NC STATE FOOTBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Pack’s trip to Miami a game, but no longer a homecoming
“There are great players in North Carolina, but the state of Florida has the numbers,” Amato said during practice for the Gator Bowl in December 2002.
A lot has changed under O’Brien. The Florida connection consists of safety Brandon Bishop (Boca Raton), cornerback Jarvis Byrd (Pahokee), receiver Tyrrell Burriss (Daytona Beach) and Washington. Bishop is the only current starter, although Byrd and Washington have been regulars when healthy.
N.C. State has had more recruiting success in Georgia, with 17 scholarship players, compared to 26 from North Carolina.
“We never really stopped recruiting (Florida),” O’Brien said. “We made a more concerted effort to get into Georgia because we thought it was closer and had as many good athletes.”
Established relationships by assistants, O’Brien said, helps explain the drop in Florida recruits and upswing in Georgia recruits. Two of Amato’s top recruiters, Doc Holliday and Manny Diaz, had deep Florida connections, and Andy McCollum, O’Brien’s top recruiter before he left for Georgia Tech in 2010, built a network in the state of Georgia.
Georgia has been good to O’Brien’s staff, but North Carolina has been better. Seven starters for Saturday’s game are from in-state, compared to five from Georgia.
Thursday Football Notebook
NC STATE VS. MIAMI
Although the University of Miami joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004, The Wolfpack of NC State has faced the Hurricanes on the gridiron just three times since the turn of the century. The Pack has won each of the last two meetings – in overtime at the Orange Bowl in 2007 (19-16) and in Carter-Finley in 2008 (38-28). That 2008 win made State the first team in ACC history to lose its first four ACC games and then come back to win four in a row and become bowl eligible.
Only one current Wolfpack player has ever competed against Miami: senior linebacker and captain Sterling Lucas. Lucas was a true freshman in 2008 when the ‘Canes came to Raleigh. He saw action from scrimmage on 13 snaps and made three tackles.
O’BRIEN GOES COASTAL
Since he took over as head coach of the Wolfpack after the 2006 season, Tom O’Brien and his NC State squad have faced teams from the ACC’s Coastal Division 15 times. In 11 of those 15 contests, the Wolfpack has emerged victorious. That .733 winning mark ranks second among current ACC coaches.
O’Brien has had his most success versus Coastal Division teams on the road, posting a 6-1 mark with the only loss coming at No. 16 Virginia Tech in 2009. He has won at UNC twice, at Georgia Tech, at Miami, at Duke and at Virginia. The Pack has posted a 5-3 mark at home against Coastal opponents since 2007.
INTO THE ACC
NC State and Maryland are the only Atlantic Coast Conference teams who have not played a league game this season, but that ends this weekend as the Wolfpack travels to Miami to face the 3-1 Hurricanes. It will be the third ACC game of the season for Al Golden’s squad.
Tom O’Brien doesn’t know what it feels like to play his first conference game in Carter-Finley Stadium. This will mark the sixth straight year that his squad has played its first league game on the road.
In fact, the last time NC State opened conference play at home, O’Brien was actually on the road! In 2006, he brought his Boston College team into Carter-Finley for State’s first ACC contest (BC’s second). The Wolfpack won that game, 17-15.
NC State is the only ACC team that has opened on the road each of the past six seasons.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Mike Archer: Defense must stop Miami running backs
However, one of the defense’s keys on Saturday is going to be limiting the ground attack once again. Miami boasts true freshman star Duke Johnson, who leads the country with 838 all-purpose yards and averages eight yards per carry, while senior Mike James is a 220 pound grinder who is averaging better than five yards per carry.
“James is older, and he’s bigger,” Archer noted. “He’s a complete back, he’s very physical; he’ll run you over and he’ll run around you. He’ll block you on blitzes and they use him in a lot of different ways.
“Johnson is the real deal. He’s 5-foot-9, 188 [pounds] and he’s hard to find. He’s explosive, and he’s very prominent in the return game. As I told the defense on Tuesday, these two guys are the two best tailbacks we’ve played up to this point, and it’s not even close.”
Both backs will make plays in the passing game, and Johnson is actually tied for the second-best receiving statistics on the squad.
“They’re going to get into some formations when they’re both in there,” the coach said. “They use them as a fullback and tailback tandem. When they’re both in there, they try to get them the football. When you see No. 8 [Johnson] and No. 5 [James] in the game, they’re trying to get the ball in the passing game to one of those two guys.”
