NC STATE BASKETBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
ACC coaches pick Pack in preseason basketball vote
The ACC basketball coaches really like N.C. State.
In their first preseason vote ever, the ACC coaches picked the Wolfpack to win the conference this season, voted junior forward C.J. Leslie the preseason player of the year and guard Rodney Purvis the preseason freshman of the year.
N.C. State hasn’t won the ACC regular season since 1989 or an ACC title since 1987 and its drought in the preseason media poll is even longer. The ACC media, which will make its annual selections Wednesday in Charlotte, has not picked the Wolfpack to win the league since 1974.
With four starters back from a 24-win team, and three new McDonald’s All-Americans, N.C. State received eight first-place votes from the league coaches. Duke and North Carolina, which lost six NBA first-round picks between them, were picked second and third, respectively.
N.C. State junior guard Lorenzo Brown joined Leslie on the preseason All-ACC team with UNC sophomore forward James Michael McAdoo, Duke senior forward Mason Plumlee and Florida State senior guard Michael Snaer.
Gary Parrish (CBSSports.com)
Wolfpack are the pick to win the ACC, but should they be?
And now it’s official — North Carolina State is the pick to win the ACC, according to a vote conducted by the league’s 12 head coaches that was announced Monday. The Wolfpack got eight first-place votes; that’s five more than Duke and eight more than North Carolina. So that sound you hear coming from Raleigh is the sound of a hungry and passionate fan base celebrating, as they should.
But should N.C. State really be the favorite in the ACC?
I think that’s a reasonable question.
October Basketball Recruiting Update
A lot has occurred since the last recruiting post, so let start there. NC State got some answers on how the 2013 recruiting season is going to shape up. Torian Graham enrolled into a Junior College which means he is most likely off the radar for another two years. Sindarius Thornwell committed to South Carolina, the home school without taking his official visit to NC State. This really surprised me, I thought he’d at least check State out after listing us in his top 2. But it seems like the pressure to stay as close to home as possible was too great. Ishmail Wainright took us off his list and it never seemed like we were really in that battle.
So it seems NC State has struck out on an extra wing player for 2013. But as was mention during the last update Kyle Washington committed giving NC State a 4-year big who will develop under Gottfried. So the 2013 class has come down to four players:
Dominic Woodson: I really thought he was going to commit this weekend. He even talked about the possibility of doing so.
“There is a good chance if I go there and really like it, but I don’t want to say I’ll commit this weekend, I still want to see what other campuses are like and what their programs offer me and all that.”
So you can understand the excitement and the buzz around Woodson on campus this weekend. But that did not happen, which is why you never jump the gun on these things. But I feel like he will. He will decide in the fall, so within the next couple of weeks expect to hear something (fall signing period is November 14- November 21). He really enjoyed his visit, even brought his mom and coach down and they enjoyed it also. Woodson has a good combination of offense and defense so I wouldn’t mind if he committed, looks like he still might. He is listed at 6’10 in some places and that is always a plus. He still visits Baylor and Oklahoma in the next two weeks. I think Baylor is our stiffest competition as they can reel in some recruits themselves.
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Program Spotlight: Earl Wolff
When Earl Wolff, a senior safety for the Wolfpack, was working at the office of the College Inn, an off-campus apartment complex for many NC State athletes, he never anticipated what would be waiting for him inside a package.
“When I got the box I kind of cracked up, and I said, a teddy bear? I’m a grown man,” Wolff laughed.
His mother had sent him a teddy bear from thousands of miles away in Kuwait, where she is currently deployed.
Wolff, who has always been extremely close with his mom, remembered how the teddy bear really hit home because it had been her first deployment and a great challenge for him.
“Of course, when she left me it hurt, but it made me grow up faster,” he said. “God does everything for a reason, so it just made me stronger.”
Though Wolff swears he never got teary-eyed upon opening that teddy bear, he did say it made him feel incredibly loved.
“She was basically saying ‘I might be far away, but this teddy bear symbolizes me being with you all the time’,” he explained. “I told her ‘I’m gonna take that bear to every football game with me,’” he smiled.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Competition helping running backs, tight ends succeed
The running back position opened with redshirt sophomore Tony Creecy on top, but classmate Mustafa Greene started the second game. Greene was suspended indefinitely before the third game of the year and has not returned, while Creecy got the nod against South Alabama.
Senior James Washington, who started all 13 games last season, appeared in the first three games before going down with an ankle injury, and Creecy was also injured for the game against The Citadel, so true freshman Shadrach Thornton got the starting nod in game four. The rookie responded with 145 yards rushing and two touchdowns in his first collegiate game, in addition to four catches for 26 yards and some nice downfield blocks.
