NC STATE FOOTBALL
Joe Giglio (N&O)
Wolfpack gets set for UNC back Gio Bernard
There’s no need to explain to N.C. State the value of North Carolina running back Gio Bernard.
The Wolfpack defense knows the best way to beat the Tar Heels is to hold Bernard in check. That’s what happened last year when the two teams met in Raleigh, a 13-0 N.C. State win.
“Gio is such a great running back,” N.C. State running back Tony Creecy said. “He has speed, he has vision, he’s a strong running back.”
Then Creecy threw in a qualifier.
“But with our defense, I think they can control him,” Creecy said of the N.C. State defense. “We’re not going to stop him but we’re going to put him under control.”
That’s what N.C. State’s defense, led by linebackers Terrell Manning and Audie Cole, did in last year’s win over the Heels.
Bernard ran for 47 yards, on 18 carries, and had two catches for 26 yards against the Wolfpack. Two of Bernard’s rushes covered 24 yards – including a 13-yarder on UNC’s first offensive play of the game – but another 16 attempts went for just 23 yards. State’s defense also sacked Bernard on a halfback pass attempt.
Andrew Carter (N&O)
After countdown, UNC-N.C. State week finally here
One day later, UNC players arrived at the Kenan Football Center for their usual Sunday practice. They went into their locker room and found N.C. State paraphernalia everywhere.
There were red and white streamers and balloons. Pictures of N.C. State players celebrating after a victory. Signs with a hand on them that said, “Five in a row.” There were signs with N.C. State’s logo and the words, “Our State,” plastered on them.
It didn’t take long for UNC players to figure out who had decorated the room red. It was Fedora and his staff.
“The whole locker room was red,” Bryn Renner, the UNC quarterback, said. “It was almost like he went to Party City, and put up all the flyers and the big hoopla. Definitely walking in, the magnitude of this game [was clear].
“… We need to have a good week of practice and just come ready to play. So I think that’s what his message was.”
Fedora downplayed the decorations, saying, “I don’t know if that’s a big deal or not.”
“We have stuff in the locker room each week on teams,” he said. “… We do things to motivate our players, I’m sure just like everybody else does.”
But not like this, said offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper. By the time he arrived in the locker room on Sunday, most of the N.C. State stuff had been torn down. It sat in a big pile, trashed.
Cooper, though, went through the pile and found a couple of items to put up inside his locker. One was a picture of jubilant N.C. State players celebrating. Another was a picture of the hand, with “five in a row” written on it.
“I took some of the stuff and put it up in my locker, just as a reminder that they have beat us five consecutive times,” Cooper said. “I don’t want to end my senior season with that on my record.”
Pack Trio Earns Weekly ACC Honors
A trio of NC State football players received ACC honors for the Pack’s comeback 20-18 win at Maryland on Saturday. Bryan Underwood was named the ACC Receiver of the Week, T.Y. McGill was the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week, and Niklas Sade was the ACC Specialist of the Week.
Kickoff for Virginia Game on Nov. 3 is 12:30
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Monday Morning Quarterbacking
Three things that worked:
1. Throwing against Maryland’s defense
NCSU fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon completed 23 of 47 passes, less than 50 percent, but they went for 307 yards. He also had two touchdown throws and did not turn the ball over once. Only one-time Heisman Trophy leading candidate Geno Smith of West Virginia threw the ball for more yards against Maryland’s stout defense. The line deserve kudos for only giving up two sacks as well to one of the top pass rushing teams in the league.
2. Preparing for the Perry Hills Maryland offense
At halftime Maryland had 200 total yards, which was a surprising total, but they held the Terps to just three points. State sacked Hills four times, and Maryland had just 41 rushing yards at the break. Maryland was just 2 of 9 on third down conversions and punted six times in the first half.
3. Coming through in clutch
State’s defense held for a crucial three-and-out, the lone of the second half, on Maryland’s next to last drive. By using its three timeouts, State was able to allow only 23 seconds to go off the clock and took over at its own 20 with 2:17 left. Then Glennon led a 10-play, 54-yard drive to the Maryland 26, and sophomore Niklas Sade came through with a 43-yard game-winner with 32 seconds left.
Three things that did not work:
1. Adjusting to quarterback change
Tom O’Brien said after the game the worst thing that may have happened to State was Hills hurting his knee at the end of the first half. Sophomore Devin Burns’ athleticism, he is a converted wide receiver, was a difficult matchup to defend when given little time to prepare for in practice during the week. The result was 165 rushing yards in the second half, more than Maryland had in any game total this year.
