Random Football Thoughts

Jeff said that he was giving Daniel Evans one chance to reignite his enthusiasm for FB before the BC game. I guess I’m a little harder to ignite. I was absolutely tickled to death with the BC win…but didn’t expect to do much against FSU. By the final FSU drive in the fourth quarter, I was truly excited about the 2006 season…and would have stayed that way even without the game saving interception and clever illegal procedure “play� to help run out the clock.

With a renewed enthusiasm for football, it is only natural to harness a little of that energy and start providing some meaningful commentary around here. So I have decided to throw a semi-random collection of thoughts together and see what I could come up with:

Deja Vu

Did anyone else notice a similarity between the State game on Thursday night and the Chargers game on Sunday night? Neither offense did much in the first quarter. A little down field passing opened up the running game. With the complete offensive playbook in use, both offenses were able to put points on the board, occupy the clock, and let their defenses seal the win.

A balanced offense is so incredibly important for success at any level. Defenses are too sophisticated and the talent is too evenly spread for one-dimensional offenses to succeed. State will probably not win every remaining game. However, they will now be favored in most of them and will not be prohibitive underdogs in any game (barring major injuries). Being able to salvage seven wins after the Akron and USM losses would qualify as a very good season in my book.


I simply can not get a feel for how good State’s defense is this year. Sometimes they have looked great and sometimes not. I can’t project how they are going to perform from one quarter to the next….not to mention one game to the next. However, they have been good enough the last two weeks. Any time you have an offense that can score more than the defense gives up….you have to be happy.

With all of that said, the defensive stats are pretty depressing.

I have some advice for State fans:

– Don’t slit your wrists because of the stats.
– Don’t start buying tickets for the Orange Bowl either.

The next three games will tell us a lot more. WF, UMd, and UVa should all be winnable games….but State would not be a prohibitive favorite if any of these three teams were scheduled for this weekend (and could well be considered an underdog against Wake and UMD).

Has anyone seen the betting line for Saturday against Wake? (I am just curious. I’m not looking to place a bet.)

Wide Receivers

I don’t know when I have ever been more impressed with the entire receiving corps at State. Evans would throw the ball up and the State receivers would go up and over the DB’s, make an amazing grab, and come down with the ball. However, I have no doubt that Coach Dixon has spent this week pointing out the many mistakes that were made during the course of the game. (That is why I work for an engineering company and he is an outstanding receivers coach.)

Here’s my advice for the receivers:

– Be very, very happy about your performance against FSU. You done good!
– Listen to Coach Dixon and I will come to expect that type of performance, rather than be pleasantly surprised. (Which is a really, really good thing for you and for State fans.)
– Call Jerrico Cotchery if you want to know what kind of return you can expect if you work hard and learn what Coach Dixon is trying to beat into your heads.

Wake Forest

Hopefully we’ll have some more thoughts around here about this weekend’s key match-up (look for that phrase to be worn out the rest of the year). I don’t know anything at all about the key personnel suiting up for the Deacons. However, having seen Coach Grobe’s teams play over the last several years, there are several things that you can say about the Deacons without even watching a single play.

The key to stopping the Deacons offense is the defensive line. If you can blow up their complex blocking schemes, their runners simply have no where to go. Look for the 240 lb defensive ends at State to spend a lot of time on the bench…especially on first and second down. IIRC, Ray Brooks (as a true freshman) replaced Manny Lawson in the last game in Raleigh. After that change was made…State’s defense held the Deacon offense to virtually no yardage in the third quarter and allowed State to get back in the game (won by State in OT).

If the Wake running backs are getting to the linebackers….then it could prove to be a long day in Raleigh. This was true in 2003 and State’s LB’s are not the strongest part of the defense this year.

Wake’s defense is always “decent�, but never outstanding. I hesitate to draw conclusions based strictly on stats generated mostly against weak teams (Liberty and Clemson are the only two teams with winning records)….but Wake’s defense may be the best that Grobe has ever had. If Wake’s defensive stats to date prove to be prophetic….then Wake is not going to flame out this year like any number of message board geniuses have already proclaimed.

I have the utmost respect for Coach Grobe and what he has accomplished at Wake Forest. Let’s wrap this entry up with a little non-football related talk about Coach Grobe.

I have a cousin who has lived in Winston Salem virtually her entire life. She is a school teacher there and went to the Wake Forest campus for one of those teacher conferences that tax payers love to under write. Coach Grobe was the scheduled speaker and my cousin said that she was dreading the thought of listening to a football coach (said with a tone that means “knuckle-head�).

In direct contrast with my cousin’s expectations, the seminar was one of the best that she has ever attended. The parallels between teaching elementary students and teaching football to scholarship athletes were simply amazing to her. She said that Coach Grobe was entertaining, interesting, informative, and extremely well-spoken.