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Q&A: Tom O’Brien talks Miami preparations, recruiting
Is it accurate that you were one of the people that suggested or came up with the policy of reporting injuries in the ACC?
Yeah, that’s true. I was at the Fiesta Frolick in the old days, and I was having dinner with Mack Brown. We were talking about injuries and reporting, they had come up with this concept or whatever that football coaches ought to be out of the business of reporting injuries because that’s not our job. It should be the trainers and doctors that do that.
Looking at the model of the NFL, the best way we thought to do it would be to list the guys that were out because, each week, the trainer will come in and say, ‘this guy has a chance, this guy maybe doesn’t have a chance,’ but everybody heals differently, so you don’t know until they get on the practice field. I think it’s up to them [the doctors] to make those decisions – who and why people are out. It’s up to us as coaches to see if we can get them to practice and do what they have to do, so we feel that they can contribute on Saturday. It’s better to release it Thursday after practice because then we are much more knowing than we are Sunday or Monday of who is able to play, or what they’re able to get accomplished.
That doesn’t mean things don’t change from Thursday to Saturday, but you have a much better idea about Saturday once you finish Thursday’s practice. Some guys think you ought to practice three days, some guys two days, some guys a day, some guys don’t practice at all and make it; but it’s still up to the trainer or doctor if he says, ‘I think this guy is good to go Saturday.’ You’ve got to believe him, and that’s how you do the injury report.
When you were having the conversation with Coach Brown had you already taken the job here?
Yeah, I was at NC State. I brought it back and proposed it to [the ACC] and we did it in the spring meetings, then we decided universally that it’d be good because it got all of us out of was a guy 50 percent, was he 40 percent? Now, with the doctors and trainers, we’ll tell each other on Thursday who we think can play, who is probable, who is questionable, who is doubtful or whatever.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Kitchings had confidence in Thornton
NCSU first-year running backs coach Des Kitchings found himself in a unique situation entering last Saturday’s home contest against The Citadel.
Kitchings, who had stints at Furman, Vanderbilt and Air Force before arriving at NCSU last spring, had never been forced to go four deep on his depth chart at running back. But with senior James Washington and redshirt sophomore Tony Creecy nursing injuries and redshirt sophomore Mustafa Greene suspended, that’s exactly where NC State stood.
The next option was true freshman Shadrach Thornton. The plan had been for Thornton to redshirt, but the rookie had also shown Kitchings enough for the coach to have confidence in Thornton if he was needed.
“He had a very good camp, and from that standpoint, he proved and showed he had the capability to play for us,” Kitchings noted. “His progression of picking up the offense was really on pace.”
ACC Media Relations
Wolfpack schedule review
As NC State makes their way through the 2012 season, The Wolfpacker will take a look back each week to see how NC State’s opponents have fared with their respective schedules. Here’s a recap through Sept. 27 for the Pack’s 2012 opponents.
Miami (3-1, 2-0 in ACC)
Sept. 29 at Pro Player Stadium, Noon
The good: In a wild game, Miami rallied from a 36-19 third quarter deficit to defeat Georgia Tech 42-36 in overtime on the road. The Canes put up a whopping 609 total yards, including 436 passing from quarterback Stephen Morris.
The bad: Miami’s defense gave up 419 total yards, including 287 on the ground, and allowed an option team to rally from 19-0 down at the end of the first quarter to that 36-19 lead in a span of a little over 15 minutes spread out between the second and third quarters.
Passing – Stephen Morris: 98 of 158 for 1,069 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions
Rushing – Duke Johnson: 40 carries for 320 yards, four touchdowns
Receiving – Phillip Dorsett: 21 catches for 273 yards, one touchdown
Michael Casagrande (Sun Sentinel)
NC State’s Mike Glennon a tall order for UM defense
Stop the run. Stop the run. Watch out for the pass, but stop the run.
For the past three weeks, that was Miami’s defense. That script went out the window Sunday after the overtime win at Georgia Tech.
A more conventional offense is coming to Sun Life Stadium at noon Saturday. It will be an adjustment for the Hurricanes after seeing passes on just 4.8 percent of the snaps from the past three opponents.
NC State (3-1, 0-0 ACC) has a 55 to 45 percent balance between the rushing and passing game, with a strong-armed quarterback running the show. Mike Glennon, a 6-6, 232-pound senior, threw more passes in the Wolfpack season opener (46) than the Hurricanes saw in the previous three games (45) against Kansas State, Bethune-Cookman and Georgia Tech.
