November 4, 2011
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Everett Withers Is Waving The Flagship
Now, say what you will about the ill-considered focus on academics. Admittedly there’s just a slight tinge of irony attached to the phrase “educational environment,” what with that NCAA stuff and the tutor/nanny deal, but give Withers an ‘A’ for effort. (Lord knows Julius Nyang’oro would. Hey-o!) He’s provided bulletin board material while denying doing so; he’s giving us a wink while shaking his head. I mean, come on, if you throw in “the flagship,” you’re trolling and you know it.
And that’s fine. I’d rather we traded barbs than go back and forth about how we care too much and it’s our Super Bowl and and how this is all a one-sided affair from an emotional standpoint, which is far more disingenuous and ridiculous than anything we’ve heard this week.
Akula Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
Tom O’Brien: ‘It’s A Little Tougher Here’
Oh snap, son, I believe someone just got told. This is awesome because hardly anyone’s been getting told lately, and that’s just a shame all around. We need to bring both of these guys back for the rematch next year; I don’t see any conscionable way they could be let go after this week’s entertaining hijinks.
Also, I’m not sure on this, but I think we may have a first: a college football coach providing bulletin board material for an academic department. Right now there are four African American Studies professors printing out those comments about syllabuses and taping them up in their classrooms. They’re beefing up their respective syllabuses to make them more informative and colorful than ever. You better believe there’s gonna be some goddamned jpegs on that shit too. That’ll show him who’s got syllabuses. Yes, the copying machines are working overtime today.
Anna Riley (technicianonline.com)
Ram Roasters protect tunnel
Hundreds of students surrounded the Free Expression Tunnel Thursday night in honor of the traditional N.C. State Ram Roast.
The 2011 Ram Roast was kicked off by a pep rally to prepare for Saturday’s football game against UNC Chapel Hill. Throughout the night, students were provided with hours of entertainment that included a flash mob, acapella group performances and a tailgating triathlon.
For years, students and alumni have famously set up a “Ram Roast” to celebrate the upcoming football game against UNC, and enlist people to guard the tunnel from Tarheels who come to cover it with blue paint.
Rishav Dey (technicianonline.com)
More than pride at stake
Redshirt senior Mikel Overgaard admitted that he could feel the rivalry since the very first day he came to N.C. State and is expecting Saturday to produce a challenging game.
“The minute I set foot on campus I knew how deep this rivalry goes between Carolina and State,” Overgaard said. “They are a big athletic group. Just seeing the competition between the two teams, you know it’s going to be another challenge this week.”
Overgaard, also a member of the much maligned offensive line, also claimed the team has moved past their embarrassing loss last week against Florida State and takes full responsibility for the numerous hits quarterback Mike Glennon, who got sacked twice and threw for just 130 yards in the game, has taken this season.
“I don’t really want to talk about that. We’ve decided to move past that, put that game behind us. We’re going to get ready for this upcoming week,” Overgaard said. “When he takes a hit, that reflects on us and we want to prevent that as much as possible.”
Josh Hyatt (technicianonline.com)
Coaches’ verbal battle feeds fuel to rivalry fire
The State coaching staff wasn’t the only group offended by Withers’ statements. Students all over campus took to social media to voice their opinions about the coach’s statement on the Raleigh airwaves.
Two students, in particular, showed their objection in a unique way. Sophomore in communications Luke Nadkarni and freshman engineer Nolan Evans showed their support for O’Brien by going to Withers Hall and taping a sign over it, which read “O’Brien Hall.”
Withers’ statements also made a bitter impression upon Student Body President Chandler Thompson.
“I think Wither’s comments were in poor taste,” Thompson said, “and I think that’s the reason I heard [a rumor] through the news that the chancellor of UNC called to apologize with Chancellor Woodson. I think, like Tom O’Brien said, Debbie Yow and all of our athletics directors are committed to improving graduation rates. It wasn’t an accurate comment.”
KEN TYSIAC (N&O)
UNC, NCSU rivalry boils as game nears
Even by the standards of the often-heated rivalry between UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State, Thursday was an eye-popper.
N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien became so angry that he was shaking after hearing UNC interim coach Everett Withers’ comments about N.C. State’s academics, responding that UNC had committed a “triple play” of NCAA violations.
UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor Holden Thorp and N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson exchanged apologies.
And Withers tried to explain his original remarks. He said Thursday he was merely trying to express his pride in UNC and wasn’t talking about N.C. State when he compared graduation rates and said there’s a “difference” in the schools’ academic environments during a taped interview that aired Wednesday.
JP GIGLIO (N&O)
UNC-N.C. State more evenly matched
Maybe the disconnect between the fan bases and coaching staffs at North Carolina and N.C. State has never been further apart, but on the football field, the series has rarely been closer in its 100-game history.
Starting with Mack Brown’s final win in the rivalry for Carolina in 1997, each team has won seven games. The Tar Heels hold a 63-31 victory edge in the rivalry (with sixties) and there is only one other significant span since 1894 when the two teams have been this close.
In 26 games from 1955 to 1980, each team won 13 games, with 16 decided by eight points or less.
Eight of the past 14 games have been decided by eight points or less and three of the past four by a total of nine points.
Coach Tom O’Brien’s four-game winning streak has closed the gap for the Wolfpack in the rivalry’s standings. In ACC play, which began in 1953, UNC’s advantage is 32-26 (which means UNC was up 31-5-6 before ACC play).
SCOTT FOWLER (N&O)
Withers takes rivalry to brink
O’Brien said Thursday his school’s academic progress had “bottomed out” but is “heading back up to where it should be.” He also fired this shot: “At our school, A number one, all classes have a syllabus… Our guys go to school. They’re not given grades, and they graduate. It’s a little tougher here, if you have to go to school and you’re expected to have a syllabus and go to class. So I think all our guys earn everything they get here.”
Read O’Brien’s words and you can feel the fury behind them. This was never a fight Withers should have picked.
Withers said Thursday he was only trying to express his pride in North Carolina with his original comments, but by then it was too late – the eggs could not be unscrambled.
North Carolina has for years claimed the academic high ground. But that reputation has been tarnished in a number of ways – academic exceptions, the plagiarism of Michael McAdoo, the actions of former university tutor Jennifer Wiley – and was a primary reason Davis got fired.
It’s fine for Withers to embrace the importance of this rivalry. But in this case it’s Withers’ judgment – not the academic environment at N.C. State – that is most called into question and is most found wanting.
KEN TYSIAC (N&O)
O’Brien responds angrily to Withers’ comments
A visibly furious N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien reacted angrily this morning to comments made about N.C. State by North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers.
During a taped segment with Joe Ovies on 99.9 The Fan that aired Wednesday, Withers took jabs at N.C. State’s academics and said recruits in the state need to know that UNC is the flagship university.
O’Brien responded by referring to UNC officials’ trip to Indianapolis last Friday to appear in front of the Committee on Infractions to answer charges of nine major violations in an ongoing NCAA investigation of impermissible benefits and academic fraud
“Here is a guy that’s on a football staff that ends up in Indianapolis,” O’Brien said at his regularly scheduled post-practice media availability. “. . .If you take three things that you can’t do in college football, you have an agent on your staff. You’re paying your players. And you have academic fraud. That’s a triple play as far as the NCAA goes. So I don’t know that he has anything to talk about or they have anything to talk about. If that’s what people want in their flagship university in North Carolina, then so be it.”
O’Brien, Withers Trading Jabs For Rivalry Game
Thursday Football Notebook
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Tom O’Brien responds to Withers
“I would say this,” O’Brien began. “Graduation rates certainly aren’t where we want them to be, and it’s an ongoing process. Graduate rates are like the Titanic. It’s tough to turn around because it’s a six-year average. You’re talking about how many years ago? I know that we’ve turned ours around. Our APR has bottomed out. It’s heading back up to where it should be. Certainly my record at Boston College and 15 years as a head coach stands on its own. I don’t know where that’s coming from.
“Let me say this about our academics. Our academic support people were the first ones to be certified to the academic advisory board. Our people are doing a great job. At our school, A, No. 1, all classes have a syllabus. Our guys go to school, they’re not given grades, and they graduate. It’s a little tougher here if you have to go to school, and you’re expected to have a syllabus and you’re expected to go to class.”
