September 27, 2011
NC STATE FOOTBALL
J.P. GIGLIO (N&O)
Injuries have Wolfpack searching for answers
O’Brien pointed out the fundamental problems with his team’s defense against Cincinnati, particularly on the Bearcats’ second scoring drive, which was extended by mental lapses, coverage breakdowns and penalties.
“Until you start doing the fundamental things on defense, we’re not going to be good,” O’Brien said.
The Wolfpack likely will be without defensive tackle Brian Slay (ankle) and defensive tackle A.J. Ferguson (knee) for the Georgia Tech game Saturday. Defensive end Jeff Rieskamp (shoulder) and tackle J.R. Sweezy (foot) already are on the injured list.
Monday’s two-deep chart featured three freshmen, two sophomores, one walk-on and only one starter (tackle Markus Kuhn) in the spot he was expected to be in the preseason.
O’Brien said sophomore Darryl Cato-Bishop will move inside to replace Slay at tackle and junior McKay Frandsen will start for Cato-Bishop at left end.
Injuries Threatening To Derail N.C. State’s Season
“I thought we’d be a winning football program and a bowl team” in his fifth year, O’Brien said. “Generally, it takes five years to install your program, to get it going up and running. The injury thing … every time we take a step forward, we’re taking two steps backwards. It’s like Year 3 again.”
The Wolfpack’s ground game ranks 109th nationally, rushing for just 85 yards per game, and a big reason for that is that they haven’t had running back Mustafa Greene, who continues to recover from a foot injury he suffered during spring practice. O’Brien said the coaches will have to decide by the team’s mid-October week off whether Greene will even come back this season or be redshirted.
On the other side of the ball, N.C. State’s front four has been a revolving door due to a rash of injuries that has wiped out any chance of continuity among that group. That’s a big reason why the Wolfpack allowed averages of 39 points and 470 yards against the two FBS teams they’ve played, Wake Forest and Cincinnati.
NC State’s chance to rebound after a disappointing Thursday night performance will come against the highest scoring offense in the nation in 21st-ranked Georgia Tech. Head coach Tom O’Brien met with the media at the Murphy Center Monday to discuss the tall order facing the Wolfpack this week.
“This offense is always hard to play because it’s so unique, but it’s a great challenge for the team,” said O’Brien. “We’re going to find out who’s disciplined and who’s mentally tough, because they force you to concentrate on your assignment each play. All it takes to get you beat is that one missed assignment.”
Graham Named ACC Specialist of the Week
Graham returned seven kickoffs for 160 yards against Cincinnati, and also hauled in touchdown grabs of 87 and 49 yards. His 176 total yards receiving stands at the 10th most in school history for a single game, while his 160 kickoff return yards is tied for sixth in the school record book.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Monday Morning Quarterbacking
Three things that did not work:
1. Winning the trenches
The stats tell the story. NC State ran for negatve-26 yards rushing. Their longest run was 12 yards, and that was a Glennon scramble. The pack gave up six sacks. Meanwhile Cincinnati had 240 yards rushing and allowed only one sack. The Bearcats had total domination on the lines.
2. Third down defense
Third downs continue to be a problem for the Wolfpack. They allowed the Bearcats to convert nine of 16. The Bearcats second and third touchdown drives included five third down conversions, giving them a 21-0 lead. Two of them were from distances of 17 and 13 yards. Later in the game, on another touchdown scoring drive, Cincinnati converted a third and 11 to get a 34-7 lead.
3. Making plays
The bottom line in football is you have to make plays. For whatever reason, State made very few plays while the Bearcats were brining their ‘A’ game. Even the Bearcats’ punter was sensational Thursday night. When Cincinnati is playing at that high of a level, NC State needs to respond by making plays, and they clearly did not do that.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Injuries pile up on the defensive line
The plethora of injuries to one unit has forced some changes. Head coach Tom O’Brien announced Monday that they are going to move redshirt sophomore defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop inside to tackle. Cato-Bishop has 23 tackles, including four for loss and three sacks, and 12 quarterback hurries this year.
True freshman T.Y. McGill, pressed into action this year, will back up Cato-Bishop. After that? The fourth defensive tackle is now walk-on and Campbell transfer Jacob Kahut, who started this year at offensive guard.
“He’s a little undersized right now, but he’ll play low and he’ll play hard,” O’Brien said about Kahut, 6-foot-4, 257 pounds. “He’s the end of the line right now.”
