NC STATE FOOTBALL
CFN’s Take: NC State vs. Miami
Why NC State Might Win: As impressive as the win was last week, it can’t erase the fact that Miami remains a raw and very erratic program. The defense has been particularly shoddy, a situation complicated by an injury to starting LB Denzel Perryman and an inability to pressure the pocket. Now, the Pack offensive line is hardly a fortress, but it should be able to afford QB Mike Glennon the time he needs to find one of his favorite receivers, Quintin Payton, Bryan Underwood or Tobais Palmer. ‘Canes QB Stephen Morris will labor to build on last week’s breakout performance if his young receivers can’t shake CB David Amerson and the rest of the veteran NC State secondary.
What To Watch Out For: Miami needs someone other than sophomore DE Anthony Chickillo to mount pressure, or else Glennon will have his way with the defensive backs. In a chess match of weaknesses, the Hurricanes have just two sacks in three games versus teams not named Bethune-Cookman, yet NC State ranks 113th nationally in pass protection. Something has to give this weekend. Golden is holding out hope that one of the interior linemen, Darius Smith or Olsen Pierre, can perforate the mealy Pack line from the inside.
What Will Happen: It’s anybody’s guess which Miami team shows up this weekend. Or which NC State team for that matter. Neither team’s calling card has been consistency in the month of September. The Pack has the more reliable quarterback. The ‘Canes have an edge at running back, especially if rookie Shadrach Thornton needs to shoulder the load for NC State. Miami will sneak by in a close game, looking more battle-tested than a pack team that hasn’t faced a quality opponent in four weeks.
CFN Prediction: Miami 28… NC State 24
Jack Daly (N&O)
For Pack’s Payton, it’s his time to shine
Now it’s Payton’s turn. While he bided his time during his first three seasons (he redshirted his first year), Payton studied receivers such as Smith, Graham and Jarvis Williams and tried to deliver when called upon. In all, he made a total of 11 catches for 145 yards during his freshman and sophomore years.
After seeing first-team action in spring practice, he knew coming into this season that he’d have increased opportunities.
“I was ready to get the season started,” Payton said. “Being named a starter, I was really excited to play my role and see how things went. I felt like I was ready. I felt like I was more experienced this year than I had ever been. I worked the hardest this summer and in camp to be prepared to start the season and play a different role for the team.”
As much as he had prepared for that new role, it wasn’t until Payton made those catches against Tennessee that he showed that he could do it.
His coaches believe that did wonders for his confidence.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Did Thornton’s emergence provide clarity to State’s RB situation or just create an even bigger logjam?
Although O’Brien doesn’t give out much information when it comes to injuries, Creecy’s name back at the top of the depth chart released Monday suggests that he’ll be healthy enough to play.
So where does that leave Thornton? Better yet, where does it leave Creecy, Washington and especially the enigmatic Greene? They’re questions that leave you wondering whether Thornton’s impressive debut helped clarify the Wolfpack’s running back situation or simply turned it into an even more unsettled mess?
As coaches are wont to do when it comes to breakout performances, O’Brien did his best to temper the enthusiasm over his unexpected new star Saturday by warning fans and the media not to give him the Heisman Trophy just yet. He pointed out that there are other aspects to playing his position then just taking handoffs and finding the holes.
But Monday, after dissecting Thornton’s performance on tape, even O’Brien admitted that the kid’s performance was pretty impressive. He also said Thornton would get another opportunity to show what he could do Saturday.
Program Spotlight: James Washington
Senior running back James Washington is a game-changer. He’s dynamic. He has a skill set that gives opposing coaches nightmares when they’re developing a game-plan.
The versatile ball-carrier lead the Wolfpack with 897 rushing yards in 2011, and he also ranked second on the team in receptions with 42.
“I can do a lot of things when I’m in the game,” Washington said. “I can come out of the backfield and be a receiver and catch balls, or I can take handoffs, or stay back there and help with [pass] protection.
“It’s good to be able to do a lot of things so you’re not limited to just one category. You can be in the game and the defense can’t just key-in on one thing.”
A dynamic player like Washington keeps a defense on its toes because could-be-tacklers are unsure of what he’s going to do on a specific play.