“You gotta love that as a cornerback,” Miami’s Thomas Finnie said. “You got to. It’s time for us to step up and make plays, step up. I know my D-line is going to give their all and penetrate so he can throw the ball up for grabs.”
The Hurricanes (3-1, 2-0 ACC) didn’t exactly fare well the last time they saw a pass-happy offense. Boston College threw for 441 yards during Miami’s 41-32 season-opening win in Chestnut Hill.
Coach Al Golden isn’t exactly rejoicing about the shift in scheme.
“I wouldn’t be excited to see Glennon,” Golden said.
Michael Casagrande (Sun Sentinel)
UM’s Denzel Perryman officially out for NC State game
Update Sept. 27: It’s official. Denzel Perryman will miss his second straight game with the leg injury suffered two weeks ago against Bethune-Cookman.
Fellow linebacker Raphael Kirby was listed as “probable” on the weekly injury report UM files with the ACC. The true freshman hasn’t played all season after going down with the lower leg injury in early August.
The news was better for punter Dalton Botts. He wasn’t listed on the injury report so that presumably means he’ll play Saturday after spraining his ankle at Georgia Tech.
Michael Casagrande (Sun Sentinel)
Energetic Eddie Johnson fills gaps for banged up Miami Hurricane’s linebacker unit
Johnson wasn’t listed on the first two depth charts of preseason camp before cracking the list Aug. 20 as a co-starter. When the games started in September, he moved past Thurston Armbrister and assumed a prime role in a beat-up linebacker corps.
With Ramon Buchanan out for the season and Denzel Perryman missing for a second straight week, Johnson’s production became even more essential. His first big outing came in the worst performance for the Miami defense. Johnson quietly made eight tackles during the Hurricanes’ 52-13 loss at Kansas State.
“Every opportunity that we’ve given him on special teams or on defense, he has fulfilled that role and, with that, he has received more opportunities,” coach Al Golden said. “He’s playing as hard as anybody on our defense right now. He’s finishing at a level that is tremendous right now. He’s knocking piles back; he’s not getting a lot of mental errors.”
He’s also among the hardest hitters on the defense.
Johnson said he puts himself up there with fellow linebackers Perryman and Tyrone Cornelius.
“As a football player you have to be aggressive,” Johnson said. “Like as a wide receiver, you have to go up for the ball aggressively. On the d-line you have to be aggressive. It’s just a testosterone sport.”
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Weekend Preview, Sept. 28
N.C. State (3-1, 0-0 ACC) at Miami (3-1, 2-0)
When: Noon (EST)
Radio: XM 191/Sirius 136
What’s at Stake?
Miami can widen its lead in the Coastal Division and become the first ACC team with a 3-0 mark in league play with a win. For N.C. State, this is its ACC opener and a chance to grab its biggest win of the season so far after breezing past South Alabama (31-7) and The Citadel (52-14) the last two weeks.
Key for the Wolfpack
Playing to the level of the competition. Beating up on South Alabama (a new FBS program) and The Citadel (FCS program) didn’t really prepare the Wolfpack for this tough a test. It will have to play well on both sides of the ball in order to win.
Key for the Hurricanes
Get the run game going. Even though Stephen Morris threw the ball extremely well last week, Morris is better off handing off the ball in this matchup. N.C. State’s secondary remains the strength of its defense despite getting burned multiple times in a loss to Tennessee earlier this season.
N.C. State corner David Amerson has picked off a pass in three straight games and has tied the school record with 16 career interceptions … Miami true freshman Duke Johnson leads the nation in all-purpose yardage (209.5 yards per game) … Stephen Morris threw for the most yards by a Miami quarterback since 1991 with 436 passing yards last week in a win over Georgia Tech … N.C. State receiver Bryan Underwood has caught a touchdown pass in each of the Wolfpack’s first four games.
Miami by 3
Hurricanes 23, Wolfpack 19 – Expect a close game, but the Hurricanes are the more proven team thanks to two ACC road wins.
Clemson Tops ACC With High-Priced Coordinators
Salaries for coordinators continue to rise in the ACC, as they do around college football.
But Clemson has taken it to a new level.
The defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions are paying out a combined $2.1 million this season for their coordinators. Second-year offensive leader Chad Morris is the highest paid assistant in college football at $1.3 million a year.
“I didn’t know all those years as a coordinator I was so underpaid,” quipped Duke head coach David Cutcliffe, the offensive coordinator on Tennessee’s national championship team in 1998.
