NC STATE FOOTBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Pack has another opportunity to bounce back from loss
What goes down, must come up, at least it has for N.C. State’s football team since the start of the 2010 season.
N.C. State’s players talked before this season about getting off the “win-one, lose-one” roller coaster of the past two seasons. After a season-opening loss to Tennessee, the Wolfpack would like stay on the ride, at least until it hits the upswing.
What N.C. State has lacked in consistency the past two seasons, it has made up for with an uncanny ability to respond to a loss, especially the demoralizing variety like the 35-21 decision to the Volunteers. Since the start of the 2010 season, the Pack is 8-1 after a loss.
That’s a trend the players are banking will continue Saturday when the Wolfpack visits Connecticut.
“We’ve been through adversity and we know how to bounce back and we will,” junior cornerback David Amerson said.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Can Amerson bounce back from his Tennessee disaster?
N.C. State’s rude awakening at the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic on Friday was certainly a team effort. David Amerson’s contribution to that effort just happened to stand out a little more than most.
Coming off a season in which he set an ACC record with 13 interceptions and brimming with confidence expressed for all to see this summer on Twitter, Amerson got knocked down several pegs by a Volunteers offense that burned the All-America cornerback for two long touchdowns.
Now, as he and the Wolfpack prepare to return to action against UConn on Saturday, all eyes will be on Amerson to see how well he bounces back from his opening night disaster. If he does at all.
“That’s a good question,” State coach Tom O’Brien said Wednesday when asked how he thought Amerson might respond to the challenge. “Hopefully he’s going to answer that here in the next couple weeks.
“I think one of the great things about it is if you are a great player, especially as a quarterback or if you are as a corner, you’re going to get beat. But you have to have amnesia and forget about it and come back and play from that point on. So it’s a good lesson for him to learn.”
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Wolfpack stars hope to bounce back
Amerson has noted a “different intensity” in practice this week as the Pack prepares to travel to Connecticut for a noon kickoff Saturday. He also added that State has battled through adversity before, especially last season.
“I’m definitely eager to get back out there, just bounce back, not only for myself but for my teammates,” Amerson stated.
Saturday could be an important game for Amerson and the defense. Connecticut’s defense not only shut out Massachusetts in the Huskies’ season-opening 37-0 win last Thursday, they held the Minutemen to just three first downs and 59 yards of total offense.
Glennon can see why when he examined Connecticut on film.
“They’re very active,” Glennon noted. “They seem like they’ve played a lot of football. They know what they’re doing. They fly around the football.
“They are good at getting after the quarterback. They’re just very active. They all seem to have high motors. It seems like they are everywhere sometimes. They are very well coached, very well disciplined and come after you.”
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Q&A: Tom O’Brien expects improvement
Do you prefer going on the road sometimes to get away from the distractions?
“No, I certainly would rather play at home. We have a great home field advantage. We have a great crowd and our fans are tremendous. I think we have a distinct advantage playing at home. I don’t think, maybe there are more distractions one way or the other, but certainly, once the ball is kicked off, home field advantage is an absolute, especially as far as we are concerned here at State.”
Anything about UConn that concerns you?
“They have only given up 50-some yards and shut out a team and didn’t allow them to cross the 50-yard line on defense. [UConn coach] Paul Pasqualoni has been a defensive guy for a long time, and coordinated in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins before he came back. I’ve known Paul from his days at Syracuse when I was at Boston College. Don Brown is the [defensive] coordinator there [at UConn]. Their defense is very well coached, and they do not make a mistake.
“They have one kid, No. 48 [Trevardo Williams], the defensive end, and he was the 100-meter champ when he was coming out of high school in Connecticut. He gets a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They have senior cornerbacks that play well.
“When you play a team, and they have the success they had, and they had a new quarterback [Chandler Whitmer] in there and they kind of protected him, the junior college kid, who is more conventional. Then they bring in No. 11 [Scott McCummings], who is more of a Wildcat [quarterback], and a whole new different style of offense when he is in the game.
“They make you prepare for a lot while they are on offense. Those are the things that are major concerns, being able to move the football, make first downs and hopefully cross the 50-yard line against that defense.”
West Back into Flow on Defensive Live
Redshirt junior defensive end Forrest West made the tough decision to transfer from Colorado after two seasons to come and play for the Wolfpack. After sitting out last season, West was able to don a Wolfpack uniform this past weekend in the season opener in Atlanta.
“I was a little rusty,” said West. “I really didn’t have a pregame ritual like I usually pick up as the season goes on.
“It was exciting. It was a big game, the fans had high energy. It felt kind of weird, it felt like my first game my freshman year because I have not played in over a year. The first couple of drives, I got right back where I left off (from Colorado).”
West played two seasons with the Buffaloes, including a selection to the Freshman All-Big 12 team in 2009, but decided to join the Pack last summer. Unfortunately, NCAA rules required West to sit out last season.
“The year went by pretty slow, I didn’t have much to look forward to on the weekends,” said West. “I wasn’t allowed to travel because of NCAA rules, so I haven’t been able to feel that game day experience for awhile.”
