Not to beat a dead horse, but Lee Fowler’s open letter was ridiculous both substantively and procedurally. From a substantive standpoint, it’s pure blather. Mr. “I know basketball, and football too, I guess” points to football facilities that “we might not even have” if not for Chuck Amato. As a friend pointed out, most of these were already in the works before Chuck Amato was even hired. Amato’s early success did play some role in building momentum for the process, but as the old saying goes “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Amato knew expectations would be raised in tandem with the investments NC State faithful were making, and he seemed to embrace that – at least until he started having trouble meeting said standards. Sorry, Chuck, it just doesn’t work that way.
Implicit in the tenor of the Fowler letter is that we should have expected a rebuilding year of sorts. Such notions are contrary to all logic, even of the garden variety Fowler variety. NC State had every reason to be optimistic entering the season – a stable of dynamic running backs, the subtraction of Noel Mazzone, a supposedly more confident and competent Jay Davis, loads of returning defensive talent (including a defensive line that on paper looked to be the best in the nation). The schedule also set up nicely, ducking Miami and Virginia, while catching Virginia Tech early before Marcus Vick could shake off the rust resulting from his marijuana/child molesting suspension. The only argument against a solid bounceback year would be Amato’s back-to-back underperforming seasons (as related to the most reasonable of expectations) being a real trend, and not a blip on the radar screen. Thus, it should only be a down year if Amato is in fact in a true downward spiral.
Further, what exactly are we supposed to be patient for? Next season? Why would we expect that to be any better, other than for a possible artificially inflated early record due to a likely non-conference slate of Southern Miss, ECU, Akron, and Appy State (with only USM on the road)? We will have an unsettled QB situation, lose our only dependable CB (Marcus Hudson), and up to 3/4 of our already thin defensive line (Manny Lawson, almost certainly Mario Williams, and maybe even John McCargo). No, this is the year NC State absolutely had to break through, for 2006 looks very much like a rebuilding year. Only you can’t really rebuild when there’s no foundation to build upon.
What you can expect, unless NC State wins out or only loses one game the rest of the season, is for recruiting to dry up further. The statute of limitations has run out on the “program on the rise” sales line, and master recruiter (and potential head coaching candidate in the near future?) Doc Holliday is working his magic for Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators. And without high-level recruiting, what will we have to win games with? Chuck Amato’s game management expertise?
OK, finally on the “procedural” idiocy, and the second perspective. While Lee Fowler chose to foolishly draw more attention to the fan unrest and the booing/jeering of Amato’s self-promoting jumbotron ads, the Charlotte Observer had this to say about the crowd that came out on a Thursday night to see 2 ACC teams with a combined 2-5 ACC record:
N.C. State has great football fans. It’s not easy to fill up a stadium on a Thursday night, when fans have to work and those from outside the area have difficulty getting to the game on time. But there weren’t many empty seats at Carter-Finley.
Perhaps Pollyanna Fowler might want to focus on angles like this in the future. Assuming, that is, that we can expect the athletic director to portray NC State in as positive a manner as legitimately possible.