NC STATE FOOTBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Pack emerges from players-only meeting confident, together
Quarterback Mike Glennon and linebacker Sterling Lucas, the team captains, led the meeting, which in the words of senior safety Earl Wolff, boiled down to one question.
“We’re just trying to get everybody on the same page and make sure everybody is all in,” Wolff said. “Basically we said, ‘if you’re not all in, you can get out right now.’ ”
No one left, and the players spent about three hours watching film Sunday, coach Tom O’Brien said.
There was plenty to be dissected from the Miami loss, with mistakes made by both the offense and defense.
“We are all frustrated by the Miami game,” senior offensive lineman R.J. Mattes said. “Mental errors cost us that game.”
Mental errors such as eight pre-snap penalties, out of 14 called against N.C. State, for 100 yards, or giving up on a play because an offsides penalty was called. And there were physical mistakes, including blown coverages and turnovers.
Andrew Carter (N&O)
Seminoles enter Carter-Finley ranked No. 3
With the improvements on the field has come more attention off of it. Florida State ranked sixth nationally last season in new season ticket sales, and it has surpassed that number this season, said Jerry Kutz, the vice president of Seminole Boosters, Inc. The booster club has expanded, Kutz said, and FSU students have exhausted their allotment of 16,500 tickets for every home game.
Kutz once a week has lunch with some old Florida State football assistant coaches – guys who coached during the dynasty years. They told him that this FSU team looks as good as any, ever.
“You had to see those teams to understand what great really looks like,” Kutz said, adding there’s hope this team is like those.
Manuel on Monday addressed the overall hype he and his teammates have been receiving, and he told reporters it wouldn’t be a distraction.
“It’s kind of like stepping stones, you know, like chopping that wood – chopping down a tree,” he said. “We want to continue to keep at it … you always want to make progress. I don’t think that’s going to change our approach.”
That’s the kind of approach that Fisher, a disciple of the Nick Saban model of program-building, has attempted to teach his team.
“I’ll reinforce to our guys – we’re about preparation, not expectation,” Fisher said.
Chip Alexander (N&O)
Roman Gabriel: Pack QB could do it all – before QBs were asked to do it all
Roman Gabriel played football at N.C. State in a distinctly different time and era.
It was a time when players rarely left the field in a game, when Wolfpack quarterbacks often threw passes only on third down, when the players dressed at Reynolds Coliseum and walked through the tunnel under the railroad track to Riddick Stadium.
The Pack did charter flights in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sam Raneri, one of Gabriel’s teammates, remembers flying Cuban Air, in a rickety prop plane, with the players sitting on benches facing each other like paratroopers, and their equipment bags stuffed between them.
Gabriel would be named All-America at N.C. State in 1960 and ’61. He led the ACC in passing his senior season but didn’t average 100 yards a game. He also would be the first Wolfpack player to have his jersey – No. 18 – retired.
And not just for his play at quarterback. Gabriel was a standout in the Pack secondary and likes to recall the 1960 game against North Carolina in Kenan Stadium, when he forced a fumble at the goal line and intercepted a pass in a 3-0 victory.
Of his induction into N.C. State’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Gabriel first said he’s honored to be part of the first class of inductees. The Wilmington native then talked of the Wolfpack players before him – Alex Webster, Darrell Dess and others – he believed were just as deserving.
“And I’m really proud of the guys I played with,” Gabriel said. “We only played three home games a year because we were busy traveling the country making money so they could build Carter-Finley Stadium. Despite all that, we never quit in a game. We played the likes of Alabama, UCLA, Arizona State, and played ’em to a standstill. Who knows, if we had played some of those games at home it might have been better results.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
N.C. State’s Payton added to Biletnikoff Award list
On the other side of the field, the Wolfpack’s Quintin Payton caught only two passes in the game. But they went for 83 yards (including a 73-yard bomb), to increase his per-catch average to an impressive 22.2 yards for the season. Overall, Payton has 19 catches for 421 yards and a touchdown this season.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Joe Thuney will be ready when called on
Redshirt freshman center Joe Thuney got to experience his first taste of college football in the Wolfpack’s home opener against South Alabama when he appeared on six snaps with the second-team offense.
That group got in again the next week and saw 18 plays from scrimmage against The Citadel. However, Thuney was pressed into action with the first-team offensive line against Miami last Saturday, and he was glad he had some prior experience to lean on. The center logged 38 snaps in the game after starting guard Zach Allen went down with an injury and starting center Camden Wentz shifted over to guard. Despite missing three starters from opening night, NC State’s offensive front performed admirably and paved the way for 224 yards rushing, while they allowed just two sacks against the Hurricanes.
