Focus on Football

Spring Round-Up
The top priority for the relatively young Wolfpack this spring was to avoid major injury – mission accomplished. has THE PORTAL for all the spring football news throughout the nation that you may want. Click here.

In addition to ESPN’s round-up of the ACC’s Spring Football, the ACC Area Sports Journal has detailed spring round-ups on each ACC Team. Link to Part One; Part Two)

Their article about the Wolfpack discusses the role reversal between the responsibility/expectations of the Pack’s offensive and defensive units this season from last.

The Wolfpack was in desperate need of a seamless spring, and in relative terms that took place. Coordinators Marc Trestman on offense and Steve Dunlap on defense are entering their second season in Raleigh, and that bit of stability ought to help a program that has been jolted by staff changes throughout Amato’s six-year tenure.

After all, N.C. State needed to get right down to business. The Wolfpack won five of six games to end 2005, but the spring was partly about trying to further distance itself from the wounds that festered by midseason.

Sorting out the defense took precedence ahead of offensive issues, and Amato is a stickler for fielding a strong defense. A year ago, State defenders might have been described as cocky during the spring. This year, they had all they could handle while facing an offense that hit some sort of groove.

Amato said his staff was moving defenders around so often in the spring that he had difficulty keeping track of the switches. It was all an attempt to find the best combinations with the available personnel.

Around The ACC Horn

* BC Eagle in Atlanta asks why The Sporting News doesn’t publish an ACC Football preview, so he offers some of his own quick thoughts. (Link)

* GT Sports goes deeper into TSN’s preseason ACC Football (Link)

* The ACC will battle a better Big East opponent in future Meineke Bowls as the bowl has moved up the Big East’s choosing order. (Link)
The new deal gives the bowl the No. 3 selection from the Big East through 2009. In its first four years the bowl had the No. 4 pick.

* ABC announced that it will televise prime time Saturday night college football games this year. (State related link) . In an attempt to show you a little different perspective of the news, click here.

* 850TheBuzz’s Blog has recently been very active and has linked up a lot of “fun stuff” as of late. Just scroll through some of the entries. One item that you will see is this entry on NCAA 2007 that includes a link to a entry chronicling the history of the college football video game. Pretty fascinating.


* 2006 NC State Football Schedule

* 2006 NC State Signees

The ACCASJ summarized State’s current football situation as follows:

Seventh-year coach Chuck Amato deserves a lot of credit for (1) raising the profile of N.C. State football, (2) motivating the fan base and the school’s administration to finally upgrade the program’s previously embarrassing facilities, (3) dramatically improving the team’s talent pool and increasing its NFL-caliber star power, and (4) winning a school-record 11 games in 2002 and earning five bowl bids in six seasons.

At the same time, the coach mostly has fallen short of his own big talk and the fans’ sky-high expectations, and his honeymoon in Raleigh ended after a 5-6 campaign in 2004. Through six years, Amato’s ACC record is a pedestrian 23-25, and there have been significant problems with high staff turnover and undisciplined play. Yet another ho-hum non-conference schedule (Appalachian State, Akron, at Southern Miss, East Carolina) awaits this fall, but an unexpected talent drain to the NFL complicated the possibility of a special season.

'06 Football General

18 Responses to Focus on Football

  1. vtpackfan 05/21/2006 at 9:22 PM #

    Prediction: 8-4 (4-4)

    If they go 7-5 then the coaching staff has done a respectible job. Anything less w/o serious injuries, suspensions, ect., than it could be considered a waste.

    Reasons: NC State is not alone in the rebuilding process. The draft results give some the evidence that State will be the hardest hit, and on one side of the ball that will probably become fact, but in no way does this mean that other teams have a decesive edge. Florida St. will recover their losses by reloading, but they need upgrading on their offense to dominate the improving ACC like they once did. Other team’s (V.T.,B.C., Clemson, Maryland, and GT) have some holes to fill on both sides of the ball respectively. Duke, UNC, Wake and UVa. all look like they’ll be in for a long one this season.

    I like State’s chances for a couple reasons. One is their favorable schedule. 3 out of the 4 best teams (IMO) they’ll play will be at home. The OOC games should all be taken, with atleast two being in route by halftime.