Cutcliffe made $340,000 his last season with the Vols in 2007 before joining Duke. That would be a coordinator bargain at some ACC schools.
Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops earns $550,000 while offensive coordinator Rick Trickett makes $440,000. Virginia offensive coordinator Bill Lazor earns $453,000 and defensive coordinator Jim Reid $395,000.
Virginia Tech defensive leader Bud Foster makes $471,762 this season while offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring will earns $349,980.
No campus in the league, though, tops Clemson where Morris and defensive coordinator Brent Venables ($800,000 a year) make more combined than the Tigers head coach, Dabo Swinney.
NC STATE ATHLETICS
Debbie Yow Live Chat Transcript
Comment From James
What is the status of the indoor practice facility for football? Where will it be located, and how soon will it be built?
Yow: The campus has approved fundraising efforts for a renovation of Reynolds Coliseum and for an indoor practice facility for all field teams. It will likely be located near the Murphy Football Center and when it will be built depends on the success of the fundraising initiatives.
Comment From Elliott
What are your thoughts on increasing the amount of time for tailgating before football games.
Yow: My understanding is that there is a university task force that made the original recommendation several years ago to begin tailgating four hours before each game. Later, they added another hour so that now fans can arrive five hours before each game. The task force includes members from campus police, the Wolfpack Club staff, athletics, and student affairs. We hope the group can be reconvened this winter to review the policy.
Policies for the opening of parking lots across ACC schools vary greatly. Here are a few examples: Miami opens four hours prior to kickoff, Maryland opens six hours prior to kickoff, Virginia opens somewhere between three and five hours prior to kickoff depending on the specific lot, Boston College opens at 6 am for kickoffs of 1 pm or earlier and 8 am for kickoffs later than 1 pm, Clemson opens at 6 am each game day, Florida State lots open five hours prior to kickoff, Georgia Tech lots open at 7 am on game day, Wake Forest lots open six hours prior to kickoff for games beginning at 3:30 or over. For evening games, those lots open eight hours prior to kickoff. Syracuse opens lots four hours prior to kickoff and Pitt opens lots five hours prior to kickoff. UNC opens reserved lots at 7 am on game day.
Comment From BradB
What do we have to do to request a SLIGHTLY lower decibel level from the sound system in the time leading up to game time.?
Yow: I have requested the sound be lowered slightly and also indicated a desire for a greater mix of music that allows for a variety because we have patrons who gravitate toward retro tunes. That said, there will always be some music during player warmups that our student-athletes wish to hear.
NC State volleyball spiking interest
Bryan Bunn knew he had a job on his hands when he took over a struggling Wolfpack volleyball program in 2010.
“We went about a month and found out who wanted to work and who didn’t,” said NC State volleyball coach Bunn. “We found the kind of kids who want to do what we want to do.”
What Bunn wants to do is win and his strategy is working well so far. NC State is off to a 13 and one start for the second year in a row. It’s the program’s best start since 1980.
“It’s been an unreal turnaround,” said senior Megan Cyr. “Something I think usually takes a lot longer and Coach Bunn has managed to do it in three years.”
Wolfpack headed to South Beach (audio)
Mitchell: Bryan Bunn has jump started NC State volleyball
From doormat to dominant, NC State volleyball is on the map under coach Bryan Bunn.
Riddick and Reynolds
R&R Podcast, Episode 66 — Don Shea
The legendary Don Shea stops by to join us this week. He recalls how he came to North Carolina, to WTVD and became one NC State athletics’ most recognizable and best known figures.
He hangs around to join us in the second segment as dole out a stat of the week, a stone cold lock of the week and of course, sniff ratings.
Matt Norlander (CBSSports.com)
UNC seeks change by putting all the pressure on players instead of professors
If you thought the University of North Carolina would put the onus on itself and its faculty for the recent smear against its academic reputation, you’d be wrong. Which probably qualifies you for an “A” in many UNC courses.
Instead of taking a taxing and especially long look in the mirror at itself and the men and women actually on the payroll, UNC has alternatively decided to immediately attempt to make over its reputation by raising the admissions bar for its athletes even higher.
“Academics are going to have to come first,” Thorp said. “And it’s clear that they haven’t to the extent that they should.”
OK. Hold up.
You’re telling me professors are going to be wielding even more power? As if the transgressions from the past 10 years — maybe more — at UNC fell on the shoulders and were catalyzed through the minds of just the students?