2. Putting Maryland away when they had a chance
State was up 7-3 when they had first and goal at the Maryland 4. Glennon misfired on three straight passes. On the third down and goal play in particular, NCSU seemed to be rushing the play off after some confusion getting lined up and may have been safer calling one of their three timeouts.
Instead State had to settle for a short field goal. NCSU twice had possessions at the end of the first half to get another score, key because the Pack had the ball to start the second half. Both times they punted, and Amerson’s long pick six was taken off the board by a block in the back penalty, albeit a questionable one. The Pack could have put Maryland in a big hole that would have been tough for their offense to climb out of had State taken advantage of its chances.
3. Running the football
Not a great afternoon for the Wolfpack running backs. Starter Tony Creecy, a redshirt sophomore, in particular struggled to gain traction. He carried 17 times for just 35 yards, and his one reception resulted in a three-yard loss. Curiously freshman tailback Shadrach Thornton ran just six times for 21 yards and had an eight-yard grab, but it was Creecy who got almost all the playing time in the second half.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Tom O’Brien impressed with UNC’s offensive line
- Fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon has led back-to-back game-winning drives, first versus No. 3 Florida State and then last Saturday at Maryland.
“I think that’s a big confidence builder, especially for the quarterback,” O’Brien said. “You have to be able to have success in those situations, and I think then the whole team has confidence in the quarterback.”
Glennon’s counterpart Saturday is practically a neighbor. Both Renner and Glennon grew up in northern Virginia, but their similarities end there according to O’Brien.
“I think he couldn’t play in their offense,” O’Brien said about Glennon. “Renner could play in our offense because he’s had in previous years. I don’t think Mike is that type to run the option and do all that. We could ask him to do it, but that’s certainly not his strength, and we wouldn’t do that, maybe.”
- Florida State is No. 1 in the conference in rushing defense, and Maryland is No. 2. North Carolina is No. 3, and O’Brien joked that at least State is going in the right direction in playing teams with good rushing defenses.
But UNC is coming off a game where Duke ran for 234 yards. The week before Miami rushed for 180 yards. Is there a potential opening for State to attack?
“They got good coaches over there,” O’Brien said. “They are going to look at that and say, ‘Why did that happen and let’s correct them.’ That’s one thing that you do. If you have a problem with something you make sure that’s corrected cause you figure the other team is going to try to take advantage of it. I would think they would be working hard on that.
“We still have to do what we do best.”
Depth Chart: NC State vs. UNC
ACC Media Relations (accsports.com)
ACC Players Of The Week, Oct. 22
RECEIVER – Bryan Underwood, NC State, R-Sophomore, WR, 5-11, 174, University Heights, Ohio Underwood hauled in six receptions for 134 yards in the Wolfpack’s 20-18 victory over Maryland in College Park. He played 57 snaps from scrimmage. The redshirt sophomore scored on a 68-yard strike from quarterback Mike Glennon in the third quarter, and had a 17-yard catch on the Pack’s final offensive drive en route to the winning field goal. Underwood has scored a receiving touchdown in seven straight games – a Wolfpack record and just two games shy of the ACC record.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – T.Y. McGill, NC State, Sophomore, DT, 6-1, 298, Jesup, Ga. McGill anchored the defensive front that tallied six sacks in the 20-18 win at Maryland. While in for just 32 snaps from scrimmage, he made eight total tackles (six solo) and had two sacks for a total of 16 yards.
SPECIALIST – Niklas Sade, NC State, Sophomore, PK, 6-3, 200, Wake Forest, N.C. Sade kicked the game-winning field goal with 32 seconds left on the clock at Maryland to give the Wolfpack a 20-18 lead. The sophomore also booted a 21-yarder earlier in the contest. Sade started out the season 2 for 5 on field goals and has since gone 5 for 5. He hit both extra points and kicked off five times against the Terrapins, averaging 60.6 yards and had one touchback.
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
ACC suspends UNC’s Rashad, two officials for Duke incident
Upon further review, the presnap hit by North Carolina’s Shakeel Rashad on Duke’s Conner Vernon on Saturday was, in fact, intentional.
That was the ruling of the ACC on Monday, as the league suspended the freshman linebacker for one game for what was termed “a dangerous collision against an Duke player during a substitution in the second quarter.”
In addition to Rashad, head linesman Tyrone Davis and side judge Angie Bartis have also been suspended for a game for their “failure to adhere to correct mechanics of the game and rules related to player safety.”
