October 4, 2011
NC STATE FOOTBALL
After a crash course in defending the option last week, and drilling against Cincinnati’s short passing attack the week before, the NC State coaching staff must game-plan for yet another philosophy as Central Michigan brings its smash-mouth style of play to Carter-Finley on October 8.
Taylor Gentry, typically a fullback, suited up for the defense last week in an effort to capitalize on Georgia Tech’s undersized linemen. According to NC State head coach Tom O’Brien, that won’t be the case against the Chippewas.
“Gentry was a one-game experiment,” said O’Brien. “It suited him to play there last week because of their offense and the style they played, but he can’t play there this week. This is smash-mouth football at it’s best coming in. Play action pass and throw it over your head.”
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
O’Brien expects some injury relief for Wolfpack
He didn’t knock on wood or cross his fingers, but N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said Monday that he hopes to have a complete lineup for his team’s next ACC game.
The problem is, the Wolfpack has to play before then, playing host to Central Michigan (2-3) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and the football season is starting to slip away.
N.C. State (2-3) is winless in three games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents — against three teams it beat last year.
Fullback Taylor Gentry, halfback Curtis Underwood and punter Wil Baumann have a chance to play against the Chippewas, O’Brien said, but the status of the rest of the players on the injured list — which still includes four defensive linemen, linebacker Terrell Manning and running back Mustafa Greene — remains unchanged.
“I think, realistically, we’re hoping we get everybody back for the second half of the year and make a run for that,” O’Brien said, pointing toward his team’s Oct. 22 trip to Virginia.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
O’Brien hopes to build on positives
NC State may have lost 45-35 to No. 13 Georgia Tech, but Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien still took away some positives in the defeat.
Offensively, NC State rushed for a season best 195 yards on 38 carries, and the line gave up just two sacks that probably could have been avoided. The same Tech defense had seven sacks in a win over UNC the week before.
“Certainly we ran the ball a lot better, something we wanted to make sure we did,” O’Brien stated. “It helps in our time of possession. One thing we came in wanting was to possess the ball more than they did. We won the second and the third quarter, they won the first and third. I think [running] was the best part of it.
“When you look back at it. We had a back knock [redshirt junior left tackle R.J.] Mattes off, gives up a sack. [Redshirt junior quarterback Mike Glennon] doesn’t throw it hot on the second sack. We could have conceivably not been sacked the whole game, too, which would have been a really clean performance for the offensive line. I think it’s positive for them and something they knew they had to do going into that football game and the situation we knew we were in on defense.”
O’Brien also praised junior running back James Washington, who carried 20 times for 131 yards and a touchdown and also caught five passes for 35 yards. O’Brien noted Washington has been working on become a more physical running back.
Depth Chart: NC State vs. Central Michigan
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
ACC REPORT CARD: High marks for Clemson, Duke and Wake
N.C. State, C+: Maybe this grade is a little high for a team that gave up 45 points and lost at home to a conference rival. But that only shows how much lower the expectations on the Wolfpack are now than when the season started last month. Thanks in part to the return of DT J.R. Sweezy and the aggressive play of LB Audie Cole and S Earl Wolff, State succeeded in holding Georgia Tech to its lowest yardage total of the season. Offensively, RB James Washington had a breakout 131-yard rushing performance while QB Mike Glennon 20 of 29 passes for163 yards and a TD. And yet, even with all of those positives, coach Tom O’Brien’s team still found a way to lose by giving up points in bunches – Tech had two runs of 21-unanswered points – turning the ball over at the most in opportune of times, committing drive-killing penalties and doing all the little things that end up costing struggling teams games. The loss was State’s third this season in as many games against FBS opponents and second straight in the ACC, meaning it needs to win five of its remaining seven games to gain bowl eligibility. Though there was plenty upon which to build from Saturday’s effort, time is rapidly running out.
Jim Young (accsports.com)
Second Thoughts On The ACC Weekend, Oct. 3
There Are No Winners In The BC-TOB Divorce
Here’s what happened in the years since Tom O’Brien left Boston College for N.C. State:
• The Eagles’ win total has declined with each passing season (11,9,8,7) and looks like it could take serious dip in 2011.