“I think part of it is because he competes,” Kitchings said. “Even if you’re not fully skilled in all of those areas, if you’re competing and working every day in practice, at some point, good things are going to happen. I think he’s worked hard in practice trying to better himself with catching the ball, understanding his blitz responsibility in pass protection and continuing to progress as a runner. When you put forth the effort, good things are going to happen.
“I’m not going to say he’s been great every play out there, but there’s been spots where he’s been good. There’s still things he’s got to work on in running the ball, pass protection and route running. He’s not there yet, but he’s done some good stuff.”
Although he has played in just three games, Thornton ranks second on the team with 261 yards and two scores on the ground. He ranks first among all rushers with multiple carries with an average of 5.3 yards per carry, and he has added nine catches for 88 yards and another score via the air. The rookie from Hinesville, Ga., also leads the squad with an average of 116.3 all-purpose yards per game.
“In camp, he showed that he had some capabilities to do some things, and he’s doing them on the field,” Kitchings noted. “The way that our numbers were at running back, we didn’t see a need to play him. Injuries caused things to happen, and one thing that Shad did during the early part of the season when he was on the practice squad, he went 100 miles per hour and still practice hard. You never know what’s going to happen and the opportunity came.
“He was able to take advantage of the opportunity because of the work he put in during practice. Now, he still has a lot of work to continue to do during practice, but as long as he continues to do that, he’s got a chance to be a good player.”
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Tom O’Brien liked the bye week’s timing
Last year State memorably rallied from a 41-14 deficit in the third quarter to top Maryland 56-41.
“They were 2-9 at that point, and now they are 4-2, and they’ve won two in a row,” O’Brien pointed out. “It’s going to be a whole different attitude going up there, and going to College Park has been a tough place to play.”
Maryland has won eight of the last 12 games against NC State, including six of the last seven in College Park. O’Brien has yet to beat Maryland at Byrd Stadium, part of a stat that will likely be repeated often this week: NC State is 0-13 in Atlantic Division road games under O’Brien, and going back further State has lost 16 straight divisional road contests.
“Just means I am a bad coach against opponents in our conference on the road,” O’Brien said. “It’s my fault when we lose. I’ll try to be a better coach this week.”
Ben Broman (Testudotimes.com)
Maryland Terrapins-N.C. State Wolfpack Game Vitals: So This Game Is Actually Important
Season So Far: State hasn’t blown teams out of the water, but they’re 4-2 nonetheless, and with a win over Florida State already posted they’re a sleeper ACC Atlantic contender. They didn’t put up too much of a fight against Tennessee in the opener, but beat UConn by three in Storrs before posting easy wins over cupcakes (South Alabama and Citadel.) They played Miami close in Coral Gables and were only a Stephen Morris Hail Mary away from winning, but they gave up an ACC-record 566 passing yards and ultimately lost. Beating FSU, though, has a way of making everything a little better. If they beat Maryland on Saturday, you have to start wondering if they might not be able to
Notable Stats: Neither N.C. State’s offense nor their defense is particularly efficient; they’re 10th in the ACC (87th nationally) in yards per play offensively, and 9th (91st nationally) in yards per play defensively. The gross numbers look much better, but that’s because they’ve taken more offensive snaps per game than anyone in the ACC bar Clemson, and had to defend fewer than anyone bar Florida State. How? They hold onto the ball. They possess the ball, on average, 32:19 a game, 2nd in the ACC, and are 4th in the country in 3rd-down defense, so their defense gets off the field quick. Their rush D is stout, at 4th in the ACC in rushing defense and 4th in yards per carry, so after what Maryland accomplished against Virginia on Saturday, I’m guessing they won’t try to rely on the ground game. The good news: they’re really, really bad against the pass, dead-last in the conference in passing D and 117th nationally in yards per attempt. They don’t give up a bunch of completions – they allow only allow about 19 completions per game, if you can believe it. They just get torched deep, having allowed 11 passing plays of over 40 yards already this season.
Oh, and this will be fun: N.C. State has the second-most sacks in the conference, going up against the leakiest offensive line in the ACC in Maryland. The only team with more sacks than State? That’d be the Terps, who themselves will be playing State’s 2nd-leakiest offensive line in the ACC. Yikes.
CAULTON TUDOR (N&O)
IN LETTER TO FANS, WAKE FOREST ADDRESSES ATHLETES’ TROUBLES
Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman and football coach Jim Grobe issued an open letter to fans Monday on the school’s website.
