Saturday’s Spring Game

NC State held its annual Spring Football game on Saturday.

Intra-squad scrimmages in any sport are very difficult to watch because you are constantly asking yourself questions like, “Did the offense do poorly/well because the defense is good/bad…or vice-versa? I first learned this lesson in the mid to late 80’s when Teviin Binns went off for 40+ points in the Red-White game only to never be heard from again.

The News & Observer set the stage for their coverage of the game by highlighting what went wrong last year:

“Inconsistent quarterback play, a slew of turnovers and penalties, and injuries often were blamed last season for N.C. State’s slide to a 5-6 record.”

Spring Game Discussion
The RedandWhiteofState has a detailed look at what they saw on Saturday, and it was all about the defense. The official story on highlighted the play of Bobby Washington at Running Back and Brian Clark at Wide Receiver.

BW: It is nice to see Washington succeeding. He was a consensus national Top 10 running back coming out of high school, but his performance rookie last year was unspectacular. It was clear that by the middle and end of last year that the other freshman, Darrell Blackman was performing at a much higher level than BW.

— I would have liked to have seen BW run from an I-formation some last year. But, Noel Mazzone had obviously never learned that the I was legal in college football. Running behind a FB, or even Reggie Davis, may have benefited BW.

— There remains lots of talk that, in light of our depth at the tailback/halfback position, that one RB’s may be moved to wide receiver. When Toney Baker and Andre Brown get to the campus in the fall, the Wolfpack is going to be loaded in the backfield. I have NOTHING on which base my speculation…but I would have to think that BW would be a great fit at wide out.

— My only other thought is that Darrell Blackman proved himself a great ball catcher last season (remember the one-handed grab at Maryland). If Washington’s spring game performance was an indication that he is coming into his own in the backfield, then maybe Blackman makes the move.

BC: Great news that senior wide out, Brian Clark looked so good on Saturday. Clark has all of the tools to make it on the next level, but his junior season was a relative-flop after he was seemingly poised to breakout after a solid sophomore season. Last year, after almost everybody expected Clark to be the heir apparent to Jerricho Cotchery’s success (who followed Koren Robinson who followed Tory Holt who basically followed Eddie Goines). The N&O’s spring game article focused on Clark.

With Richard Washington and Chris Hawkins’ departures and Sterling Hicks’ battles with injuries, the Wolfpack’s receiving corp needs some depth AND someone to rise to “stud status” to complement the dangerous Tramain Hall. If Clark becomes the stud and one of the running backs fills the need for depth, the Wolfpack’s offensive balance should be well positioned to be highly effective in 2005.

Some other comments that I gleaned from speaking with a few friends that were there:

* Both quarterback’s happy feet seemed to have improved. Marcus Stone seemed to show more improvement than Davis because, of course, he had significantly more room for improvement. Caulton Tudor added some perspective to the quarterback discussion as well as our entire offense in this article.

* Still some highly inaccurate passes that were bouncing around receivers.

* Few, if any, bubble screens!!! Thank God.

* Offense looked much better in the 2nd half than in the first. Don’t know what that means.

* Offensive line was disappointing after hearing so many positive things about the expectations of the line. Is this because our defense is so good? I wonder how much Garret Kline’s projected impact was integrated in some of the OLine praise that I have heard in the off-season?

Surplus of Stupidity
Evidently…anything NOT taking place on the field was a complete cluster****. Unfortunately, it was what too many people have come to expect as “typical NC State”. Don’t know where the accountability falls for all of the operational problems that existed on Saturday…but, it is probably not fair to “blame” any single contingency.

Living in Houston made my attendance on Saturday impossible. But, I got multiple reports from friends who went to the game that that traffic control was horrible, food and drink vendors were sparse and ran out of product very early. One friend reported that they were out of drinks and popcorn BEFORE the game started.

The excuse propagated was that “they” never expected such a large turnout. Hmmmm…considering that the turnout was estimated to be about (or a little less) than LAST YEAR’S turnout…how could this be. Don’t get me wrong…I am sure that “they” didn’t estimate such a large turnout. Therein is the problem.

I got three different phone calls on Saturday from friends who were bored, exhausted, and pissed while waiting in line to pay for items in the Athletics Department’s surplus sale. Their complaints were very consistent with the various threads on message boards that are criticizing the sale and sharing their frustrations with each other. This is just one of those links.

Parting Shots
* Nice picture of Vaughn Towers.

* More pictures of the new structure. It is kind of weird looking. The structure is so clean and crisp that it almost looks like a drawing or computer generated picture. I can’t wait to get to Carter-Finley this year to see how it is all coming together. One thing that I can wait for is to see how bad our YMCA-field lights look atop such a large and attractive stadium.

* Q&A with the new Defensive Coordinator didn’t seem to yield very much.

General NCS Football

4 Responses to Saturday’s Spring Game

  1. BJD95 04/18/2005 at 1:37 PM #

    I can vouch for the concessions disaster – which was a real surprise, given that I’ve had no problem getting a quick snack (popcorn, drinks) fro my kids at past spring games. I will also agree on the surplus sale – I wanted to get T-shirts for my wife and kids, but I didn’t have enough “dedication” (or lunacy) to stand in line for 3 hours to get to the ONE cash register. Frankly, I could have just grabbed the shirts and walked off with them (T-shirt racks were completely unsupervised). If I knew where to send payment afterwards (as I am not a thief), I probably would have done so.

    Back to the game – BW looked great, Marcus Stone had the best single throw (made me almost want to weep re the untapped potential), but Jay Davis also seemed to be faster on his reads than in the past. Maybe there is hope for him after all.

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