So, who’s lording over the six-figure help? And, because academics haven’t come first in recent times, this is the fault of the physical freak trying to angle his way to a professional career in sports? Pardon the obvious tone I’ve taken here … but where’s the accountability for the adults? Perhaps deeper in the story. Yes, let us go on.
Mike DeCourcy (Sporting News)
Starting Five: Tar Heels’ disgrace; Kentucky big men; Rick Pitino recruits
1. North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp — the man in charge during perhaps the biggest academic scandal of a generation — now appears to be suggesting admission standards for athletes were the problem. How far off base is Thorp?
Those who believe in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill should be more outraged by Thorp’s statements Wednesday to The Raleigh News & Observer than the 54 suspect classes that existed in the school’s African and Afro-American studies department. That is saying something, because the existence of those classes is a disgrace.
North Carolina administrators allowed one of the school’s academic departments to conduct 54 classes in which, according to The News & Observer, there was “little or no instruction by professors.” Indeed, 39 percent of the students enrolled in those classes were athletes from the football and basketball teams, but that means 61 percent were not.
And what did UNC administrators do to the chairman of that department, who was listed as the professor of record for 45 of those classes? If you guessed that they fired him, you failed the test.
So now the chancellor in charge as this debauchery persisted, who also was in charge as the university’s top fundraiser reportedly took personal trips at the university’s expense, who was in charge as the football program was placed on NCAA probation and the coach who presided over that descent was paid $2.7 million to go away—that guy declares the way forward is to make it tougher for young athletes to be admitted to school?
If North Carolina follows Thorp in any direction from this day forward, it should be ashamed.
Having a few dozen kids on a college campus that might not be there without their athletic talents is beneficial to a university. Diversity is not just about race or religion. It’s about experience. There are prominent athletes in college sports who grew up with no parental guidance and fought through those challenges to make themselves presentable college prospects. To slap those young people in the face with their SAT scores is even more scandalous than what transpired in North Carolina’s AFAM department.
Gregg Doyel (CBSSports.com)
Will Coach K, Duke skate again? Yes, unless the heat stays on Blue Devils
That’s where we are on this. If this were almost any other school, that school would get hammered by the NCAA based on the court documents. You know it. I know it. Hell, Duke has to know it. A player on its team received a $67,800 loan while in school, suggesting he received that loan on the promise that he would pay it back after turning pro somewhere, whether in this country or abroad. That sort of financing might sound logical, but it’s a blatant NCAA violation. Allow college athletes to receive stuff based on their future earning potential, and you would have alums sweet-talking recruits onto campus by promising to “loan” cash or a car or even a house based on the recruit’s future earnings.
That can’t happen. What Lance Thomas did in 2009 can’t happen — yet it did. What will the NCAA do about it?
Nothing. And you know it. It’s Corey Maggette all over again, a case that received some interest at first, then moved to the back burner, then fell off the stove entirely. Several years later, the NCAA determined Duke was innocent because its coach couldn’t have known what Piggie was up to when Maggette was in high school. No such luck for UCLA, Oklahoma State and Missouri, who were apparently supposed to know what Piggie was up to when their players (JaRon Rush of UCLA, Andre Williams of Oklahoma State, Kareem Rush of Missouri) were in high school.
Gary Parrish (CBSSports.com)
Ex-coaches Smith, Huber — now NCAA investigators — explain being on ‘other side’
Which brings me to Frank Smith and Ken Huber.
No, they are not hackers turned security consultants. But they are college basketball coaches turned NCAA investigators and two people who are, at least loosely, following the same career path as Mitnick. They both spent years as college assistants — Smith at places like Dayton and Clemson; Huber at places like Gardner-Webb and Wright State — before jumping to the so-called other side. They’re the only two men on what used to be known as the NCAA’s Basketball Focus Group. They’re now essentially charged with using their previous career experiences to catch cheating college basketball programs and, in some cases, folks Smith and Huber used to call colleagues and still call friends.
And that got me wondering.
Was it a difficult career choice?
Has the move cost them friendships?
Is catching cheaters as hard as recruiting against cheaters?
I spent some time talking with Smith and Huber about these things this week. Their answers to those three questions (in order) were basically not at all, not really and, man, you don’t even know.
“[This job] is a difficult task and an uphill battle,” Huber said. “When I was a coach, I don’t think I realized how difficult of a job it is. … I don’t want to say all coaches cheat or try to break the rules, but I do think most coaches try to go as far as they can into the gray area without crossing over a line. They are trying to find ways, and I think the common fan would be surprised at some of the ways coaches are trying to get around rules.”