Two Perspectives on Thursday’s Crowd

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.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

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6 Responses to Two Perspectives on Thursday’s Crowd

  1. Mark Cramer 10/15/2005 at 11:29 PM #

    I would love to see a listing of what each of our athletic teams have achieved in Fowler’s tenure: records, titles, All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, 1st, 2nd and 3rd team ACC members, graduation rates, number of players to have gone pro, etc.

    Honest assessment: he seems to be a decent marketer and (external to NCSU) PR man, but completely aloof when it comes to actual athletic performance – as if that were mere “busy work” for him to set and maintain expectations of excellence on the fields, floors, tracks and pools of the university.

  2. erk 10/16/2005 at 3:36 AM #

    No one else has seemed to mention this, so I’ll toss it out there. Amato’s players have brought embarassment to the university. Tramain Hall took two years to get academically eligilble, McLendon had that nice underage DUI, and can anyone remember the name of the player who was investigated for having someone take the SAT for him? In my latest issue of THe Wolfpacker a player named LaMarcus Bond who scored a whopping 810 on the SAT is listed as a prized recruit. Does anyone else think that it’s a waste to go after NON(or Partial if he’s lucky; his GPA wasn’t listed) QUALIFIERS? As alumni this should concern us because once these clowns attend and/or graduate from NCSU it only devalues our own degrees. You might say that questionable students are needed for a successful athletic program; but answer these questions for me: a)What current San Diego QB finished EARLY with a business degree? b)Which former National College Basketball Player of the Year finshed in three years and got accepted to medical school?

    Philip Rivers and Jay Williams

  3. wuffie 10/16/2005 at 9:36 AM #

    ^ That previous post would make great sense if it didn’t ignore so much information and if it included a comparison to other schools. First, State has had significantly less problems than our peers in recent years. Second, Amato has chosen to discipline players who have gotten in trouble with significantly more severity than other coaches — just ask Coreyl Lyons, Corrie Dawson, Marcus Hudson, Nat Goodsen, and others.

    Am I the only one who remembers MOC’s constantly depleted roster because of discipline problems…and our football players killing a fellow NC State student? I wonder if these alums were so concerned about our “problems” (which pale in comparison to other schools) back then?

  4. JB34 10/16/2005 at 10:56 AM #


    I don’t have all of what you want…but, I do know that

    NC State is the only ACC program to NOT have played in at least one National Championship game or won a team National Championship in any sport in the last five years.

    We have won fewer ACC Championships in the last 5 years than any other conference program. In fact, Duke, Carolina, and Virginia have all won more ACC titles in a single year (multiple times) than we have won aggregately in five years.

    In addition to State…only Virginia (who has experienced much stronger broad athletic success) and Wake Forest have failed to participate in at least a College World Series, a BCS Bowl, or a National Basketball Championship game in the last 5 years.

  5. Rick Jernigan 10/16/2005 at 12:57 PM #

    Wuffie is absolutely correct. In my view, “off the field” discipline has been one of Coach Amato’s strengths.

    erk – In football, Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College & Georgia Tech all recruit at a higher academic level than we do. We are right in line with the rest of the league. LaMarcus Bond currently has offers from NC State, Clemson, Miami, UNC – Chapel Hill, Maryland, Virginia & Virgina Tech. An 810 SAT is nowhere near the bottom of the pool of players being recruited. By the way, there are no longer any partial qualifiers.

    erk – Are your comments about Jay Williams meant to be sarcastic? If so, I apologize for not recognizing the parody. If not, can you tell me the medical school that would accept someone with a 90 hour degree in Political Science?

  6. Alpha Wolf 10/17/2005 at 1:00 PM #

    Say what you will about the entrance credentials of some of our players, but by and large they are maintaining eligibility.

    Also, TA McLendon was given a citation for underage drinking, not a DUI.

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