The Sports Exchange
TSX: Avoiding A Letdown
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Wolfpack will take its second trip in as many weeks when it visits Connecticut on Saturday, marking the first time since 1997 that the team has started a season with two games away from Raleigh. N.C. State will need to show the ability to bounce back to avoid another hole early in the season.
– Even though RB Tony Creecy was dubbed the starter for the opener in a close three-way competition among tailbacks for the Wolfpack, it was RB Mustafa Greene who received the most carries. Greene, a redshirt sophomore who missed all of the 2011 season with a foot injury, carried 11 times for a team-best 53 yards. That was one more carry than Creecy, who also averaged 4.8 yards per attempt.
– By giving up 22 first-quarter points to Tennessee, it was the most allowed by the Wolfpack in a span of 178 games going back to a 1997 loss to Florida State. That was more points than N.C. State surrendered in six of its 2011 games. “It came down to too many big plays we gave up on defense,” coach Tom O’Brien said.
KEEP AN EYE ON: The running back situation is bound to be fluid with this team as three tailbacks have commanded attention. There’s depth at the position as RB James Washington, who started 17 consecutive games entering the season, ended up basically the third-stringer for the opener. He carried the ball five times compared with a total of 21 times for RB Mustafa Greene and RB Tony Creecy. Washington is more skilled as a receiver out the backfield than the other two and so he could be used more in that role.
College Football News
CFN’s Take: NC State vs. UCONN
Why NC State Might Win: At the most important position on the field, quarterback, the Pack will hold a sizable advantage on the Huskies. Mike Glennon is a next-level hurler, with the arm and the know-how to challenge a very good Connecticut secondary. The hosts, on the contrary, employ Chandler Whitmer, who’s in just his second game removed from the junior college ranks. The transfer will struggle to beat a David Amerson-led defensive backfield that’s experienced, talented and eager to bounce back from a difficult opener. With the Huskies forced into a monotone condition, State can concentrate its resources to stopping RB Lyle McCombs.
Why Connecticut Might Win: The Huskies will make a strong case this year for the toughest defense in the Big East. Sure, Massachusetts isn’t NC State, but the Minutemen produced just three first downs and 59 total yards on Thursday night. Connecticut boasts a veteran defense that collapses the pocket with ends Trevardo Williams and Jesse Joseph, and clogs running lanes with linebackers Sio Moore, Yawin Smallwood and Jory Johnson. The D is fundamentally sound, well-coached and unlikely to suffer breakdowns. Glennon is protected by a marginal O-line that’s liable to get schooled on Saturday afternoon.
What Will Happen: A good defense and running game is often the remedy for a deficiency at quarterback. NC State has Glennon, but Connecticut will counter with a D that’s superior to the one visiting Rentschler Field. The Huskies will apply pressure to the backfield and stick to the Pack receivers to gain control of the game. McCombs will take care of the rest, grinding out 85 yards and a score to help guide the Huskies to a close and very important win for the program.
CFN Prediction: Connecticut 23 … NC State 20
Up next for UConn football: N.C. State
NOTES AND NOTIONS: Since 2003, N.C. State’s only wins against teams from BCS conferences have come against schools from the Big East and the ACC. … The Wolfpack fell to 0-4 under O’Brien when opening against teams from the Bowl Subdivision. … O’Brien said Monday the NCAA has suspended cornerback C.J. Wilson for four games because of an academic issue. He also missed the Tennessee game.
Jim Fuller (New Haven Register)
Shorthanded defensive line to be tested this week
UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni said that knee injuries will keep senior defensive end Teddy Jennings and junior defensive tackle Shamar Stephen out of action for Saturday’s game against North Carolina State.
It would be challenging enough to face the Wolfpack with the full complement of defensive linemen but going forward without two of the more underrated linemen on the squad is certainly a cause for concern among the UConn staff.
North Carolina State’s starting offensive line had combined to play 137 games and start 104 of them with 85 of those starts coming from guards Zach Allen and R.J. Mattes and center Camden Wentz.
“This will be by far our biggest challenge,” Pasqualoni said. “It is a very good offensive line, players who have been in big games. We’ll find out where we are this week.”
The airplane had just touched down in Atlanta, Ga., last Friday when Terrell Manning turned on his cell phone. It was blowing up with voice mails and texts.
“You really don’t look forward to a phone call at all,” Manning said. “If they’re calling, it’s probably not good.”
“They” were the Green Bay Packers coaches. It was NFL-mandated cutdown day, where teams had to trim their rosters to 53 players. The rookie linebacker was hesitant to check the phone messages, but he was quickly relieved when he found out he’d made the Packers.
“It was basically like being drafted all over again because you knew you were officially in the NFL,” Manning said.
That was certainly the most memorable moment in Manning’s first NFL training camp. The fifth-round draft pick of Green Bay and former Scotland County High School standout reported to Packers’ camp near the end of July, but quickly became sick.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Sam Singer’s final six includes N.C. State and Davidson
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Singer, who attends Ransom Everglades School, is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com. ESPN.com has him outside its top 100, ranking him the 44th-best shooting guard in the nation and 11th-best player in Florida.