“It went well, it was a lot faster than practice, but I thought I stuck in there pretty well and handled myself pretty well,” he said. “It definitely helped getting in the South Alabama and The Citadel games – getting used to it and getting my first snaps in. My teammates on the offensive line helped me out a lot in the Miami game.”
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
McKinney gaining valuable early experience
There have been five true freshmen to play thus far this season.
Wide receiver Charlie Hegedus already has a couple of receptions for 18 yards. Quarterback Manny Stocker is the all-important back-up quarterback, and linebacker M.J. Salahuddin has made a quick name for himself on special teams with three tackles, tied for second most on the squad.
Then Shadrach Thornton had the splashiest debut of them all by rushing 21 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the 52-14 win over The Citadel and following that up with 87 rushing yards at Miami last Saturday.
Quietly though, freshman offensive tackle Quincy McKinney has also seen the field, and it’s not an accomplishment McKinney takes lightly.
“I believe it just comes from hard work and me being pushed my teammates, definitely,” McKinney stated. “It’s a big accomplishment cause a majority of the freshmen in the country actually don’t get to touch the field and get redshirted, so that is a big accomplishment. I’m proud of that.”
McKinney, lining up at second string left tackle with junior Rob Crisp missing the last three games with an unspecified injury, first got action against South Alabama Sept. 15, playing six snaps.
Coley Harvey (Orlando Sentinel)
Getting to know No. 3 FSU’s Week 6 foe: North Carolina State
Stats of note from the early-season:
—N.C. State ranks second in the ACC and 8th in the nation in tackles for loss. (8.00 TFL per game)
—N.C. State ranks 12th in the ACC and 97th in the nation in pass defense. (278.60 passing yards allowed per game)
—N.C. State ranks 11th in the ACC and 106th in the nation in sacks allowed. (3.20 sacks allowed per game)
Players to know:
QB, Mike Glennon. An argument could be made that until this season, Glennon spent his career playing in the shadow of former Wolfpack star quarterback Russell Wilson. Yes, Wilson left the program last summer to transfer to Wisconsin before getting drafted by the Seattle Seahawks this April, but the drama his departure caused left an impact on the Wolfpack for much of the 2011 season. One could argue that Glennon began emerging from Wilson’s shadow at the end of last year’s 8-5 run that included a three-game end-of-season winning streak, but it wasn’t until this season that the team finally and rightfully became completely his. So far, he has not disappointed, either. Glennon has completed 109 of his 176 attempts so far this season. He also has more than 1,400 yards passing and 10 touchdowns. Where he hasn’t been so good is in the turnover department. The senior has six interceptions already this season.
RB, Tony Creecy. N.C. State’s offense likes to begin with Glennon’s right arm and the passing game. Still, when the Wolfpack run, they mix up rushing responsbilities — much like the Seminoles — between several different ballcarriers. Creecy has been N.C. State’s most-used tailback this season, rushing 50 times for 250 yards. He has three rushing touchdowns and caught 11 passes for 51 yards and a score. His 250 rushing yards rank him fourth in the ACC. He may finally be hitting his stride, too. Against Miami this weekend, the sophomore had a career-high 120 yards rushing in the shootout.
RB, Shadrach Thornton. A true freshman, Thornton has passed fellow running back Mustafa Greene on carries and quality runs as we near the halfway point of the season. Greene still is a a running back to be aware of, but since his suspension three games ago, Thornton has emerged and poses a major threat to any team facing N.C. State. After not playing in the first three games, Thornton has become a rising star at N.C. State following a pair of big performances in the last two weeks. During his first game, Thornton rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the big win over The Citadel. Against Miami, he had 87 yards on 17 carries. He and Creecy give the offense the type of rushing balance that can make Glennon dangerous as the season progresses and teams have to respect both the pass and rush.
WR, Qinton Payton. Payton is one of five Wolfpack receivers with double-digit receptions so far this season. With 19 catches, he is the team leader. His 421 yards receiving also leads the team. More of a possession receiver who will put the Wolfpack in striking range for a score, Payton only has one touchdown this season. The junior has two 100-yard receiving games (vs. Tennessee and vs. The Citadel).
WR, Bryan Underwood. The sophomore may not have the yards Payton does, but when it comes to scoring, he has proven to be the Wolfpack’s most consistent playmaker. Underwood already has six touchdown receptions. He had two against Miami over the weekend. His 12 receptions are just four off the 16 he had as a freshman last year.