“I’m a Jack-of-All-Trades,” Washington stated. “I feel like I’m good at just about anything they (the coaches) have me do, but there’s always room for improvement. I plan on improving as the season goes.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
Suspension served, C.J. Wilson ready to return for Wolfpack
For the past four weeks, C.J. Wilson has been doing everything he can to help get his N.C. State teammates ready to win football games. Saturday at Miami, the veteran cornerback will finally get the chance to make a more direct contribution.
“I think he’s real excited for the opportunity to get out on the field,” Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said of Wilson, who has yet to play this season because of an NCAA academic suspension.
“I think he’s done a really good job on the scout field with the young kids on defense, working hard against the offense, giving them a good look and giving them leadership down there. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him and now it’s his time.”
After four straight non-conference games to open the 2012 campaign, the Wolfpack dives into its conference slate with a trip to Miami this weekend. The Pack is quite familiar starting its ACC schedule on the road, as the Pack will be on the visitor’s sideline for the sixth straight season in the first ACC game.
Not all the Pack players are upset about not getting to play in Carter-Finley this weekend, as senior safety Brandan Bishop will enjoy a homecoming down in Miami.
Bishop and his family are from Boca Raton, which lies about an hour away from Miami. While growing up and graduating from Boca Raton High School, Bishop admits his admiration towards this week’s opponent.
“I grew up a Miami fan, and went to quite a few games in the old Orange Bowl,” said Bishop. “I remember going to a lot of games down there. We paid to park in somebody’s backyard, we would be blocked in after the game. It was good times at the old Orange Bowl.”
Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Dana Bible sees progress in offense
“We came out and were focused, so the execution was at a level that gave us a chance to be successful,” Bible said. “We can build on that. The offensive line is growing and moving in the right direction, just like the rest of the offense.
“There are aspects of our offense that we are growing and improving, and that is what you want to be every week. You want to better this week than last week.”
The Hurricanes are youthful on defense, but have shown flashes. Miami held Georgia Tech scoreless in the first quarter, and fourth quarter/overtime en route to a 42-36 victory.
“They are explosive on defense,” Bible said. “Sometimes when you play a young defense there can be some inconsistencies. Sometimes they might not be quite as verse as what is coming down the pike at them, but I’ll tell you what, Miami is a quick study.”
Bible also praised Miami senior cornerback Brandon McGee, who has 18 tackles and an interception this season.
“No. 21 is really a fine player at corner,” Bible said. “It’s Miami, and with that goes a certain level of talent and certain level of player.”
Miami’s defense has seen different offensive looks from Boston College on Sept. 1, Kansas State on Sept. 8 and Georgia Tech last weekend. NC State’s offense resembles the Eagles more than the Wildcats and option-based Yellow Jackets.
The three FBS opponents averaged 40 points per game against Miami.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Tyson Chandler making strides on the blind side
There was no easing into first-team duty for Chandler – he was immediately tasked with trying to block UConn’s Trevardo Williams, an All-Big East honoree who finished last year with 13 sacks and has tallied six through four games this year. Williams is one of the best defensive players that the Wolfpack will face this year, and Chandler got to see that up close and personal. However, facing some stellar competition right off the bat like that has made everything thing else seem easy to the native of North Plainfield, N.J.
“I think I’ve improved a lot this year, especially because I played against such a great player [in the first start],” Chandler said. “The next two games, I was able to calm down, listen to the snap count, see the call and see the people shift. The game got 100 times slower.”
Chandler has gotten better each week as his experience grows, and he credits the seniors who surround him on the first-string front for their help. Everybody on the starting offensive line is a fourth or fifth-year senior, except for Chandler.
“It helps a lot, playing next to [fifth-year senior guards] R.J. Mattes or Zach Allen,” he said. “It’s just amazing to play next to them with as much experience and knowledge of the game as they have.”
ACC media relations
O’Brien, Golden preview game during ACC teleconference
QUESTION: When you watch the game film of Miami’s game against Georgia Tech last week, there were some really strange runs in that game. Did you see anything why the Miami offense was so strong early and late and had such trouble in the middle?
