“They had more energy than we did. You can’t do that, especially on the road in a conference game.” -TOB’s post-game comments after the Wake game.
After the loses to Wake Forest and Cincinnati, the Wolfpack’s only two D1A games this season, a lot of people are left look at Tom O’Brien for encouragement and signs of life, especially before meeting up with Georgia Tech on October 1. Showing the fanbase something to get excited over has never been Tom’s strong point and now that affect is starting to seep into the roster and the fanbase. Let’s review where we are against D1A opponents (and stay tuned for the “NC State Football By The Numbers” segment that WV Wolf posts weekly). Maybe we can look at where we are and figure out what to expect from here.
Where we currently stand.
First, some combined stats from our two D1A match-ups…
|NC State 2011 Craptacular!||34-27 Loss||44-14 Loss||D1A Totals|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
A few other factoids from the stats:
- Glennon is achieving a 64% completion rate. Our opponents are completing 69%. Consider that both Wake and Cincy’s QBs are “experienced”. Also note that he is only completing 1 foot LESS per attempt than his competition. Guys, Glennon is good.
- NC State out-threw both of their opponents, but is getting crushed in rushing offense (83 vs 341 yards). Some of this stat includes the terrible offensive line which lead to multiple sacks, including one for -14 yards last night.
- We are averaging 1.5 yards per rush. Some of this is due to the sacks being averaged into the 83-yard statistic, but from looking at the game, it’s obvious that the predictable play-calling is part of the blame. According to ESPN, last night’s rushing performance marks the worst in the entire ACC since 2001.
- On 1st and 10 situations, Bible called a rush up the middle 3 out of 4 times against Cincy in the first quarter for total yardage of -1 yard.
-Glennon was not sacked once during the Wake Forest game, but suffered 6 sacks last night against Cincy.
Injuries, Personnel And Depth
NC State obviously has issues with injuries. The question is, can the problems experienced by our team, primarily on defense, be explained by injuries?
Before last night, NC State had the following injuries: Mustafa Greene, HB; Terrell Manning, LB; J.R. Sweezy, DT; Thomas Teal, DT; Andrew Wallace, OG. During the game last night, Brian Slay was also taken out of the game as well as AJ Ferguson, who later returned. That leaves… ummm… crap.
Things got to the point that we were sending the walk-ons to the field. Now, for those who have never been through the NCAA recruiting circus, it’s important to note that walk-ons at the D1A level are frequently players that are extremely talented and coaches ask to come play for them with the promise that if they stick it out for a year, and a scholarship opens up the next season, they might sign them on. I’ve heard it said walk-ons at the D1A level are frequently players that would be solid at the D1AA level. Still, when Ferguson was helped off the field, we had Jacob Kahut (6’4″ 245 JUCO from Campbell) in at defensive tackle. Understatement of the season: We’re thin. Very thin.
With regards to recruiting, the battle lines are pretty clearly drawn. There are those that think O’Brien has the right idea in trying to identify not chasing talent then there are those that are saying you can only get so “good” with solid coaching and no raw talent. Either way, if you look at O’Brien’s recruits, you see a ton of 3-star recruits, several 2-star recruits, and a few walk-ons. As far as four stars go…
- 2008: Brandon Barnes (ATH), Mike Glennon (QB), Sam Jones (OL), Kyle Linney (DT), Turrel Manning (LB), RJ Mattes (OL)
- 2009: Byrd (DB)
- 2010: Crisp (OT), Hunter (DE), Randolph (DT), Amerson (S)
- 2011: Hakeem Flowers (WR)
-2012: James Summers (ATH)
Draw your own conclusions from that list. Even if you aren’t a fan of “star chasing”, just look at the 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes. My question would be how aggressively O’Brien’s staff has been in capitalizing on the success of the 2010 season in landing top-level talent. So far, O’Brien’s first recruiting class has been his best by far, but that was also when he was able to rest on the laurels of his success at Boston College. Again, I’ll let the community draw conclusions from this statement.
Left on the schedule we have 3 currently ranked opponents, 3 away games (one against #11 FSU), and one OOC opponent.
#25 Georgia Tech – Oct 1
Central Michigan – Oct 8
@Virginia – Oct 22
@#11Florida State – Oct 29
UNC-CHeat – Nov 5
@Boston College – Nov 12
#21 Clemson – Nov 19
Maryland – Nov 26
A lot of discussion is going on over at the SFN message boards concerning what many people predicted pre-season and what people predict will occur now. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that it’s going to be a tough road and absolutely nothing on the schedule can be taken for granted.
Other News and Some [Editorialized] Thoughts
Some time ago, I did a series called “Benchmark Tom O’Brien” (Link 1, Link 2) in which I compared TOB’s success to those of our previous coaches. Some members of our community were in agreement, but after the 9-win season last year, man were not. That is the problem with 9-win season after several years of sub-standard performance: you can’t be certain whether one season is “turning the corner” or a flash in the pan. Tom, for whatever reason, just hasn’t panned out at NC State and there isn’t much hope to think, moving forward into October competition against a ranked and pissed-off Georgia Tech that we will get too much better.
In addition to that, JP Giglio over at the News and Observer supposedly said that the coaching staff is considering a redshirt for Mustafa Greene this season. So why would a coach in a rut, 4 games into the season, begin considering redshirting their best running back?
Looks to me like O’Brien, the strong, disciplined legend from Boston College, has decided to follow the same template he did during the end of the Wake Forest game:
“I’m not into all this ‘we fought back’ and all that. We lost the game.”
-TOB’s post-game comments after the Wake game.
Way to fight to the end there, Tom. If this is the same mentality that surrounding the locker room, maybe that explains a lot.