com highlighted the play of some of these guys in this entry that is worth emphasizing.
- While discussing new names, we have to recognize the burst of energy and strong running that James Washington provided the Wolfpack in the 4th quarter. I guess this means that Curtis Underwood has been pushed to #4 on the depth chart? Or, is he now 5th because of Brandon Barnes? Regardless, it is nice to have that much quality depth at the tailback position.
- The injury bug continues to hit the Wolfpack in a significant manner. Ken Tysiac has some comments and observations that are worthy of note in this entry and he doesn’t even reference Jake Vermiglio and Justin Byers (two starters) dings. Let’s hope that all of these injuries heal quickly because our (a) secondary can’t stand the loss of another starter and (b) offensive line really struggled without with Vermiglio.
========== Interactive ==========
- Check out this entry and please share some of your gameday experiences and thoughts with the community.
- We are going to ‘talk football’ today on this open thread on the message boards. Check us out.
- We are running a poll asking for your thoughts on the ECU-ASU match-up today. It is interesting to see how the voting. As much as I would love to see ECU lose in this type of game, the ASU fans I encounter are almost more ECU-like than ECU fans! Believe me, there is value in kicking the Mountaineers ass so that they can’t even remotely try to support their delusions that they are ‘the best football team in the state’
========== Pictures ==========
The N&O’s photo coverage of NC State games continues to be second to none. In various blog entries they had as many as 200+ pictures on their site. This link will take you to the fifty or so that were logged as the the main entry after the game.
========== BJD’s Take on Today’s College Football ==========
College football returns in earnest today. Here’s your national TV schedule.
If you think the early games suck, you would be correct. But most of us won’t be able to help watching something, so I’ll recommend Minnesota at Syracuse. Greg Paulus will play QB for the Orange. Hilarity may very well ensue.
In the 3:30 window, people in the ACC viewing area get royally screwed. For some stupid reason, ABC decided not to make the best game of the day (Georgia at Oklahoma State) a national broadcast, instead adding 2 regional telecasts of negligible interest (Baylor at Wake, Western Michigan at Michigan). ESPN2 shows a secondary game, but this apparently must be the Big Ten offering if you aren’t getting that on ABC. So, we get both stinkers. On behalf of all of ACC country, I extend my middle finger. If you can’t hit a sports bar or shell out for Gameplan, I weakly endorse Illinois vs. Mizzou. That’s usually a high-scoring affair, at least.
Fortunately, there are two interesting night games. Virginia Tech takes on Alabama in Atlanta (8:00, ABC), and will try to avoid humiliating the league like Clemson did last year (UNC and State will get their chances to do so in the next few years). But my sleeper offering of the day is BYU vs. Oklahoma in Arlington (7:00, ESPN). Oklahoma could be a bit rusty in Week One, and you know the Stormin’ Mormons have been preparing for this game since it was scheduled. By the time one can tell whether this will be interesting or a blowout, VT/Alabama will kick off, so you’re covered either way.
Although the afternoon slate kind of sucks, there are surprisingly two possibly interesting late night games (Maryland at Cal, 10:00 ESPN2; LSU at Washington, 10:30 ESPN). Cal and LSU should roll, but Maryland can be tricky, and LSU could be sluggish after a cross-country trip to play an opponent it likely doesn’t take seriously.