NC STATE FOOTBALL
Why NC State Might Win: The Citadel is a different animal, but the Pack D has played well since Week 1, allowing just seven points in each of the last two games.
The Bulldogs’ bigger concern will be containing an ACC offense. They don’t get much of a push at the line, which won’t change in Raleigh. Mike Glennon will have the time he needs to locate Quintin Payton and Bryan Underwood on patterns, and Tony Creecy might finally be able to get the necrotic running game back on track.
What Will Happen: For NC State, this is not the ordinary FCS scrimmage prior to the start of league play. No, The Citadel is a threat to walk out of Carter-Finley Stadium 4-0.
The Pack isn’t playing with enough offensive execution to jet past the Bulldogs. Plus, the visitor’s ball-control mindset will limit State’s touches. The Pack will survive on the strength of Glennon’s arm and leadership, but it won’t happen without plenty of tense moments for the home crowd.
CFN Prediction: NC State 30 … The Citadel 24
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Q&A: Tom O’Brien talks Citadel, agent rumors
What have been your thoughts on how the defensive tackles have progressed during the first three games and how important are they to this game?
They’ll be huge in this game. The thing with them is they’re lost in the shuffle in the middle, but they better tackle the fullback because that’s where all this [offense] starts. They’re primarily responsible in there, they have to keep linemen off the middle linebacker because it’s key that the middle linebacker can run to play defense against these guys.
As I said, the whole thing starts with the fullback. They may get one, they may get two, they may get three and, all of the sudden, they pop a 30 [yard gain] because [the defense] forgets what they’re doing. The defensive tackles are the first part of the defense against the wishbone, it starts at the tackle position.
What kind of progressions have left tackle Tyson Chandler made in his two starts?
He got a lot better from week one to week two. Hopefully, we can make as many strides from week two to week three. It’s a tough position, left tackle. We went into the first game, thinking we would get him some help, but they ended up in situations where they isolated him and we couldn’t get him some help.
He did much better last week, he didn’t get out of his stance one time – he didn’t hear the snap count. We got to get him in tune and moving, doing everything there, but I think he’s making good strides.
One of the major talking points this week has been the Citadel offense, but can you break down their defense?
We’ve seen them against two option teams, so we’ve only seen them against Appalachian State. The coordinator is new this year, last year’s coordinator went to Tennessee.
They kind of remind us, structurally, of the way Boston College plays defense – that type of front, that type of coverage. They have a field linebacker, they play with two guys in the box, so I think that’s the style of defense that we think we’re looking at.
Thursday Football Notebook
NC STATE VS. THE CITADEL
The Wolfpack of NC State should face a formidable FCS opponent when The Citadel comes to Raleigh on Saturday, fresh off a road upset of seventh-ranked Appalachian State. The previous week, the Bulldogs upset Georgia Southern, the team that was ranked third in the FCS polls.
The Bulldogs rushed for 463 yards in the win at Boone, and their triple option offense is averaging 466 yards per game.
The Wolfpack has faced the Bulldogs four times, but the teams haven’t met on the gridiron since 1983, when State shut out the visiting Bulldogs, 45-0. The other three meetings took place in 1940 (a 20-14 Pack win), 1938 (a 14-6 Pack win) and in 1937 (a 26-14 Pack win). The 1938 contest was played in Wilmington.
Omega Wolf (BackingthePack.com)
TOB vs. PJ: How Have Tom O’Brien’s Teams Fared Against the Triple Option?
Detailed below are 5 notable games pitting a (more or less) TOB-coached squad against an opponent that runs the triple option. TOB was 4-1 in those games, but his teams only significantly slowed the option attack twice in those 5 games. Two of the contests yielded an average rushing day for the opponent, and in one case TOB was lucky to avoid an upset after the Naval Acamdemy’s option attack significantly over-performed but was undone by 5 lost fumbles.
2010: N. C. State 45, Ga. Tech 28
TOB could not avoid PJ any more after Johnson left Navy and joined the ACC, but Russell Wilson went all Russell Wilson on the Yellow Jackets, throwing for 368 yards and 3 scores in the Pack’s 45-28 win. Georgia Tech managed 5.1 yards per carry, but “only” 247 yards on the ground total as it was forced to take to the air in an effort to play catch up. Tech averaged 320+ yards and 5.6 yards per carry on the season.
