NC State’s Student Newspaper, Technician has an article titled, “Hires could make, break Amato” written by Austin Johnson.
This is the first work by Johnson that I have read and I think that the basis of his article is on point with reality…even if his accuracy could stand a little improvement:
The Wolfpack just kept giving over the holiday season, losing defensive coordinator Reggie Herring to Alabama,
(mmmm…that is Arkansas…the Razorbacks…home of Frank Broyles…a successful stop for Lou Holtz…Joe Pate’s home in between stops in Raleigh…)
I’ve never read anything by Johnson as I don’t read the Technician as much as I once did. Over the years, I have grown tiresome of a parade of writers that seem to care much more about causing a ruckus and garnering attention with opinions instead of a focus on accuracy and exercising an ability to form deeply developed opinions. Nonetheless, as an alum it always fun/interesting to follow the Technician as the roster of writers changes and peaks (like the Tim Hunter years and J.P. Giglio’s assertiveness) and valleys (names will remain private) are created. Here is to hoping that Austin Johnson becomes one of the good ones.
Now…on to the football program…
Chuck Amato’s hires this year do have take on a stronger sensitivity than the average off-season (and I wish Johnson had spent a more time developing that point instead of cursorily touching the subject).
In my opinion, Chuck The Chest’s (CTC) most significant test this off-season is the opening for offensive coordinator opening. Face it, NC State’s defense is immensely deep and talented. A monkey should be able to coordinate them to at least acceptable performance. Add to the current talent base the fact that Amato is a defensive coach, and the need for a home-run with the defensive hire is diminished. Because of our defensive talent, the need for an extraordinary hire on the defensive side of the ball (let’s say Randy Shannon as an example) exists more in the need to attract positive attention to Chuck and re-create a buzz around the program than need for an exceptional x & o guy.
Conversely, the Offensive Coordinator’s job is significantly more important. After losing perhaps the greatest assistant coach in college football history, Norm Chow after just a single season, Amato will enter his sixth season with his fourth different offensive coordinator.
Chuck likes to speak of the “NC State Offensive System” as an amalgamation of Florida State, BYU, and other influences that he has picked-up along the way. This may very well be true, but almost nothing can compensate for a keen sense of play calling and successful button pushing at the exact right time – a gift that only certain coordinators seem to have. This “NC State System” failed with Noel Mazzone pushing the buttons as we have struggled mightily to score touchdowns (when reaching the opponents’ 10 yard line) over the last two seasons. Additionally, last season the coordinator of the system created abnormal complexity for inexperienced quarterbacks that resulted in an excessive amount of needless turnovers.
State fans should not look at the loss of Doc Holliday, Reggie Herring, and Noel Mazzone and hope or expect Amato to fill each position with coaches of equal nation stature. I think fans often overlook the need for a cohesive team of assistant coaches; a team that forms an efficient and effective system where different coaches competently execute their roles within the system.
The primary criteria for the replacement of the three current open positions on staff should be based on the skills and characteristics that NC State needs most to create that successful system. Not all three “name” coaches that we have lost need to therefore be replaced by similarly familiar names. Whomever Amato hires, the new coaches need to have personalities, experience, and skills that both supplement and complement the personalities, experience, and skills of our current staff. This is much more important than having recognizable name. No matter how much people will want to dissect and analyze the new hires, we ultimately won’t really know the success of the hires until sometime around October – November of 2005.