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August 15, 2011
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Brett Friedlander (WilmingtonStarNews)
State’s O’Brien would like to scrimmage other teams
Not even coach Tom O’Brien is sure whether his offense is really as bad as it looked or if it just seemed that way because the defense was just so good.
“That’s the hardest job you have to go through at this time, assessing,” O’Brien said Saturday at State’s annual media day event. “Is this side of the ball any good or is this side of the ball not any good? And how are we going to match up once the season starts? That’s why until you start playing the games, sometimes you never really know.”
Five Questions: N.C. State
3. How do the linebackers stack up minus Nate Irving?
Audie Cole is a tackling machine. The senior has become a terrific player who competes with smart but reckless abandon, and his attitude, toughness and approach is infectious throughout the entire defense. He will take on Irving’s role in that sense, and while Cole has a different style, he should fill it well.
Junior Terrell Manning has overcome a terrible knee injury from a few years ago and developed into a fine player. Manning and Cole complement each other well.
D.J. Green, a 6-4, 215-pound sophomore, is the X-factor of this unit. He got enough of a sampling last season to display his obvious talent, but can he handle 50 snaps per game and provide the balance to cure not having Irving?
Green’s slot is where State may struggle the most without Irving, who routinely covered for his teammates’ mistakes. Cole can’t do that, and neither can Manning. Is Green there yet?
The defense was rotten two years ago, when Irving sat out after a summer automobile accident that nearly took his life, but State wasn’t as experienced in the secondary as it is now.
Football’s preseason practice lasts five weeks for a reason. No one knows that better than NC State head coach Tom O’Brien.
Facing a roomful of inquiring local reporters Saturday at the Murphy Center on media day, O’Brien mostly kept his cards close to the vest. Practice has been underway less than two weeks. The season-opening game with Liberty is still three weeks away. And judging by his answers, O’Brien firmly believes there’s not that much to be learned the first two weeks of practice, and so much still to find out in the three weeks between now and the Liberty game.
Sammy Batten (FayettevilleObserver)
Mustafa Greene’s injury forces N.C. State to scramble in backfield
A foot injury that will keep scheduled starter Mustafa Greene on the sidelines until October has had a merry-go-round effect on N.C. State’s running game during preseason practice.
Coach Tom O’Brien said Saturday during the Wolfpack’s preseason media day he’s been rotating four players at running back in order to find a replacement for Greene, who was the team’s leading rusher as a freshman with 597 yards.
“A lot of guys are getting repetitions,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got four guy getting most of the reps, and two other kid who are walk-ons are filling in.”
The quartet receiving the most work includes two veterans and two highly touted high school stars who have seen limited or no playing time in college.
Lorenzo Perez (N&O)
Marvin Austin: “I wouldn’t change anything” about my time at UNC
Q: What have you learned in the past year or so?
Austin: You know, just take every day one day at a time. I don’t try to look too much ahead. But also just enjoy life. Enjoy the people around you. You never know when they’re going to be there… Do for others, don’t just do for yourself. Be unselfish.
Q: Do you think you were selfish at all [at UNC was the implication]?
Austin: Uh, I mean, everybody has a tendency at times to do selfish things. I made mistakes with some things that I’ve done. Obviously they were selfish. But at the same time, I didn’t intend to hurt anybody. Let’s move forward. I’ve learned a lot and can’t wait to get to my next contest with the NY Giants.
Q: You said from the get-go that coach John Blake was who you wanted to be like. Is that still the case?
Austin: Coach Blake is a great person, a great man. I don’t feel any different about him…. He’s a good coach.
Jason Jennings (WRAL)
Austin is back in the game, with ‘no regrets’ from UNC days
“The biggest things is, I hate to see some of the fans have to go through some of the things they’ve gone through with this whole things because they’re the people who I went out there every Saturday and bust my butt for,” Austin said. “The hardest thing for me is to see how some of my actions have hurt a lot of people because they love this university. People put a lot of money into that university rebuilding the stadium.”
This has been discussed ad nauseum the past few days, but here are a couple folks’ insights into what’s going on. Andy Staples talkes about what the release didn’t say (SI.com):
Except that’s not what the release said. The language was pure legalese meant to slow a boulder rolling downhill. Here’s a more accurate translation.
If we can make more money from our TV contracts, we’re probably going to expand. But no one has applied for membership yet. So we didn’t vote today. If we had voted to extend an offer to a school that hadn’t applied for membership, we might have left ourselves exposed to a big, fat lawsuit. So don’t sue us, Big 12. If someone, perhaps a land-grant institution based in College Station, Texas, happens to authorize its president to seek new conference membership — maybe at a special Board of Regents meeting Monday afternoon — and that president happens to ask us to consider his school for membership, than we might strongly consider that school.
Meanwhile, Dennis Dodd talks about the factors at play (CBSSports.com):
Note to Aggies everywhere: Before you borrow daddy’s Caddy and rent a tux, make sure you have a prom date.
It always seemed strange that A&M was fast-tracking this thing. In the end, SEC presidents didn’t want to be rushed. Why should they? With or without the Aggies, the SEC is still making $3 billion in a 20-year media rights deal finalized a couple of years ago.
The SEC is basically telling A&M: Get your house in order and then we’ll talk. There is an A&M regents conference call on Monday. A Texas state representative wants to hear testimony to a Higher Education committee on Tuesday.
In the end, those SEC presidents couldn’t find a 14th school to go along with A&M or didn’t want to risk a legal challenge from the Big 12 (by potentially breaking up the league). Possibly both.
Our Brett McMurphy reported that SEC presidents have a “gentleman’s agreement” not to expand within the league’s footprint. That would eliminate Clemson and Florida State.
ESPN probably has a lot to do with it too. The key to the deal is how the Worldwide Leader can maximize A&M, Oklahoma and Texas with conference realignment looming. A&M must extricate itself from the Big 12 so it doesn’t look like the SEC is interfering. OU must decide between the Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. Texas has to be in a place where its increasingly burdensome and controversial network is the most profitable.
Many within the SFN community suggested Florida and South Carolina would block Florida State and Clemson (and Georgia Tech), and that looks now like it may be in fact true. What we also know is plausible is that ESPN can profit more with a viable Big XII and SEC rather than having Oklahoma and Texas seperated, so perhaps we’ll see the Big XII attempt to fortify by expanding back to 12 (Air Force, Houston, Louisville, and even TCU seem to be potential options). The two factors combined, it’s certainly plausible to suggest that if the SEC does decide to expand in the future, then they may look towards new footprints in Virginia and North Carolina.