In addition to the suspensions in the Duke-UNC game, the ACC also reprimanded the entire officiating crew from the game between Florida State and Miami. Crew chief David Epperley was suspended for a game for “failure to properly administer the 10-second runoff rule at the end of the first half.”
Fedora: “Shakeel is a really good kid who would never intentionally attempt to injure another player. Obviously, it was an unusual play, but knowing the type of young man that Shakeel is, I know he did not intentionally make contact with Conner. We were still making substitutions as Duke was lining up for its next play. Shakeel was trying to get on the field as quickly as possible and inadvertently ran into the receiver. We spoke after the game and Shakeel said he did not mean to collide with him. We’re just glad that no one was injured.”
Rashad: “I want to apologize to Duke’s Conner Vernon for running into him during Saturday’s game. I was in a hurry to get on the field and focused on where I was going. I have been playing football for most of my life and I have never been involved in that type of incident. I did not mean to run into him and I’m glad he was not hurt. He’s a great receiver and I wish him the best.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
UNC’s Fedora gives his take on the Rashad-Vernon incident
“They were in a hurry-up mode,” Fedora said at his weekly Monday press conference. “(Rashad) should have already been out there and as he’s scrambling. He’s running out on the field and the receiver takes a couple of steps and he kind of gets into him before he thought he was going to get into him.
“He started to turn his shoulder and ran into the guy. There was no intention whatsoever on his part, I assure you, to run into the guy.”
After reviewing the tape, Fedora said he doesn’t think anything should come of it.
“I’ve looked at it very closely,” he said. “It happened basically the way I though it happened on the field.
“First of all, you’ve got to know Rashad. He’s one of the nicest kids we have on our football team. I assure you there was no intention of harming the other player. Actually, there was no intention on his part to run into him.”
As with any story, there are two sides to this one. And not surprisingly, Duke coach David Cutcliffe saw the play a bit differently.
“It was full speed and there was no intent to avoid,” he said during his Sunday teleconference. “We were going to turn it in but we understand now that the conference office is looking at it, and I’ll be interested to see what they say.
“People have seen it, you’ve seen it on television, I’ve just never seen anything quite like it. I was amazed when I saw that this morning. I don’t know. I’m kind of speechless about it. I’ve never had that happen in my entire career. Very unusual.”
Ben Swain (accsports.com)
ACCross The Web, October 23
What an awful weekend for ACC referees though. At Death Valley, the replay officials failed to overturn a pair of obvious calls, one that would have benefitted Clemson and another that would have benefitted Virginia Tech. The officials then completely impacted the momentum of the game as they ruled Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas to be “in the grasp”, blowing the play dead and nullifying a key third-down conversion. How questionable was the call? Clemson’s Josh Watson firmly planted his tongue in the side of cheek and said of the call, “There’s no video in the stat book. It counts as a sack, so I’ll take it.”
In addition to the usual holding/no-call complaints we all hear out of Tallahassee each Saturday, the officials decided to spice things up a bit with three offensive pass interference calls against the Seminoles during the Miami game. THREE. From Tallahassee Democrat beat writer Corey Clark, there have been three offensive pass interference calls all season long in ACC games. If my math is correct, that means all three calls happened against the Seminoles in just one game. Factor those calls in with a complete ignorance of the mandatory 10 second run-off rule at the end of the first half and you have an entire crew receiving letters of reprimand from the league office, and the crew chief, David Epperley, gets an unpaid bye week next Saturday.
He won’t be the only ACC official spending Saturday at home. Head linesman Tyrone Davis and side judge Angie Bartis have also been suspended by the ACC for “failure to adhere to correct mechanics of the game and rules related to player safety”, all stemming from North Carolina freshman Shakeel Rashad running through Duke receiver Conner Vernon before a play in the second quarter in Wallace Wade Stadium. Rashad also received a suspension for the alleged cheap shot, a play that brought retaliation from Duke’s Brian Moore on a technically legal, but nasty cut block that injured Tar Heel defensive lineman Tim Jackson. (Note: we didn’t write the headlines for either of those YouTube clips).
AARON BEARD (AP)
Tar Heels still trying to finish close games
North Carolina hasn’t proven it can consistently win close games under Larry Fedora just yet.
The Tar Heels (5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) are coming off a 33-30 loss at Duke in which they surrendered the go-ahead touchdown with 13 seconds left. They’re 1-3 in games decided by five or fewer points heading into Saturday’s game against rival North Carolina State, which has won two straight with go-ahead scores in the final minute.