Because Cato-Bishop has moved inside, junior McKay Frandsen moves to the first string opposite redshirt freshman Art Norman, who replaced the injured Rieskamp in the lineup. Backing those two up are now redshirt sophomore Sylvester Crawford and redshirt freshman Theo Rich.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Week 4 By The Numbers
Depth Chart: NC State vs. Georgia Tech
Aaron Schoonmaker (WRALSportsfan.com)
The truth and deception of defensive stats
When the stat crossed on Thursday night that NC State was third in the nation in interceptions after recording their eighth of the year, that indicated to the casual ears a shut-down secondary. That’s not what the eyes were seeing, so I wanted to take a deeper look.
The reality is that the Wolfpack defense is about as banged up as any I have seen in recent memory and losing cornerback Jarvis Byrd to a knee injury didn’t help that at all. But injuries aside, they still have to play 60 minutes every Sunday and statistically it is not all bad or all good. Depends on how you look at it.
NC State is giving up over 400 yards per game and has notched their only two wins against FCS schools. The 271 yards per game given up by NC State in the passing game are 103 in the FBS but the defense is opportunistic. In addition to their eight interceptions, the Wolfpack have four fumble recoveries – one returned for a TD by Brian Slay.
To sophomore David Amerson’s credit for NC State, he leads the nation in picks as an individual with four and has proven to be around the ball and willing to go get it.
Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
Tom O’Brien era at the crossroads
By this point, O’Brien’s program should be able to overcome the absence of Wilson and Nate Irving rather than becoming a discussion point about what the Wolfpack miss. Now those individuals are seen as players of such talent that they masked huge problems, whether it’s Mike Archer’s maligned defensive scheme or poor offensive development.
Worse, the slow start calls into question O’Brien’s recruiting record since he arrived in Raleigh. This isn’t about the much-hyped star system so many recruitniks obsess over. O’Brien’s track record is to develop so-called 2-star and 3-star caliber prospects into effective system players. Find the talent that works for the system. But if he’s going to hang it all on his system, and why wouldn’t he since it worked at his previous job, the development of depth and results on the field need to be there. Unfortunately for O’Brien, that hasn’t been the case.
Thus the intense scrutiny just 4 weeks into the season. It’s why the Wilson story isn’t even about Glennon any more. That should have been done, with Glennon filling the quarterback role adequately, but “The Decision” is meta now. It simply highlights other instances O’Brien’s detractors will use to reveal his perceived inflexibility. The retention of Archer as defensive coordinator is right below Wilson in their talking points.
O’Brien: ‘We Are Going To Coach Them Up’
“We’re down four defensive tackles now, we only have two defensive tackles left to play this game. We moved Cato-Bishop inside, we’re going to play with a walk-on inside and that’s where we are. We are going to coach them up and get them ready to play a football game. You can’t play if you don’t have your guys there to play.”
“I thought we’d be a winning football program and a bowl team. I don’t think there’s any question. Whether we’d be challenging for the conference championship at that point. Generally it takes five years to install your program, to get it going and up-and-running. The injury thing is the thing that’s been so… every time we take a step forward we take two steps backwards. This is like year three again. One, three, and five have been…”
PC: Wentz, Cato-Bishop Meet The Media
Jim Young (ACC Sports Journal)
The ACCSports.com Podcast, Sept. 27
Clemson is off to a 4-0 start, has two straight wins over ranked teams and has a huge game coming up on Saturday at Virginia Tech. So it seemed like a perfect time for Jim Young to talk about the Tigers with one of the journalists who knows them best, TigerIllustrated.com senior writer – and ACC Sports Journal contributor – Larry Williams.
Among the topics they discussed:
• What’s at stake for the Tigers if they can win in Blacksburg;
• Tajh Boyd’s incredible transformation since the spring;
• Why this Clemson team feels different from its disappointing predecessors;
• Why Virginia Tech has opened up as a seven-point favorite
And how the Hokies D might try to match up with Clemson’s high-powered offense
Watch The Tom O’Brien TV Show
In this week’s episode, Head football coach Tom O’Brien breaks down the Cincinnati game with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with defensive lineman Markus Kuhn and previews the Pack’s next game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Cato-Bishop: Georgia Tech tough to defend
Defensive End Darryl Cato-Bishop says State has a tough task this week stoping the Georgia Tech offense.
Wentz: State needs to play harder
Offensive Lineman Camden Wentz says NC State went into the season thinking they were better than they are.
Tom O’Brien previews Georgia Tech
Tom O’Brien says his team has to play through the injuries. He talks about what it will take to stop the Georgia Tech defense.
