NC STATE FOOTBALL
Why NC State Might Win: The Florida State D is outstanding, but the last two weekends have shown that it’s not infallible. The Seminoles showed creases in wins over Clemson and South Florida that the Pack will attempt to exploit. The unit is coming off its best game of the year, burning Miami for 664 yards and five trips to the end zone. Mike Glennon threw four scoring strikes, spreading the ball around to 11 different receivers, and Tony Creecy and rookie Shadrach Thornton provided some much-needed punch in the running game. In a game that’ll require a few touchdowns to win, NC State feels that it has the quarterback and the weapons to move the ball on the Seminoles.
What Will Happen: It’s never easy going on the road in conference, especially when there’s a big, fat target on your chest. Florida State, however, possesses the right mix of talent and confidence to overcome an energized crowd, and avoid the upset bid of NC State. The fact remains that the Pack is a limited program on both sides of the ball, one that shrunk in the face of quality opponents in September. The Seminoles will own the line of scrimmage, popping off big plays in the running game, and pressuring Glennon into at least a couple of key turnovers.
CFN Prediction: Florida State 39 … NC State 20
The O-Line Shuffle
Heading into the 2012 campaign, the Wolfpack offensive line was one of the most solidly entrenched units on the squad. All five starters on the OL heading into the opener had started games previously during the careers, combining to start 112 games, with three as redshirt seniors and one a true senior.
But just six games into the season, the Pack will start its fourth different combination in Saturday night’s game against Florida State. Injuries have forced the NC State coaching staff to make adjustments to what once was a veteran group.
• Senior Zach Allen has already been ruled out for this week. The Pack’s starting right guard in 31 straight games was injured at Miami with a lower leg injury.
• Senior Andrew Wallace missed the Miami game also with a lower leg injury suffered in the win over The Citadel. He had started the first four games of the season at right tackle, after making the switch from guard in the offseason.
• Junior Rob Crisp opened the season at left tackle, but has missed the last four games with a lower back injury suffered in the season opener.
“Despite the injuries, its been incredible the performance we have been getting,” said senior R.J. Mattes who has lined up at both guard and tackle this season. “The next guys up, Cam Fordham and Joe Thuney, just came in and we didn’t miss a beat.
“Guys are paying attention in practice, getting the mental reps when they are watching to know what their job is. I’m proud of those guys for working hard in practice. Even though some starters are down, we didn’t miss a step because the back-ups stepped up and played well.”
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
David Amerson tries to move on
One would believe that the Miami game is not one that junior cornerback David Amerson is likely to forget anytime soon. Amerson said he has no choice though.
“You just got to move on from it,” Amerson said. “You can’t let it carry onto the next game or throughout the season, got to have a good short-term memory.”
That’s not to say that Amerson still does not have a bitter taste in his mouth after being beat for multiple touchdowns in the game.
“The ball was in the air, I just didn’t make plays,” Amerson noted. “A lot of times, especially the first touchdown, that was real easy for me. I don’t know, [he] just got behind me. I could have easily had a play on that ball, and if I had that play back I’d done something different.
“It just came down to not making plays. My eyes were in the right place and stuff like that, it came down to not making plays.”
What was especially frustrating for Amerson was that State lost a game he believed they should have won.
“Everybody was disappointed, wishing we could have that game back,” Amerson stated. “We felt like we were the better team. I think we were. If I could do something different, like I said, I would have attacked it different.”
Q&A: Tom O’Brien poised for FSU challenge
There’s been some talk that tackling through the season doesn’t seem to be as good across the board, and I’m curious if that’s something you’ve noticed either watching film or catching games on TV?
“No, I think that’s been the thing that’s probably for the last half dozen years or so, and a lot of it comes from the NFL, talking about fundamentals aren’t being taught at the same level they have. And when you look, certainly — and probably rightfully so because of injuries, we’ve cut back so much in spring practice and the opportunity to teach the fundamentals that are required.
“Certainly tackling is something that requires that you are fundamentally sound in what you’re doing because of the possibility to be injured if you do it the wrong way.
“But I think with all the cutbacks we’ve had and times that we practice, especially in preseason camp or in springtime when you have a chance to coach those fundamentals and be fundamentally sound is where things are lacking in college football right now.”
Can a team go from being a reasonably decent tackling team to just having a bad couple weeks and be able to rebound after that?
“Yeah, I think a lot of the things that happen in college football are mental as much as physical, and it’s a matter of want-to and make sure you get accomplished what you have to get accomplished. So I think mentally certainly if you want to get somebody on the ground and you’ve been coached well and you have good fundamentals, then you’ll find a way to get them on the ground.”
Quotables: Jimbo Fisher
“We’re coming off a very tough challenge this past weekend. I thought South Florida played extremely well. I thought our kids fought through some situations and dealt with some adversity and being on the road for the first time. We battled through – handled some very well and we need to get better at some. That’s football. I’m very proud of how hard the kids played. They stayed in the moment and they kept fighting and they made the plays they had to make in order to win the game.
“There’s a lot of things we need to clean up. We had some missed opportunities in the red zone. We need to learn how to convert those opportunities and I think South Florida did a very nice job shortening the game, especially in the first half – keeping the ball out of our hands.