*The loyalty issues the BC AD Gene DeFilippo had with O’Brien reared their head again when TOB’s replacement, Jeff Jagodzsinki, started hunting for NFL jobs.
• The “loyal to BC” guy that then replaced Jagodzinski – Frank Spaziani – hasn’t given fans much reason for optimism during his 2+ years and now a vocal part of the fan base wants him out.
• The BC calling card under TOB, it’s powerful offensive line, has steadily regressed.
Given all that, you’d think that O’Brien is having a nice chuckle at BC’s expense. Except that his job status down in Raleigh is looking pretty tenuous these days.
Originally it was thought that moving from a private school in the Northeast to a big state school in the South would expand O’Brien’s recruiting base. Given what he did at BC with a limited talent pool, imagine what he could do down at N.C. State! At least, that was the theory. Instead, TOB no longer gets the type of players he once got at BC – State could never get Luke Kuechly to show much interest, for example – and for the most part he’s labored in the recruiting shadow of UNC.
TOB has still managed to develop quite a few no-name two- and three-star recruits into big contributors – Audie Cole and C.J. Wilson, for example – but he hasn’t found enough sleepers to withstand significant injuries. And, with the notable exeception of last year’s 9-4 team, TOB’s State squad have been plagued by poor health.
In all likelihood those injury issues have nothing to do with changing his address from Chestnut Hill to Raleigh. Maybe TOB would have endured the same personnel losses had he stayed at BC. That’s all hypothetical stuff. What is reality is that the N.C. State fanbases’s patience with excuses – even if they may be totally legitimate – is running out quickly. In year five since his departure from Chestnut Hill, things clearly haven’t turned out the way O’Brien had planned.
On this point at least, Boston College fans can relate.
Watch The Tom O’Brien TV Show
In this week’s episode, Head football coach Tom O’Brien breaks down the Georgia Tech game with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with center Camden Wentz and previews the Pack’s next game against the Central Michigan Chippewas.
PC: Sweezy, Washington Meet The Media
O’Brien Impressed With Central Michigan
“[Robert Crisp] has been practicing a lot better. Until about three weeks ago he wasn’t, in our opinion, doing the things to earn playing time so the more that he’s practiced better and is better, he’s earned more time to be on the field. He will continue to get time if he continues to practice they way he has been and playing in games the way he’s playing.”
Washington: Running game improved last week
NCSU Running back James Washington says the running game showed a lot of improvement last week against Georgia Tech. He looks ahead to another home game.
Sweezy: Happy to return to the field
NCSU’s J.R. Sweezy says he is happy to finally be back on the field after a foot injury. He’s hoping other injured players join him soon.
O’Brien: Team is improving
Tom O’Brien says he saw a lot of improvement in his team on Saturday despite the loss to Georgia Tech.
O’Brien says health is the key to the rest of State’s season
Riddick and Reynolds
R&R Podcast: A Lunchcast With Dick Hunter & Fran Tokar Of The 1957 ACC Title Team
In 1957, NC State won its first ACC Title in football, and on my lunch break Friday, I was fortunate enough to be joined by Dick “Spook” Hunter and Fran Tokar, two of the stars of that squad.
Dick DeAngelis, aka Amedeo, also joins us to sit in with his friends to chat about Earle Edwards, the ’57 squad and Riddick Stadium.
Fans of State football today may not realize just how important Earle Edwards was to the program. That first title-winning team of ’57 proved State could play with the big boys and showed how a team of quick-but-undersized players competing as a cohesive unit could do great things.
It’s a great interview, and if for nothing else, listening to Dick DeAngelis sit in with his friends and tell a dirty joke or two always leads to some hilarity.
Joe Ovies (accsports.com)
The ACCSports.com Podcast, Oct. 4
Joe Ovies, afternoon cohost on 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, and Jim Young have returned with another edition of the ACCSports.com Podcast.