While all four close games have come on the road, Fedora is still waiting for his team — whether it’s the offense chasing a score or the defense needing a stop — to respond in those game-deciding moments.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of confidence,” Fedora said. “But if you continue to do that, eventually you’re going to question yourself, there’s no doubt about it. That’s human nature. That’s something we’ve got to work on as a coaching staff, to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Brian Barbour (tarheelfanblog.com)
The Monday Morning Vent
So UNC has lost to Wake and Duke, beating NCSU is a must to salvage the season right?
Yes and no. On one hand if UNC loses to NCSU but finds a way to win out, going 8-4 is nothing to sneeze at for Larry Fedora in his first year. From an intellectual standpoint the season is fairly successful. However when you factor in the emotional aspects, especially from the fan base, the season would lack any meaningful wins beyond having beaten both schools from Virginia should UNC win out.
There are also the team’s stated goals which were to win the mythical state championship and finish first in the Coastal Division. While the first of those is no longer possibe, the second is still viable should UNC run the table and get some help in the form two more Duke losses. Since Duke plays both FSU and Clemson the Devils could end up 5-3 in ACC play. UNC can still finish 6-2 putting them one game ahead of Duke and owning tiebreakers against everyone else. Yes, it is a tall order but still doable.
That has to start on Saturday with NC State where UNC can end five years of futility and notch a huge rivalry win heading into the bye week. It would give UNC a signature win this season, something fans and players alike can hang their hats on while giving a nice emotional boost heading into the home stretch. In short, much of how this season will be viewed rides on Saturday.
One more thing, Gio Bernard is totally going to the NFL after this season right?
Yes he is but that is what happens when you have a player who goes for 132 yards per game and 795 yards in six game. Bernard is freaking awesome so enjoy him while he lasts.
NC STATE BASKETBALL
CBSSports.com College Basketball Staff
2012-13 College Basketball Previews
Bottom line: There are going to be very few instances this season where North Carolina State is not the more talented team on the floor. But that doesn’t mean the Wolfpack are going to win every game. They were inconsistent last season, and it’s tough to assume they will play the entire year like they did during the impressive March run. Leslie and Brown are two of the best players in the ACC, but Leslie needs to take that next step and become a force on the inside. If NC State plays to its potential, a deep March run could be in store.
NC State has a target on its back this season — both from opponents and from its rabid fan base. The Wolfpack have expectations heading into the year, expectations that Raleigh hasn’t seen in quite awhile. Are Gottfried and the Wolfpack ready to handle that?
Quote from an opposing coach in the league: “I don’t know that they are that good. They’re super-talented, but to be honest, there are some question marks. People are falling in love with the talent of the team, but I’m not sure they’re a proven team. They’re a very, very talented team. They have guys that can score at every position. Wood is a great shooter, and they have a lot of stuff around the basket. Good balance, that’s what scares you.
“The influx of talented guys is going to be interesting. They’re local guys, McDonald’s All-Americans who have a sense of, ‘Hey, I came here to be a star.’ It’s not a bad problem to have, but it could be a problem. I think they’re going to have to deal with some of the factors that go along with being as talented as they are. As far as chemistry, as far as having the target. Those intangible things for them are significant.”
Jeff Goodman (CBSSports.com)
Ten thoughts, observations about N.C. State
Here are my observations after catching N.C. State practice on Saturday:
1) These guys have more overall talent and fit together better than those teams down the road in Chapel Hill and Durham, but what honestly puts N.C. State over the top is at the point guard position. When you compare Lorenzo Brown to either Marcus Paige or Quinn Cook, it’s not even close.
2) Brown is an elite point guard. Not just in the ACC, but in the entire country. There’s nothing this kid can’t do. He’s got the physical tools — the size and scoring ability, but now he’s added command of the point guard position. He simply does it all: He makes his teammates better, can shoot it from deep, gets into the lane, is able to post-up smaller point guards and also defends. If N.C. State wins the ACC this season, Brown will be the primary reason. “I wouldn’t trade him for anyone,” Gottfried said. Coaches say that about their guys all the time, but I honestly believe Gottfried on this one.
3) Freshman Rodney Purvis is much further ahead than I expected him to be at this point. Remember, he missed the overseas trip and wasn’t cleared by the NCAA until mid-September. He is a prolific scorer who is used to getting 20 or so shots per game. Now he’ll probably average 10 — if he’s lucky. Anyway, Purvis was extremely unselfish for most of the practice — until Brown and backup point guard Tyler Lewis were paired with one another — and that’s when Purvis decided to do work and put points on the board. Purvis can get 20 on any given night, but I’m not sure how often it’ll happen this season with four veterans around him. “I understand people have questions about us and whether we will accept our roles,” Purvis said. “We just have to do what’s best for the team and we’re all willing to do that.”