    The second reason is pretty simple and it applies to every game they play this year. The Defense is going to give up points, and yards this year. The question is how fast. Can they keep the other teams from scoring on home run scores, and will they find a way to pressure the opposition on enough key third downs to force punts or fg attempts. If this can happen and the offense can keep the penalties and turnovers from piling up then I like State chances most of the time. They have the ground attack that can keep the opponets offense off the field, and change the field position advantages that our defense will often give up. Stone does not need to complete more than 50-55% of his passes as long as there is the threat of his making the big completions down field. Obviously this all depends on his decision making on when to air it out so that no one can catch it (int.’s very bad).

    Oh, I left one thing out. For State to go .500 in the ACC they are going to have to win in very close games by doing all of the above, and playing the best special teams that a Chuck Amato squad has ever done. Which is asking alot. That’s ok, 8-4 (4-4) is asking alot, but that’s what pre season overly optimistic types like myself always do.

  2. redfred2 05/21/2006 at 11:10 PM #

    That’s a pretty broad statement!

  3. vtpackfan 05/22/2006 at 7:55 AM #

    I guess! I knew I was prone to run on sentences, but that takes the cake for sure.

  4. Jeff 05/22/2006 at 8:38 AM #

    ^ Just type in the text box normally — no indentions and such.

  5. choppack1 05/22/2006 at 9:27 AM #

    I’m cautiously optimistic this year. If the coaching staff is doing its job, we should be able to have a winning season if we’re not decimated by injuries. This will be year 7 in the Amato era – so there really aren’t any excuses other than the injury bug for having a losing season. I’m hoping that we have some hidden gems in the DEs, LBs and OL spots – because we lost some starters in those areas.

    Also, Dunlap and Amato will have to be creative on D. We won’t be able to simply send 4 DL’s at the QBs and expect results. They’ll have to do a lot of blitzing and work. The second huge improvement that is needed is in the areas of discipline and execution. Since we are likely to emphasize running the ball, we can’t have false starts and holding penalties. On D, we can’t jump offsides and committ personal fouls. Lastly, we have to win the TO and special teams battle. Simply put, we’ll have to play this entire year like we played 5 of the last 6 games last year – w/out Mario, Manny, Tulloch, Hoyte and Hudson. Not easy, huh?

  6. VaWolf82 05/22/2006 at 9:52 AM #

    but that’s what pre season overly optimistic types like myself always do.

    No, your projections are quite tame compared to what the truly delusional will come up with.

    State’s defense rises and falls with the DL. When State has a dominating line, then we see a Top-20 defense. Maybe that’s true for every team, but the last three years have really shown that this applies to State’s defensive schemes.

  7. choppack1 05/22/2006 at 10:19 AM #

    I think all D’s rise and fall w/ the DL. A strong DL is like a strong OL. A strong OL allows you to dictate tempo. The beauty of a strong DL is that you can generate pressue on the QB w/out having to blitz. This allows great flexibility. OTOH, if you have a weak DL, you have to play soft coverage and blitz a ton – which leaves openings that a good OC will exploit.

  8. BJD95 05/22/2006 at 10:19 AM #

    I could much more easily accept this being a “rebuilding year” if we had been good the past two seasons. To make me feel like the program MIGHT be moving in the right direction again, I think we need 8-4. Is that LIKELY given the talent/experience mix? Probably not.

    But after 3 consecutive years of failing to meet reasonable expectations, it’s high time for some overachievement.

  9. choppack1 05/22/2006 at 11:59 AM #

    BJD95- I agree 100%. If you’re like me and you like graphs, our in-conference performance has a pretty distinct, yet ugly trend. Hopefully, in the last 6 games of last year, we learned valuable lessons which will enable us to get back to the top. (What’s just as scary is that our wins are more likely to be nailbiters than our losses.)

  10. Jeff 05/22/2006 at 12:23 PM #

    Fair comments, BJD.

    I think that our DLine is going to be much better than many suggest.

    It is all about the OLine this year. I will have an entry tomorrow discussing different players and positions.

  11. choppack1 05/22/2006 at 4:06 PM #

    Jeff – I think our DL should be good – however, we’re much more susceptible to injuries than we have been. In 2004, we basically had 6 guys who were effective. In 2006, we basically had 5. Now this year, at this point – it appears between Pressley, Tyler, Brooks and Brown – we have 5 again – but those 5 probably aren’t as good as last year’s 5. IMHO, Wright and Young both have huge upsides, but they are unproven. I also worry about this lines ability to stop the run.