O’BRIEN: I think that can happen when you play that type of offense that Georgia Tech has. It has to do with possession time and being on the field and being off the field.
They came out strong, had their opportunities, made plays. But then you knew that Georgia Tech was going to come back, which they did. Certainly we went through the thing last week with playing a wishbone team in the Citadel. The Citadel was outscoring their opponents 35-7 in the first quarter and 45-7 in the third quarter.
Miami did a great job of catching up to it early. Paul Johnson does a great job of finding formations, finding ways to make sure the count works for him. That’s what I accredit the Georgia Tech comeback there in the middle.
Then Miami caught up to the offense, kind of even there at the end, was able to make the play in overtime, if that makes sense.
QUESTION: You mentioned controlling the ball and everything. You have had one of the best third-down defenses in the league. That’s obviously important for getting off the field. What is the core of that, the secret of that?
O’BRIEN: Well, I think both Mike Archer and Jon (Tenuta) do a great job of finding ways to put pressure on the quarterback. That’s been our success in the past, it’s certainly our success here, is getting in to the quarterback, getting to him, creating havoc, then do a pretty good job of matching routes on the back end.
QUESTION: Have you had to take any steps or have you taken any steps in making your home stadium a more difficult place for opponents, a more intimidating venue?
GOLDEN: Have we? I think we’ve got to get back to being the type of team that Floridians and the Miami faithful are accustomed to being and get back to that standard. Once we do that, the rest will take care of itself.
We have a great stadium. They’ve played the World Series there. They’ve played Super Bowls there. They’ve played National Championships there. The stadium is not the problem. We’ve got to take care of our business. We can’t make any excuses. Clearly we had a big win last week, but that’s over. Now we have to take on another team and we have to learn how to do that week-in and week-out. That is the challenge for our team, to be honest with you, not the stadium. The fans will come out.
We put a great product out there. We have played meaningful games. The way you make them meaningful is you win, right? We’ve got to handle that. I’ve got to do that, and our staff and players have to do that.
QUESTION: But as a coach, do you feel that’s part of your job to make that a more intimidating place, and you do that by wining?
GOLDEN: I don’t think there is any question. Here, again, that’s why I wanted to come here. The standard is high. You’ve got a tremendous — maybe the best talent pool to choose from in the country. You’ve got a top 40 institution, a small private school. The best, really dichotomy that you could possibly have in terms of a college town in Coral Gables but access to a world class city.
So we’ve got to get back to producing the type of team that’s our fans are accustomed to. And the rest will take care of itself. It’s a great place to play. It’s not the place’s fault. We have to get back to taking care of business.
Ben Swain (accsports.com)
ACCross The Web, September 26
The ACC game of the century certainly did not disappoint. Eighty-six combined points, over 1000 combined yards of total offense, and more playmakers on the field than we’ve seen in some time in ACC play. How good is EJ Manuel? He’s so good he doesn’t even want the Heisman. That’s for show dogs, and he’s a huntin’ dog. Chris Thompson with nearly 200 all purpose yards, James Wilder, Jr. making big-boy plays, Sammy Watkins throwing touchdown passes … so much more exciting than watching, I don’t know, like a 12-7 snooze-fest you might see from certain other conferences. While the win certainly hoists the Noles up a few spots on the “backness” scale, it’s what happens next that makes the next few weeks an intriguing time for the ACC as a whole.
Starting with FSU, a choke job against South Florida this weekend in Tampa would toss everyone from the bandwagon before they’ve even had a chance to grab on to the safety rail. The following weekend, the Seminoles head to Carter-Finley to take on the Wolfpack in another primetime matchup in what could be a very dangerous game. N.C. State is a place you do not want to play in primetime … just ask Miami. Okay, bad example.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Fireworks, shooting contests, cheerleaders, mascots, a house DJ and basketball will all come together for Primetime With The Pack, the official tip-off event of the 2012-13 NC State men’s basketball season on Friday, Oct. 12, at PNC Arena. Admission and parking is free to the public with doors opening at 6 p.m., and the festivities beginning at 7 p.m.
Wolfpack fans will be introduced to this year’s squad and coaching staff via a grand entrance of fireworks, spotlights and house music.