4) I’m still not sold that C.J. Leslie is a first-team All-American, but here’s what he is: A tremendous athlete who has become a much better basketball player. He’s not just a pogo stick anymore. He is making better decisions and his skill level has improved. He may put up better numbers than Brown, but Brown is this team’s best and most valuable player.
Weekly Tom O’Brien TV Show
In this week’s episode head football coach Tom O’Brien breaks down the Maryland game with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with defensive lineman Brian Slay and previews next week’s game against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Video reel: NC State press conferences for UNC
Motivation strategies kick off rivalry week
Larry Fedora decorated the UNC locker room red and Tom O’Brien said he has some things planned for his team in preparation for the UNC-NC State rivalry game on Saturday.
Wolff: We don’t want to be the team that loses
Earl Wolff talks about NC State’s 5 game winning streak saying he doesn’t want to be a part of the team that ends that streak.
Fedora: This is the game
Larry Fedora is new to this rivalry, but he already understands what it means to UNC.
Logan: Coaches prepare the emotional gameplan
Joining Mark and Mike Monday, Steve Logan said that entering a weekend in college football, it is the head coaches job to prepare the team emotionally and the coordinators job physically.
Dan Kane (N&O)
More plagiarism questions haunt UNC-CH
As the spring 2011 semester wound to a close, UNC-Chapel Hill football player Erik Highsmith had nothing to show for the blog students were supposed to contribute to for a communications class, his instructor said. The blog accounted for 30 percent of a student’s grade.
Highsmith wrote two posts in seven days. The first was about poultry farming, the second about people and pets.
Very little of either post was in his own words.
The first entry was virtually identical to a passage on an education website written by four 11-year-olds for their peers. The second mirrored much of an essay someone posted onUrch.com, a website that helps people prepare for the SAT, GRE and other college entry exams.
Instructor J. Nikol Beckham said she spotted the plagiarism and reported it to the academic support program for student athletes. By then, an NCAA investigation had turned up numerous examples of a tutor providing improper help to football players, and Beckham was concerned the plagiarism went beyond Highsmith and her class.
“I suggested that they consider that this isn’t an isolated incident,” she said, “and I expressed my disappointment considering everything that had been going on for the last year. And I received a great deal of assurances that it would be handled.”
Doc Kennedy (tarheelfanblog.com)
Dan Kane Strikes Again with Help From State Fans
Then on Sunday, Kane drops a story about alleged plagiarism by current UNC player Erik Highsmith in a blog post completed for an assignment in a Communications 350 class in the Spring of 2011. The blog entry was copied from another blog authored by 11 year-olds and was turned in late, so the instructor had already given Highsmith a grade of zero on the assignment. The instructor did not notify the UNC Honor Court because she had already given Highsmith a zero, but she did notify the athletic advising department, who assured her the student would be spoken to. A review of the blog posts revealed that former player Donte Paige-Moss also plagiarized a blog post for the same course and while the instructor did not catch that offense, Paige-Moss was late on the assignment as well and also received a grade penalty.
Kane then attempts to weakly connect these incidents of plagiarism to the Michael McAdoo case, as trumpeted by the breathless headline, “More plagiarism questions haunt UNC-CH”. He does concede that it is unclear what final grade either Highsmith or Paige-Moss received for the class, but that since the blog was 30% of the final grade, Highsmith would have to had very high marks to earn a C.
So let me get this straight: a student-athlete plagiarized a passage for a blog post, received a zero for the assignment, and likely did not pass the course. That’s crack investigative reporting right there. Of course, it wouldn’t be Klassic Kane without a little innuendo thrown in there, as well as a quote from UNC history professor and academic crusader Jay Smith, who lashes out at the culture of plagiarism that he claims is accepted “among a certain subculture of athletes” and their counselors and tutors.
Also adding intrigue – and concern – to the story is the revelation that the blog posts were found on UNC’s servers – by NC State fans. The vision of WuffLoons living in their mothers’ basements, writing code to scour tens of thousands of UNC webpages to find anything produced by athletes and then cross-checking it for plagiarism while gorging on Hot Pockets and reruns of “Xena, Warrior Princess” does little to dispel the stereotype of being obsessed with UNC.