The key in TOB’s wins over option-running teams has not been shutting down the option, but rather winning by putting up big numbers on the scoreboard. TOB squads averaged 37.8 points per game in the games detailed above. It may not take 30+ points for the Pack to avoid the upset on Saturday, but if the Pack cannot dominate the trenches and finally get some nastiness and cohesion from its offensive line, this one will be far too close for comfort.
The Citadel is looking to build on its first 3-0 start since 1992 while NC State enters at 2-1 with wins over UConn and South Alabama the past two weeks following an opening loss to Tennessee.
The Bulldogs are riding the momentum of consecutive wins over Top 10 teams, beginning with a 23-21 victory over then No. 3 Georgia Southern at Johnson Hagood Stadium and following that up with a resounding 52-28 win over then No. 8 Appalachian State in Boone. The Citadel had not beaten two Top 10 teams in the same season since 1991.
The three-game winning streak to open the season has The Citadel ranked among the nation’s elite for the first time in four years. The Bulldogs head into the weekend standing at No. 10 in The Sports Network poll and No. 14 in the FCS Coaches poll. The Bulldogs are in the Top 10 in any poll for the first time since finishing the 1992 regular season ranked as the top team in the country.
The Citadel will be looking to defeat an FBS opponent for the first time since beating Arkansas (10-3) and Army (15-14) during its 1992 Southern Conference championship season. Those wins came during a run from 1988-92 when the Bulldogs won six of seven games against teams from the highest classification. Since then, however, The Citadel has dropped 23 straight to FBS teams.
A year ago the Bulldogs gave South Carolina all it could handle, going into halftime behind only 20-13 before the Gamecocks pulled away for a 41-20 victory. In Kevin Higgins’ third season as head coach in 2007, The Citadel battled Big Ten power Wisconsin to a 21-21 halftime tie before the Badgers pulled out a narrow 14-point victory.
Shawn Krest (CBSSports.com)
Preview: The Citadel Bulldogs at North Carolina State Wolfpack
Watchability: NC State coach Tom O’Brien fielded just one question on the weekly ACC coaches teleconference and was finished about three minutes into his scheduled 10-minute session. This is a game for parents, girlfriends and diehards.
Magic number for NC State: 0. The Wolfpack allowed no third- or fourth-down conversions to South Alabama last week. The Jaguars were 0-11 on third and 0-1 on fourth. For the season, NC State opponents are 2-23 on third down and 0-3 on fourth.
The game comes down to: A final chance for NC State to work out the kinks on offense before its ACC season starts. The team’s run defense will be tested against The Citadel’s triple option attack, which is similar to Georgia Tech.
Prediction: NC State 33, The Citadel 3
Jeff Hartsell (The Post and Courier)
N.C. State wary of The Citadel’s option offense
Now that the North Carolina State coach has seen the Bulldogs’ option in action, he sounds even more worried.
They will certainly come here thinking they can whoop us,” said O’Brien, whose 2-1 Wolfpack host The Citadel (3-0) on Saturday.
The Citadel, ranked No. 10 in FCS by The Sports Network, has run up big numbers in wins over Charleston Southern and top 10 FCS squads Georgia Southern and Appalachian State.
The Bulldogs rank third in the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing offense (370 yards per game), ninth in scoring offense (41.3 ppg) and 10th in total offense (466 yards per game).
Junior quarterback Ben Dupree has rushed for 349 yards and four touchdowns in three games, including 180 yards and two scores in last week’s 52-28 win at Appalachian State.
“The Citadel is playing with a great amount of confidence,” said O’Brien, whose own squad has beaten Connecticut and South Alabama after an opening loss to Tennessee. “Their quarterback is extremely dangerous. He can run around you, by you, through you or past you.
“And when you have to defend that, sooner or later the ball is going to go flying over your head. That’s what they do.”
By his own admission, Eric Leak has broken the terms of the disassociation letter N.C. State sent him in November after Leak provided impermissible benefits to two Wolfpack basketball players.
Leak, a former N.C. State football player, said Thursday that he has talked with N.C. State cornerback David Amerson but denied a report on an agent blog that claimed he was working on Amerson’s behalf to find Amerson an agent.