Among the topics they discussed:
• Were there any winners in the aftermath of the Boston College-Tom O’Brien breakup?
• Can Jim cure Joe of his Clemson skepticism?
• How deep do Virginia Tech’s offensive issues run?
• Why might UNC be a serious factor in the Coastal Division race?
• Is Duke benefiting from keeping it simple in the red zone?
• How big a deal is Rodney Purvis’ commitment to tn N.C. State?
Barry Jacobs (accsports.com)
Jacobs: No Going Back For Tom O’Brien
As Wolfpack coaches and fans are keenly aware these days, we shoulder the consequences of our acts and decisions in real life. What looks prudent in one light may prove anything but — like choosing unproven Mike Glennon over conflicted Russell Wilson, who led ACC quarterbacks in total offense and passing yards in 2010.
“It’s a team game, it’s not about one guy,” O’Brien explained of pushing Wilson from the nest prior to the 2011 season while the veteran vacillated over his future. “You go year-to-year and do the best you can.”
O’Brien said he made his decision based on “the facts available to us in April,” when the Pack conducted spring practice.
Wilson was playing pro baseball, for which he was well paid. Glennon, a redshirt junior, is a promising talent and might not have stuck around if a spot was held open for Wilson. The team also had to choose and practice an offensive style most appropriate to its quarterback’s skills; Glennon is more traditional, Wilson more improvisational.
So N.C. State coaches made the logical choice. The fact Wilson was a great kid who led last year’s Pack to nine wins, best since 2002, was ultimately deemed irrelevant. Sentiment doesn’t win games or secure a prosperous future.
Adam Gold (WRALSportsfan.com)
Russell Wilson is going to get Tom O’Brien fired
Because you allowed/pushed Russell Wilson to leave and he is just lighting college football on fire for the University of Wisconsin. It doesn’t even matter that Glennon has been pretty darned good in his first five games, completing 2 of every 3 passes with a 3-to-1 TD to interception ratio. No, this has nothing to do with Glennon’s performance. This is all about the perception of the college football-watching nation.
All the general public sees is Wilson putting Wisconsin in position to win a national championship, clearing a seat for himself at the Heisman Trophy ceremony in December and likely putting himself on several NFL draft boards come April. It’s short-sighted, and only a small part of the truth, but it’s hard to blame the national media for wondering what O’Brien was thinking in February when he informed Wilson that no spring meant no chance to be the starter in the fall. Would Wilson have the Wolfpack in any better a situation today than State currently exists? Unlikely, no matter how amazing a player he can be — and has been. NC State’s offensive line doesn’t speak the same language as the one he sets up behind at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison and his offensive weapons appear to be more advanced with the Badgers than they are in Raleigh. The truth is that what Wilson is doing at U-Dub was very predictable.
Aaron Schoonmaer (WRALSportsfan.com)
Wilson says he wanted to return to NC State
“I wanted to show to everybody that I have the ability to play in the NFL,” Wilson said on the Dan Patrick Show Monday. “In my opinion I have always thought that, I just needed the opportunity.”
When Wilson announced that he would transfer, a nation-wide bidding war began to bring the services of the duel-threat signal caller to their campus. But at least one ESPN writer said that teams were a little unsure of what they were bidding on.
Ryan McGee wrote on ESPN.com nearly a month ago:
“As good as he was for the Wolfpack — in three seasons, he threw for 8,545 yards and 76 touchdowns and ran for 1,089 yards and 17 TDs — he still flew below the radar nationally. Because of that, no one in the Midwest was entirely sure what to expect from the fifth-year senior …”
Wilson told Patrick he was certain he wanted to play football and visited a lot of schools, but the choice came down to Wisconsin or Auburn.
“When it really came down to it, I thought the tradition here, I thought coach (Bret) Bielema and coach (Paul) Chryst, the offensive coordinator, and more than anything, I think the players and the leadership was the main reason I wanted to come,” Wilson said. “There’s no better place to play than at Camp Randall. It’s an awesome atmosphere.”
Russell Wilson on Dan Patrick Show