Addressed – to some degree – was the matter of recent football suspensions. Six players were suspended for the Deacons’ 19-14 loss at Maryland on Oct. 6. The defeat left Wake 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the ACC.
Then on Saturday, Grobe announced that two more players – junior safety Duran Lowe and junior offensive lineman Devin Bolling – have been dismissed for the remainder of the season.
Although no reason was given, the Winston-Salem Journal reported both were arrested and charged with marijuana violations by the city police department on Oct. 9.
Suspended for the game against Maryland were linebacker Mike Olson, running back Deandre Martin, wideout Airyn Willis, guard Frank Souza and defensive backs Merrill Noel and Daniel Mack. Their status for Saturday’s game against Virginia (2-5, 0-3) has not been announced.
Jim Young (N&O)
ACC Football Power Rankings, Oct. 15
4. N.C. State (4-2, 1-1)
This is where the rankings start to get dicey. Should I really rank the Wolfpack ahead of Miami, which beat N.C. State head-to-head? Here are my reasons. 1) State’s loss at Miami was filled with self-inflicted wounds. I still feel like the Wolfpack wins the majority of times on a neutral field. 2) The Canes followed that win with two straight losses, while State responded with a win over FSU. 3) I like State’s future outlook (Maryland, Virginia and Wake are three of next four opponents) better than Miami’s (Stephen Morrisis hurt and FSU and Virginia Tech are next on the schedule).
Last week’s ranking: 5
Next game: at Maryland, 3:30 p.m.
7. Maryland (4-2, 2-0)
Once again, you can address your apology tweets to @RandyEdsall. But while the Maryland head coach deserves some back slaps, I’ve come to praise his coordinators today. We all know about how offensive coordinator Mike Locksley helped reel in top recruit Stefon Diggs check out his kickoff return here – and he’s done a good job turning true freshman quarterback Perry Hills into a serviceable player. But what about defensive coordinator Brian Stewart? He inherited a unit that was in the ACC in total yardage last season and now has it at No. 2 in the league. Not bad.
Now, can the Terps keep things rolling? Clearly I think pretty highly of N.C. State, so I’m inclined to go with the Wolfpack this week.
Last week’s ranking: No. 9
Next game: vs. N.C. State, 3:30 p.m.
Adam Gold (WRALSportsfan.com)
This week’s winners: the empty set
Team of the week…
Maryland ran their record to 4-2 with a win in Charlottesville thanks to another spectacular day from freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs brought back the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and added 4 catches for 89 yards including a 60 yard catch-and-run that set up another score as the Terrapins won for just the second time in their last six meetings with the Cavaliers. Hard to believe, but the Terps totaled -2 yards rushing on the day. That’s not a typo, and it isn’t a case of the quarterback being sacked a bunch of times which does damage to a team’s rushing totals. Take out the two sacks of quarterback Perry Hills and Maryland still only gained 10 yards on 27 carries. I’m not sure exactly how you win a game like that, but the Terps found a way. Should make the Wolfpack’s trip north to College Park this Saturday something to watch.
Top to Bottom of the week…
1-Florida State (6-1)…imagine if FSU wasn’t looking past the Eagles to this week’s game at Miami?
2-Clemson (5-1)…John Swofford needs to mandate that the Tigers never have a bye week. We need them for TV.
3-NC State (4-2)…Not sure who had farther to go to come back down to earth, the Wolfack or Felix Baumgartner.
4-North Carolina (5-2)…If the NCAA kept a stat on missed tackles, the Tar Heels would lead the nation.
5-Virginia Tech (4-3)…They’re not going to beat anyone else playing the way they played against Duke.
6-Duke (5-2)…Bowl Watch continues after the Devils got stage fright with a 20-point lead.
7-Maryland (4-2)…Stefon Diggs was enough to beat Virginia.
8-Miami (4-3)…North Carolina was begging the Hurricanes to beat them. Miami refused.
9-Georgia Tech (2-4)…Now that Mr. Grumpypants is out of the way, maybe the Jackets can resurrect their season.
10-Wake Forest (3-3)…They’re not nearly as bad as either Boston College or Virginia.
11-Virginia (2-5)…You do realize that you lost to a team with -2 yards rushing, right?
12-Boston College (1-5)…Any loss to the Eagles should get the head coach fired on the field.
Heather Dinich (ESPN.com)
2012 ACC midseason report
For six weeks, the ACC had its national title contender in unbeaten and No. 3-ranked Florida State. It had its Heisman hopeful in FSU quarterback EJ Manuel. And it had enhanced its stability and reputation for the future with its partnership with Notre Dame.