“Absolutely not true, 1 million percent, no way,” Leak said about his involvement with Amerson.
Leak said in November, and reiterated Thursday, that he is not an agent and does not work for one. He said he has had casual conversations with Amerson, who is considered a first-round NFL prospect, but nothing more than “good game” small talk, he said.
Still, that represents a violation of the terms of the disassociation letter N.C. State sent to Leak on Nov. 23 after the NCAA found he provided C.J. Leslie and Tracy Smith with impermissible benefits. Leslie, a top NBA prospect, was suspended three games last season for accepting $410 worth of benefits from Leak.
In the letter, Leak is prohibited from “any contact” with student-athletes “for any purpose during the period of disassociation,” which is 10 years.
There is no NCAA recourse for N.C. State for Leak breaking the terms of the disassociation letter.
Under NCAA rules, Amerson is allowed to talk with agents but he’s not allowed to accept any money or gifts. Amerson talking to Leak does not represent an NCAA violation.
James Henderson (PackPride.com)
State To Report Leak’s Contact With Amerson
According to NC State official Chris Kingston, the Wolfpack plans to report Eric Leak’s contact with David Amerson to the Secretary of State because it violates the disassociation letter that was sent to Leak last November.
“David Amerson talked to Eric Leak in June of 2012,” Kingston said in an email sent to Pack Pride. “It is NOT a NCAA violation for David Amerson to talk to Eric Leak.
“Per his disassociation letter, Eric Leak was notified by NC State that he is not to have contact with our current and future student-athletes in all sports for any purpose during the period of disassociation.
“This ban extends to all forms of in-person contact and all known or future methods of communication. It appears that Eric Leak is in violation of this letter.”
Joe Giglio (N&O)
ACC Showdown could lead to even bigger moments
For one Saturday night, the ACC will be the center of the college football universe.
ESPN is bringing its “GameDay” crew to Florida State, for the No. 4 Seminoles matchup with No. 10 Clemson on Saturday, and ABC is rolling out the red carpet with the 8 p.m. primetime slot.
Even the ACC coaches, besides the two involved in the game, understand the opportunity at hand for the conference.
“I think this is going to really highlight our conference,” Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. “I think that this might be the year that we’ve got a team that can make a run at the whole thing.”
The “whole thing” would be the Bowl Championship Series title, which an ACC team hasn’t played for since 2000 and hasn’t won since 1999.
Luke Decock (N&O)
College coaches, players flipping lid over new helmet rule
Both players and coaches say they understand the player-safety implications of a player blocking and tackling without a helmet, and there are no complaints over the intent of the rule, which is to prevent concussions and other serious head injuries.
It’s the one-play banishment that has raised objections over the implementation of the rule, particularly when the penalty paid can be as stiff as losing a quarterback or pass-rushing defensive end for a vitally important play, or even losing a game on a 10-second runoff in the final minute.
“I would like to see that revisited after the season. I hope that we do that,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “We shouldn’t be having to take a quarterback out in the last minute of the game. You can’t even take a timeout and get the guy back in. … There are problems with it. It wasn’t very well thought through.”
UNC-CH Board Asks Resigning Chancellor To Stay
The support for Chancellor Holden Thorp to stay on the job at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill increased Wednesday when the school’s governing board passed a resolution asking that he not resign.
The Board of Trustees unanimously passed the resolution saying it “believes Carolina is better today because of him and emphatically requests that Chancellor Thorp reconsider his decision because we think it is in the best interest of the university.”
Thorp’s reaction wasn’t immediately known. University officials said he was on a plane Wednesday evening.
Thorp announced his resignation Monday after struggling with scandals that have spread in the past two years from football players accepting gifts, to no-show classes and instructors who didn’t teach, to fundraisers traveling for personal reasons using donated money.
The resolution in support of Thorp, 48, was the second in as many days. On Tuesday, about 250 faculty members of North Carolina’s flagship public university approved a resolution declaring that Thorp “remains the best person to lead our university through these challenging times.”
Inside Wolfpack Sports
In today’s episode, Don Shea visits with NC State Director of Athletics Deborah Yow.
Brown: It feels great to play like that at home
Giants running back Andre Brown said it was great to come back to his home state and play a game like he did.