The event will be one of seven to be broadcast live in its entirety on ESPN3 with Sam Gore and former college coach Bruce Pearl providing on-site analysis of the action. Highlights of the evening’s activities will be also featured as part of ESPNU’s four hours of midnight madness whip-around coverage.
“Primetime With The Pack’ will be an exciting way for our program to celebrate the start of the upcoming season with our fans,” head coach Mark Gottfried said. “With ESPN3 and ESPNU’s coverage of the event, we can take the excitement of Wolfpack basketball to our fans, not only on a national level, but on a global one as well.”
Jason Jordan (USAToday)
Thin line between love and hate for NC State’s top hoops recruit
Barber, a senior point guard at Hampton (Hampton, Va.), could relate to the disappointment. He’s unabashed about the fact that, growing up, his allegiance was firm with Duke and often referred to the Blue Devils as his “dream school.”
“They recruited me a little bit,” said Barber, who is ranked No. 9 in the Rivals150. “I was excited at first, but they never actually offered so I moved on too. I ended up falling in love with N.C. State.”
“I knew that once I committed to State, I had to pretty much hate Duke,” Barber said. “I’m all for that. Truth is, even if they would’ve offered I would’ve picked State. Duke doesn’t play like I do. I play fast. I can’t wait to play against them in college. For now, I’m a fan of N.C. State and that’s it.”
Former Wolfpack tight end Mark Thomas visits with Quarterback Mike Glennon to discuss how he reads defenses before the ball is snapped.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Podcast: Behind enemy lines – Miami
Gary Ferman, publisher of CaneSport.com, joins The Wolfpacker Podcast to break down Saturday’s Miami-NC State game from a Hurricanes’ perspective.
The Audible: Cam Newton has some maturing to do
Adam Gold and Joe Ovies discuss the ref lockout end, Cam Newton’s need to mature and NC State taking on Miami in this week’s edition of The Audible presented by Goodnight’s Comedy Club.
Aaron Schoonmaker (WRALSportsfan.com)
Judge: UNC must release more on NCAA probe
Information the University of North Carolina gathered for the NCAA about football players who got money, jewelry and other benefits is public record and should be released, according to an order from Superior Court Judge Howard E. Manning.
Wednesday’s ruling is the latest in a series of back-and-forth as WRAL News and other media outlets seek detail in the investigation that led to 14 Tar Heel players sitting out some or all of the 2010 college football season.
At the heart of Wednesday’s ruling are the “Statements of Fact” that UNC sent to the NCAA about each player. Manning ruled that, while information about a player’s academic performance would remain sealed, facts about impermissible benefits that led to a player’s being ruled ineligible should be released.
Manning wrote, “UNC is to produce in its original form each Statement of Facts related to any football player involved in the NCAA investigation at issue that is based on allegations of impermissible benefits (non-academic issues) received by the football player and which resulted in a decision by the NCAA to declare the student athlete ineligible to play intercollegiate football at UNC as a result.”
J. Andrew Curliss (N&O)
Thorp: UNC’s standards for athletes will rise
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp said Wednesday the university is planning to strike a new – and possibly ground-breaking – balance between athletics and academics at one of the nation’s leading public universities.
Among the coming changes: tougher admissions requirements for athletes. Thorp also said in an interview with News & Observer reporters and editors that faculty members will have more oversight of classes that athletes take once they are on campus.
The chancellor said the changes coming to Chapel Hill will be “national news” when they are captured in a report expected to be released in the spring.
“Academics are going to have to come first,” Thorp said. “And it’s clear that they haven’t to the extent that they should.”
Thorp said bringing about change that ensures “academics first” will be so difficult that it was a factor in his decision, announced last week, to resign as chancellor in June and return to the faculty.
Among the biggest changes would be tougher admission standards, including limits on instances where athletes are granted exceptions to normal UNC-Chapel Hill standards in order to be admitted.
In the past five years, 53 football players have been admitted to UNC-Chapel Hill under that process, according to university records.
The university could not immediately say Wednesday how many basketball players were also admissions exceptions, citing rules that prevent revealing a player’s identity. Admissions officials said providing the number of basketball exceptions could reveal player identities because each year’s class size of basketball recruits is relatively small.