And then came the crash.
What was pure bliss for NC State in Week 6 was devastating to the ACC. In stunning, dramatic fashion, NC State quarterback Mike Glennon completed three fourth-down passes in the final drive of the fourth quarter, leading the Pack to a 17-16 upset of Florida State. Instantaneously, the league faded back into irrelevance in the national picture. No longer could the ACC mask an otherwise abysmal season with its top-five team.
Suddenly, the rest of the ACC’s warts seemed uglier.
Georgia Tech fired its defensive coordinator, Al Groh. After coming up short in losses to two Big East teams, Bud Foster’s Virginia Tech defense allowed North Carolina to score more points — 48 — than any other ACC team has ever scored against the Hokies. Boston College lost to a previously winless Army team, further indicating this could be Frank Spaziani’s last season as head coach. Wake Forest suspended six players for its game at Maryland and two more the following week. Two of the league’s brightest stars — NC State cornerback David Amerson and Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins — have yet to shine like they did a year ago, but two rookies — Maryland’s Stefon Diggs and Miami’s Duke Johnson — emerged as household names in ACC country.
Best game: Florida State at NC State. This one changed the entire season, and it couldn’t have come in more thrilling fashion. On fourth down with 16 seconds left, Mike Glennon threw what would be the game-winning 2-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Underwood for the 17-16 win. It was the highest-ranked opponent NC State has defeated since beating No. 2 Florida State 24-7 in 1998, and it opened up the Atlantic Division race.
Newcomer of the year: Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs. He became the only Maryland freshman to record back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since at least 1985, and one of those performances came against West Virginia. Diggs is the only player in the ACC, and one of two nationally, with 350 receiving yards, 150 punt return yards and 150 kickoff return yards (joining Bernard Reedy of Toledo). Diggs leads the ACC and ranks third nationally with 21.5 yards per catch.
Heather Dinich (ESPN.com)
ACC power rankings: Week 8
3. NC State (4-2, 1-1; LW: No. 5) — The Wolfpack had a bye week to digest their upset of then-No. 3-ranked Florida State and turn their focus to Saturday’s trip to Maryland. Quarterback Mike Glennon made three fourth-down completions in the fourth quarter last week and will be looking for another important Atlantic Division win.
6. Maryland (4-2, 2-0; LW: No. 7) — The Terps are the only ACC team still undefeated in league play, and they are leading the Atlantic Division standings. They’ll face much stiffer competition when NC State visits on Saturday, but Maryland’s defense has kept it in every game this season and is one of the best in the ACC.
Andrea Adelson (ESPN.com)
ACC Week 8 sneak peek
Virginia Tech (4-3, 2-1) at No. 19 Clemson (5-1, 2-1). These two teams got quite familiar with each other last year, when they played twice — once during the regular season and once in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson won both — the only time in Virginia Tech history it lost to the same team twice in one season. Are the Hokies truly back, or did they get the benefit of playing a Duke team last week that was not quite ready for prime time? They got an incredible performance from running back J.C. Coleman, who ran for 183 yards against the Blue Devils. He will be a key to watch, as Clemson has struggled once again to stop the run, ranking No. 99 in the nation. Clemson, meanwhile, goes into the game off a bye and brings its own outstanding running back to the table in Andre Ellington. Virginia Tech also has struggled to slow down the run, so Ellington could be in line for a big game.
NC State (4-2, 1-1) at Maryland (4-2, 2-0). Your Atlantic Division leaders ladies and gentlemen — Maryland! Bet you did not think this game would be critical in the race for the division crown back when the season started. But this is the ACC, so we always expect the unexpected. NC State has to win this game if it wants to keep pace in the race. The Wolfpack had a bye after their huge victory over then-No. 3 Florida State, so we will see if they can pick up where they left off and avoid any letdowns. They will face a huge test in slowing down Stefon Diggs, who had 239 all-purpose yards last week in a win over Virginia. Maryland, meanwhile, has to find a way to cut down on its turnovers to give itself a chance. The Terps rank No. 110 in the nation in turnover margin.
O’Brien: Glennon’s played exceptionally well
Tom O’Brien talked to the media ahead of the Wolfpack’s game against Maryland Saturday and said quarterback Mike Glennon has been playing exceptionally well.
Slay: It’s right back to business
NC State’s Brian Slay said the team is right back to business after the bye week.
Payton: Glennon did all the work
NC State’s Quintin Payton said he had the easy part in catching the ball and that Mike Glennon did all the work.