“It was a great win, especially coming off a very emotional and physical game against Clemson. I knew it was going to be draining for us, but we had to get up to play and it’s a good thing that we learned to overcome that. I was very proud of the kids as far as the preparation and what they had to do.
“We’re going to have a tough challenge to play at NC State – a very tough place to play, very loud, they’ve got good players and they’ve got a good team. We’ve got another challenge on being on the road again.
“Hopefully, we’ll learn from our mistakes and those young guys will get that second road trip and clean up some things and we’ll play a little bit better. I thought our leaders played very well in the game. We did some nice things in the game. It was a great challenge, hope we get better because this is another double whammy game – ACC and a divisional game. They’re very important and we’ll have our hands full.”
NC STATE BASKETBALL
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
UNC-N.C. State officially a basketball rivalry again
The on-again, off-again rivalry between North Carolina and N.C. State is officially a rivalry again.
Thanks to a new scheduling format, announced Wednesday by the ACC at its fall meetings in Boston and brought about because of the addition of Notre Dame as the league’s 15th team in all sports except football, the Tar Heels and Wolfpack are again guaranteed of meeting twice a year again.
Not that they ever stopped.
Although the ACC designated other schools as “primary partners” for State and UNC when it decided to go to an 18-game league schedule this summer, the recently published 2012-13 schedule still had the Wolfpack and Tar Heels playing a home-and-home series.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Who gets messed over the most by the ACC’s new scheduling format?
Who should be more disappointed? N.C. State, which won’t play Duke twice every year, or Wake Forest, which won’t have two games every year against North Carolina?
Bret: It’s gotta be N.C. State. PNC Arena and Cameron Indoor Stadium are separated by only 22.34 miles, as the Topaz drives. Duke is 4-3 in its last seven games at N.C. State, including the “When we hungry, we eat” game of 2004, and the Wolfpack appears to be on the rise. It’d like as many primetime cracks at the Blue Devils as possible, even with all the “Big … High … School” and “Culture … Agriculture” chants.
Stephen: Oh, the Wolfpack and the Blue Devils have enough fun as it is. What about our friends over in Winston-Salem? You know they live for that one night a year when the Tar Heels visit. That’s the night when the chopper is just a little bit shinier, the techno is a little bit louder and Naz-T Deac is … well, he’s always fired up. See, Bret, unlike O’Boises, the home-and-home series between the Deacs and Heels is something worth keeping around.
Bret: But O’Boises are O’Boisterous. Based on your lame argument, you, sir, are not.
Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
Torian Graham plans to go to Chipola (Junior) College
Torian Graham, a shooting guard who committed to N.C. State on two occasions as a high school upperclassman, plans to attend Chipola (Junior) College in Florida.
Graham is currently listed as the No. 91 player in the Class of 2012 by ESPN.com. When he originally committed to N.C. State last May, he was ranked the No. 45 player in his class, and he had moved up to No. 38 by the time he briefly committed again in December.
Former Wolfpack tight end Mark Thomas visits with defensive back Earl Wolff to discuss how he works to become a better player.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Podcast: Behind enemy lines – FSU
D.C. Reeves, the managing editor of Warchant.com, joins host Ryan Tice on The Wolfpacker Podcast to break down the upcoming NC State-Florida State contest from a Seminoles’ perspective.
NC STATE ATHLETICS
Caulton Tudor (N&O)
Kay Yow’s spirit lives on
Several days before Kay Yow coached her first game at N.C. State, she was asked if women’s basketball could someday match the popularity of men’s competition.
Yow said she couldn’t forecast the future.
“But,” she said, “I do know nothing can be accomplished if you just say something’s not meant to be and just quit.”
That was in 1975. The Wolfpack women’s basketball program was a year old.
Yow, who was hired after leading Elon to a 57-19 record during the four previous seasons, was 32.
Yow never quit.
She lost her first game at State to UNC but won 19 that season and kept winning for the rest of her life.
Courtside, she won 737 times.
In the court of human admiration, she died an undefeated champion and continues to win more than three years after breast cancer took her life – but not the impact of her spirit – on Jan. 24, 2009 at the age of 66.
“People celebrate that spirit of her life now, but her life was such that she’ll be important to cancer research for a very long time,” said Nick Valvano, brother of the former State men’s basketball coach Jim.
Ron Green Jr. (N&O)
Wilson headed home to face Panthers
Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has shown the experience of a veteran this week.
Between his three seasons as N.C. State’s quarterback, the one month he spent playing baseball in Gastonia and his personal ties to the area, Wilson has been inundated with ticket requests for what will feel a bit like a homecoming game Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
Playing ticket broker is low on his priority list this week.
“There were so many tickets (requested) I told people they may have to find their own,” said Wilson, who will be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback when they face the Panthers Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
Wilson estimates he’ll have at least 50 family members and friends in the stadium Sunday. However, his focus will be on continuing to grow into the job he won by acclimating in training camp, outplaying incumbent Tavaris Jackson and edging out high-priced free agent Matt Flynn to become just the sixth rookie quarterback drafted in the third round or later to start his opening game.