As we stated in one of our biggest and best entries of the summer:
Over the next couple of weeks SFN will have some entries focusing on the tough summer that Chuck Amato is having in the national media.
Then we went on to defend Coach Amato to TSN based on the incorrect premise and (lack of) reasoning in their blog entry. (Update: NC State now has EIGHT football commitments for the February signing period. EVERY ONE is from the State of North Carolina)
Similarly, Inspin.com – whose lead headline this morning spells the word “ALWAYS” as “ALWASYS” – has run a piece on the most underachieving college football coaches in America. (Link) Inspin takes the easy way out, however, in their ‘analysis’:
Chuck Amato, North Carolina State: The short version of justifying the selection is this: The Wolfpack had three NFL first-round picks on their squad last season, yet managed to lose five games. It appears Amato’s success at NC State was directly tied to former quarterback Philip Rivers. Amato and Rivers arrived in Raleigh at the same time and compiled a 34-17 record in four years — good but not great. In the two years since Rivers’ departure, the Wolfpack are 12-11. The results on the field do not reflect the highly rated recruits that Amato has been attracting. After a No. 34 class in the Rivals.com rankings in 2002, State was No. 7 in 2003, No. 28 in 2004 and No. 27 in 2005. Recruits may have figured out they need to go elsewhere to win since Amato’s 2006 signing class was ranked only No. 54.
As long as you give proper credit to Amato’s overall achievements and definite elevation of the program in the national psyche…I believe that anyone has a case to criticize Chuck Amato for the last three years of underachieving what were relatively fair expectations. Rivers’ senior year (Tangerine Bowl) followed by struggles to get to 5-6 and 6-5 in the subsequent seasons are open for questioning.
HOWEVER, I do NOT think that the popular mantra and lazy proclamation that “State had three NFL first-round picks on their squad last season, yet managed to lose five games” (that started on ESPN on draft day) is the accurate reason to criticize.
The nature of State’s recent talent is actually explained to anyone with a brain in the players that the Wolfpack has sent to the NFL. But, that would require at least a couple of minutes of original thought. All three of State’s first round draft picks, and the large majority of State’s overall picks (Link) were defensive players!
You know…the defense that was ranked #1 in the country in 2004 despite incessantly being on the field because of offensive turnovers…and the defense that was again ranked in the Top 10 in 2006 despite another rash of offensive turnovers in the first half of the season. NC State finished the season 5-1 with the defense allowing around 9 points a game.
When you actually look at the data — how can someone criticize that State’s “talent” underachieved when our talent was almost exclusively a part of one of the nation’s top defenses of the last two years?
Don’t get me wrong, I DO agree that the OVERALL coaching staff deserves some heat/criticism for the underachievement of the last three years. BUT, if you are going to hurl such severe criticism around then you better be able to ACCURATELY analyze and explain your position. This line of (un)reasoning fails miserably.