ACC media relations (TheWolfpacker.com)
Tom O’Brien on ACC Teleconference
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Rashard Smith appreciates coaches’ trust
Redshirt sophomore Rashard Smith started the summer battling for a position on the two-deep at cornerback. Then his classmate, Jarvis Byrd, tore his ACL shortly before preseason camp, opening up a battle for the starting job.
Redshirt junior C.J. Wilson though won the position in camp, and next thing Smith knew he was playing receiver. He caught a six-yard pass against Liberty in the season opener Sept. 3. A week later, Smith was playing both ways.
That continued for four straight games, although Smith did not record a catch or defensive stat in that span.
Then against Central Michigan, a struggling Wilson was benched, and Smith saw 41 snaps, all at corner. Smith had played 40 snaps in the previous five games combined on offense and defense. He made five tackles, and in the next contest at Virginia, Smith was starting.
Smith responded with four tackles and a pass breakup at UVA. He had five hits, including one for a loss, at Florida State. All of his tackles in the past two contests have been solo efforts.
Tar Heel Fan (Tarheelfanblog.com)
O’Brien Fires Back; Chancellors Break Up The Party
Whatever O’Brien has been saying on the recruiting trail to prospects came out today in a public setting. Either that or he spent the better part of last night coming up with a clever turn of phrase in the “triple play” line. Of course everyone knows John Blake was not an agent nor did UNC actually pay any players. Why should the facts get in the way when you have cruise missiles locked in? Anyway, it should be noted that all Withers did was reference something(graduation rates) that is factually true and referring to UNC as the flagship university which wouldn’t be a first. Obviously these remarks were too much for O’Brien to pass on without breaking out very specific shots at UNC’s situation which, by the way, has very little to do with current members of Tar Heel football team.
So to review, Withers says something that is true but at a time where the credibility of academics for the UNC football program is, shall we say, a bit strained. O’Brien took exception to this and decided to issue a very detailed response hitting all of the Pack Pride talking points which such precision you would swear he has an account there. Of course no one seems to want to talk about the fact O’Brien has been poking the bear for years now with his “best program in the state” comment or claiming following last year’s game his players never lose control like UNC players do. O’Brien has never been afraid to take a shot at UNC yet when Withers does it(again on something factual) the Wolfpack coach gets bent out of shape. That is what we call being able to dish it out but not take it.
Riddick & Reynolds
R&R Podcast: Episode 25 — Rivalry Week Edition
With TOB and Everett Withers shooting across a proverbial field at each other like the Hatfields and the McCoys, this week has been one of the best leading up to a State/Carolina game I can recall in quite sometime.
After all, when Butch Davis seemingly made it his mission in life to downplay the rivalry at every turn, it kind of took some of the steam out of things. Withers, in his stead, may not be around long after this season’s over but he’s certainly making the most of his first trip to the rodeo as UNC’s head coach.
We asked Chuck Amato and InTheBleachers.net’s Michael Felder about their thoughts on Withers’ comments Wednesday night, and both of their segments are worth the listen.
Catching Up With Tom O’Brien, Nov. 3
Morgan Patrick, the super sub on David Glenn’s afternoon radio show, recently caught up with N.C. State football coach Tom O’Brien to talk about the Wolfpack.
Among the topics they discussed: If it was difficult for O’Brien’s team to move past its loss to Florida State; if the game against UNC stands out on the Wolfpack’s schedule; if O’Brien and his office get extra texts and emails for tickets before the UNC game; and if beating UNC is more or less important than getting to seven wins for the season.
David Glenn Chats With Lorenzo Brown, Nov. 1
David Glenn spent a lot of time at ACC Operation Basketball talking to a lot of players and coaches on his afternoon radio show. We’ll be posting those interviews throughout the next week or so.
Today we have Glenn’s conversation with N.C. State guard Lorenzo Brown.
Among the topics they discussed: what Brown knows about coach Mark Gottfried today that he didn’t know when Gottfried was hired; how smooth Brown’s transition to point guard has been going; who defends Brown the toughest; and if Brown is also calling C.J. Leslie what Gottfried is calling the sophomore for now: “Calvin”.
Head coaches add fuel to the UNC-NC State rivalry
Head coaches Everett Withers and Tom O’Brien have added fuel to the UNC-NC State football rivalry with some verbal jabs this week.