I have absolutely no problem pulling for Wake Forest every week except one during football season.

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

'06 Football General

68 Responses to Random Football Thoughts

  1. Andy 10/10/2006 at 10:06 PM #

    NCSU is -4 over wake

  2. MatSci94 10/10/2006 at 10:13 PM #

    “I simply can not get a feel for how good State’s defense is this year. Sometimes they have looked great and sometimes not.”

    My guess is that this is from inexperience at the LB and DE spots. We have been hurt on wide runs and backs on swing routs. Up the middle has been fairly solid. I don’t think this is a personell issue, and should get better as the year goes on and these guys get more experience.

  3. WolfPup35 10/10/2006 at 10:41 PM #

    If Pressley and Tyler are playing well, that WILL, as it has recently, bleed over into the LB’s, and the secondary speaks for itself. Don’t get fooled, play your slots, HIT HARD, REEEEEAAALLLL HARRRRDD!!

  4. Wolfpack4ever 10/10/2006 at 11:22 PM #

    Discipline as in gap responsibility is IMNSHO the defensive key. (I cheated listening to Chuck explain it Sunday night.) And discipline as in don’t don’t bite full out on the first fake.

    I am a defense kind of guy. I can be pretty offensive, too. Pun intended. I like the run stuffing ability that Mr. Tyler has demonstrated in the real season, read ACC. His demonstrated ability to move the line of scrimmage backward into the opponents back field is exciting.

    I have LB concerns although I like Lerue Rumph and Pat Lowery is an animal. Reggie is still starting but, I haven’t seen why as yet. Dejuan Morgan may be our best hitter out there along with Garland Heath. Those boys can bring it. We have serious depth in with our Dbacks.

    Don’t you think it’s about time we blocked a kick?

  5. WolfPup35 10/11/2006 at 12:55 AM #

    ^I agree with WP4E concerning gap responsibility, it is vital for our D to play their slots, and not necessarily who they may think has the ball. Cautious aggression is the key to this Saturday’s game, if that phrase makes any sense to anyone at all. In addition, the misdirection plays we ran against FSU may be something we would like to try against Wake, even if it is just to set up other plays later in the game. We got the speed and the confidence to do some serious damage to Wake.

  6. VaWolf82 10/11/2006 at 6:34 AM #

    Don’t you think it’s about time we blocked a kick?

    Answer these questions first and then we may turn this original question around:

    How many points have been saved by blocking FGs?
    How many points have been generated by blocking punts?
    How many points have been given up on the drive ressurected by penalities from roughing the kicker?

    In other words….prove that the high risk/high reward strategy of blocking kicks is paying off…..and then I’ll worry about how many kicks State is blocking.

  7. Cardiff Giant 10/11/2006 at 7:01 AM #

    I like Grobe too, but I’d no more pull for Wake than I would the Holes. It’s like choosing between Isengard and Mordor (thus cementing in stone my geek status).

    The biggest difference between Davis/Stone and Evans is that under Evans our offense has changed from comically inept to basically functional. That’s taken both emotional and physical pressure of the defense, who play better and fresher as a result. It’s that simple.

  8. class of 74 10/11/2006 at 7:31 AM #

    Great stat work as always! There is one stat that is vital and it’s not rushing or passing yards or third down efficiency rates it is scoring defense.

    As we all know we lost a ton of talent off of last years defense and to Chuck’s credit he has patched that up as well as could be expected. Just from my memory I think we stack up pretty well in the scoring defense stat to last years squad so in my mind the defense is holding up it’s end of the bargain. And I’ve preached this for the past three seasons it’s our offensive scoring that has been so weak. With Evans emergence and the WR core we have maybe we can achieve the badly needed balance on the offense side and if we score 24 ppg we can all be happy with a nice bowl trip in January.

  9. BoKnowsNCS71 10/11/2006 at 8:41 AM #

    Old saying — “If you torture statistics long enough, they’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”

    Less we forget, early in the year, we had some key injuries on defense — AJ Davis to name one. There were also some newbies in the lineup and the coaching is starting to sink in.

    The Vegas line started at -6.5 and is now -4. That shows that the oddsmakers felt we should beat WF but got more takers for WF at 6.5 (i.e Wake would “cover”). With a move to a lower number, they will see if that entices more betters (i.e. but they still think that State will win by more than 4). The line may move up or down — closer to the game — and that will be intersting.

    At least it’s a home game — the home team has won in the past 4 years. Lets hope that tradition continues.

    Blocking kicks. Problem is we don’t have a Terrance Holt this year — yet. I think we are a team that is learning and building toward being better every week.