DB, Brandan Bishop. Bishop ranks second on the team in total tackles with 36. A heavy hitter, all but six of his stops are of the solo variety. He also has forced a pair of fumbles and intercepted a pass. While two other defensive backs get most of the attention in the N.C. State backfield, Bishop is one the Seminoles cannot afford to overlook.
S, Earl Wolff. One of those well-known defensive backs, Wolff, has earned a reputation for being a hard-hitter with a penchant for getting his hands on an occasional pass. So far this season, he has a team-leading 38 total tackles and a 16-yard interception return. He has 2.5 tackles for loss. As a junior last year, he was one of the ACC’s most feared defensive backs. He had three interceptions and 105 total tackles while playing in David Amerson’s shadow.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
The NC State men’s basketball team is ranked No. 9 in The Sporting News’ Preseason Top 25 the publication announced today.
The Wolfpack, already ranked No. 4 according to Blue Ribbon Yearbook’s preseason ranking and No. 6 in Andy Katz’s ESPN.com early preseason rankings, return four starters from last season’s Sweet Sixteen squad.
Junior forward C.J. Leslie, who also was tabbed as a preseason All-American by The Sporting News, is NC State’s top returning scorer averaging 14.7 points per game last year. Junior guard Lorenzo Brown led the team in assists with 234 last season and his 6.3 average was the best since Chris Corchiani averaged 9.5 assists per game in 1991. Brown was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 points per contest.
Inside Wolfpack Sports
Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mark Gottfried sits down with Tony Haynes to discuss the teams trip to Spain this summer as well as the upcoming season.
Footprint Podcast: Making sense of NC State
The Audible: Is Duke bowl-bound in a down ACC?
Mark and Mike look at the position UNC, NC State and Duke are in through the first five weeks of the season in a down ACC in this week’s The Audible presented by Goodnight’s Comedy Club.
Dan Kane and J. Andrew Curliss (N&O)
UNC’s Naval Weapons Systems class attracted basketball players
UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Naval Science exists to produce “highly qualified” officers who serve on ships, aircraft and submarines, or in the Marine Corps.
For the spring semester in 2007, it also taught a half-dozen men’s basketball players.
Enrollment records requested by The News & Observer show that the department had become a popular place for athletes. One class particularly stands out: Naval Weapons Systems, or NAVS 302, which met in the spring of 2007. Of 38 students in the class, 30 were athletes.
Six of those were members of the men’s basketball team. The class’s average grade that semester was 3.63, or better than a B-plus, and the class’ work requirements were deemed so difficult to assess that its structure was later changed.
NAVS 302 is the most recent questionable class to surface in an academic scandal that has led to multiple investigations on campus and prompted Chancellor Holden Thorp to announce his resignation last month. Until now, the questions focused on “no-show” classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, and involved mostly football players.
But this class, which did meet, included a substantial portion of the basketball team. Frasor said that Wayne Walden, a former assistant director for academic support who handled the basketball team, had recommended the class.
Walden, who no longer works at UNC, could not be reached. He was brought to UNC from the University of Kansas shortly after men’s basketball coach Roy Williams was hired from there. Williams had described Walden as being an integral part of the basketball program.
The syllabus for the NAVS 302 class shows that it was a different type of course than in other years. It had no required exams or quizzes and no major research paper. Students received much of their grade from a two- to three-page double-spaced midterm paper and a group project that required a 20-minute oral presentation split among five students.
Frasor recalled the paper was on weaponry and the presentation was on battle scenarios.
The professor for the class, Lt. Brian Lubitz, taught it only once, UNC records show. A former captain for the Naval Academy soccer team, he also was earning his MBA from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School at the time. He now works in Philadelphia for the investment firm Goldman Sachs.
Much of the problems at UNC have focused on football because the NCAA brought sanctions against the program and because football players made up more than a third of the enrollments in the no-show classes.
Enrollment data for the African studies classes show basketball players accounted for 23 enrollments over a two-year period that began with the first summer semester of 2007. In two cases, the sole enrollee in one of the no-show classes was a basketball player. There were no more enrollments after the summer of 2009, while football players continued to enroll in no-show classes.
The university’s records show athletes accounted for more than half the enrollments in at least four other naval science classes. One weapons class, held in the fall of 2008, had 26 athletes, eight of them football players. The grade-point average for the class was 3.84.
Lubitz spelled out in his syllabus that he reserved the right to have quizzes and tests. But the class syllabus says, “At this time none are anticipated.”