    However, I agree w/ you that the OL is critical this year. Last year, the unit could be less than stellar because we could count on our D holding the opponent under 20 points in most cases. This year – they are going to have to produce. We’re going to have to run the ball and protect the passer. In order to simply equal the results of last year, our O will have to be much better.

  12. Mike 05/22/2006 at 4:30 PM #

    The football is a funny shaped ball, anything can happen. A break early in the season could mean a huge season is ahead. Momentum goes a long way in football. A bad break, and we could be in big trouble.

    All teams are rebuilding. I have to think the D will be fine. No, you cannot replace Mario, Manny, Cargo, Tulloch, Hudson etc, but there is talent waiting in the wings. Even Davis at LB should help.

    The key will be learning to win. We have struggled with learning to win in the past, pulling out the close games in the end. I think we learned some at the end of last year – hopefully that can carry over.

    Hopefully 3-0 heading into BC and FSU in Raleigh. Couple breaks and we could be 5-0. Wake comes in next, and while we say Wake should be a win, Wake always plays us tough. The off on the road. 5-1 says we can win at MD and UVA. 3-3 says we go on the road and lose those. Now either we are 7-1 (maybe 6-2) or we are 3-5. If we are 7-1, then there is GT, Clem, UNC, all winnable IF 7-1. If 3-5, all will be tough to win, and now could be 3-8.

    I dont see a late season surge like this past year. Either we are scraping by and winning, which will snowball to more wins – or we struggle early and dont pull out. Not that I want it to happen, just my opinion on what could happen. If the D talent steps up, I think we can have a good record, IF we get a couple breaks early.

    BTW, did anyone see N&O this AM? Article on Jay Davis turning heads in Tampa camp. Nice kid, wish him well on the next level. I hope he succeeds, but what would that say about our staff?

  13. cfpack03 05/22/2006 at 5:00 PM #
  14. choppack1 05/22/2006 at 5:01 PM #

    Davis’ problems were not in practice or comprehending the playbook. He had confidence issues and trouble when under duress. Unfortunately, our line play virtually insured that he was always under duress – which well, further hurt his confidence. I really wonder how different things would have been if the staff had stayed w/ the very conservative approach after the VaTech game in 2005. Of course, I’ll say this – it was harder to play that way w/ TA than it was w/ Andre and Toney.

  15. redfred2 05/22/2006 at 10:03 PM #

    The offensive line needs to learn how to consistently run block to take pressure off of the passing game. Second down and eight or nine yards just tightens the offensive scheme and puts even more pressure on the QB. Supposedly the offensive backfield is sitting pretty again, I hope they will seriously try to ram the ball down some people’s throats this year and stick with it until they learn how to do it right. Last year, running the ball well would have shortened the games, cut down on turn overs, and the defense could have taken up the slack. This year?

  16. OwenDorm83 05/22/2006 at 10:12 PM #

    Happy for JD. Sad for Jericho & his receivers coach. My buddy at work is an Ole Miss fan. He was pissed at us last year for sending Mazonne down there…

  17. class of 74 05/23/2006 at 6:53 AM #

    I think Chuck and Dunlap will come up with a defense that’s good enough to win, the question in my mind is the offense capable of moving the ball on sustained drives and scoring 24+ points per game. Last season we averaged 20.75 points per game, and if you discount the EKU game our average dropped to 17.7 per game. That’s just not enough in today’s game to be a bigtime winner.

    I hope Trestman and crew can find a way to make lemonade from the lemon of a O-line and QB situation we have, otherwise it will be an ugly fall in Raleigh.

  18. vtpackfan 05/23/2006 at 10:00 AM #

    One possible link between States success in years past on the Defesive side of the ball and the quality of the DL could be Chuck’s approach. He seems to prefer the smaller, more compact and speedy LB’s that are in vouge in the NFL. The problem with that is when your DL, especially DE, can be blocked by one TE, or FB, then that leaves a Jethro OG, OT type looking to squash the daylight out of an undersized LB. This is evident early on this year when you hear names of guys who played in the backfield last year as potential candidates for vacant LB positions.

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