Matt Hinton (YahooSports.com)
Headlinin’: Tallahassee police book Greg Reid on two misdemeanors
The Rap Sheet, Seminole edition. Florida State cornerback/return man Greg Reid was arrested by Tallahassee police early this morning on a pair of misdemeanor charges for perjury and resisting an officer without violence. No details yet, but Reid, 21, was booked at the Leon County Jail on $500 bond.
Already this season — which was supposed to be a breakout year for a former five-star recruit on the heels of his MVP turn in last year’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl — Reid has missed one game to a suspension, another to a knee injury, been posterized on one of the plays of the year and depending on the circumstances in this case, may not be seeing the field again anytime soon. [Orlando Sentinel]
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
ACC REPORT CARD: How low can State, Maryland, Miami go?
N.C. State, D-: The Wolfpack is a wounded, fragile team right now and Thursday, all it took to send it over the edge was a 76-yard punt by Cincinnati and the first of two early interceptions by QB Mike Glennon. From there on, virtually everything that could go wrong did go wrong for State in coach Tom O’Brien’s nightmare return to his hometown. Offensively, State couldn’t run the ball, couldn’t protect the quarterback and turned it over three times. Defensively, a unit that was already depleted by injuries – especially up front – lost two more linemen during the course of the game when Brian Slay and A.J. Ferguson went down with injuries and was burned for 503 total yards. While many of the mistakes on the field were physical, O’Brien and defensive coordinator Mike Archer didn’t help matters any by continuing to blitz until the bitter end, even though the pass rush was ineffective and their secondary was getting riddled by screens and passes into the soft middle. The only thing that keep the Wolfpack’s grade from being an F was another strong performance by T.J. Graham. The senior WR caught seven passes for 176 yards and two long TDs. But with the running game accounting for minus-26 yards, Glennon looking like a deer in headlights under the Bearcats’ pressure and a patchwork defense that lacks both confidence and playmakers right now, Graham’s effort wasn’t nearly enough.
Andrew Skwara (ACCSportsJournal)
ACC Football Power Rankings, Sept. 26
10. N.C. State (2-2, 0-1 ACC)
A 30-point loss to Cincinnati is especially disturbing considering the Wolfpack beat the Bearcats by 11 last year (with Russell Wilson, mind you). Tom O’Brien’s program is taking steps backwards while the quarterback they could still have has led Wisconsin to a 4-0 start.
Previous Ranking: No. 9
Upcoming Game: Saturday vs Georgia Tech (4-0)
Mike Huguenin (Rivals.com)
Monday with Mike: FSU not done yet
Rand Getlin, Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel (YahooSports.com)
Ex-Vols aide funded airfare payment for Seastrunk
An assistant coach during Lane Kiffin’s tenure at the University of Tennessee wired $1,500 to a talent scout in July 2009, funding the airfare for an unofficial recruiting trip by then five-star prospect Lache Seastrunk and his mother, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
In an apparent NCAA violation, then-Volunteers secondary coach Willie Mack Garza sent the money to one-time scout Will Lyles, who had paid for plane tickets for Seastrunk and his mother Evelyn. Garza, who joined Kiffin’s staff at USC in 2010, stepped down from his position with the Trojans in September citing “some personal issues unrelated to USC that I need to address.” His resignation came shortly after Lyles informed NCAA investigators in August of the transaction. Lyles said NCAA investigators were conducting a wide-ranging look into Tennessee recruiting practices.
Governor: UConn interested in ACC
Connecticut’s governor confirmed Monday that the University of Connecticut is interested in becoming part of the ACC should that league expand to 16 teams.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, speaking to reporters outside his Capitol office, said he no longer expects the ACC to act quickly after adding Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East this month.
“I think there was expectancy built up initially that this was quickly going to be resolved,” he said. “That’s clearly not the case. The ACC has the first decision to make and that’s whether they’re going to stay at 14 teams or stay at 16.
“I know that there’s one team, one school that they would like to get into the ACC that would guarantee them going to 16 teams and that’s been speculated to be Notre Dame. I suspect that that’s true. I don’t know how likely that is to happen or not happen. Although, I tend to think it’s not terribly likely.”
Malloy said if Notre Dame isn’t interested the ACC must decide if there is any compelling reason to expand again. “Beyond that, then you fall back to the Big East,” he said.
Malloy, a Boston College alumnus, said he has had a half dozen conversations with UConn President Susan Herbst about the move.