    Lastly, a W is a W. Lets hope there are more.

  10. choppack1 10/11/2006 at 8:47 AM #

    VaWolf – I think Grobe is a great teacher and prepper. However, on gameday, I think he’ll often make some head-scratching decisions. So the key is stay close. (2 years ago, the head scratching decision was pulling the qb who was moving the ball and replacing him w/ Randolph.)

    Believe it or not, Wake is probably the best team we’ve played all year. In terms of Defense, Offense and special teams, they are simply the best combo of those we have faced all year. It will be tough to stop their run – our guys will need to be disciplined and tough (to fend off all those cut blocks).

    I’m more than a little worried about this game, but don’t share the same apprehension I’ve had the last few years. (Maybe it’s because I know this game will be a nail-biter.)

  11. noah 10/11/2006 at 8:49 AM #

    Regarding our linebackers, I believe our OLBs combined for a grand total of three tackles against FSU.

    That’s not getting it done.

  12. RAWFS 10/11/2006 at 8:53 AM #

    ^ Unless you consider the number of tackles by the front line.

  13. packbackr04 10/11/2006 at 8:54 AM #

    i think overpursuit of wakes misdirection could be a killer for us this weekend. If our ends and linemen can stay at home and not overpursue it should play out in our favor

  14. Cardiff Giant 10/11/2006 at 9:15 AM #

    ^ I wonder about that. Perhaps one or the four or five football instructions I can recall from my high school days is to never, never, chase on a reverse or misdirection.

  15. Six Pack 10/11/2006 at 9:24 AM #

    As far as the defense is concerned, our DBs need to learn to play the wideouts closer on short yardage situations. I don’t know how many times FSU converted 3rd and less than 6 because our DBs were giving them a five our six yard cushion.

  16. cfpack03 10/11/2006 at 9:42 AM #

    I’m confident these are all things our coaching staff has addressed. Execution is the key.

    On the betting exchange, (keep in mind the volume is extremely low and won’t pick up until Friday and Saturday morning)
    ‘WFU/NCSU -4.5’ is trading at 45% probably,
    ‘NCSU to win’ (no spread) is asking 63% probability

    …also S. Florida is 2.5 pt favorite this week, over the holes

  17. partialqualifier 10/11/2006 at 9:52 AM #

    The defense is fine! Is it as dominating as the last couple of years? Of course not, but it is better than every other defense State has put on the field for the past 20 years. I think Amato has settled in as a “defensive” coach and like Florida State you can pretty much bet that year in and year out State’s D is gonna be pretty good. Maybe not always great…but when you consider the youth on D this year….it is nice to imagine what the future holds!

    I will second Six Pack’s concerns over the 10 yard cushions the DB’s were giving the Noles. You can’t give teams easy 5 yard completions on 1st & 2nd downs all night long. Eventually that will bite you in the ass!

  18. old13 10/11/2006 at 9:59 AM #

    I recently went through the roster position-by-position and was amazed at how young we are, and how deep we will be next year in most positions. This IMO not only bodes well for next season, but also says that the “youngsters” could/should grow each week this season by leaps-and-bounds! I wouldn’t begin to predict the final record, but I will be very dissappointed if we are not in every game for the rest of the season, and if we do not play in a bowl game.

  19. GAWolf 10/11/2006 at 10:01 AM #

    As long as we’re talking completely random football thoughts… what in God’s name is up with Amato’s answers to relatively simple questions from the media? I know this isn’t the time to be raking Coach over the coals for little things (being that it appears he may have turned the most important thing around as of late), but I just couldn’t help but post this little gem:

    Q: You said yesterday you would see if the team needs humbling. How have they been the last couple of days?

    A: Good… not bad. You know today it got warm. It was really warm out here today.

    Last night we had a great practice. We had a great practice. Unfortunately we’re going to play at noon. It was warm today. We had more water breaks today than we’ve had in a long, long time.

    We’ve got a lot of work. Everybody has a lot of work to do.

    He doesn’t even come close to addressing the issue, much less answering the guy’s question. I just don’t get it. I have a boss like him and it’s maddening. It’s almost like he floats somewhere in this world halfway between trying to be a smartass and trying to “hide the ball.” Why doesn’t he just say something like “You know our guys recognize that this is a huge game and I think they’ve got their heads on straight about it. In the past we’ve taken Wake lightly and they’ve pounded us. It’s not going to happen this year. These kids are humbled and are working hard to prepare for the Deacons.” Instead he goes off on some rant about the weather? To sound like the kids these days: WTF?

  20. class of 74 10/11/2006 at 10:07 AM #

    choppack1- great point I too believe WF is the best overall team at this time on our schedule to date. Should be a great test and hopefully a great game too. Grobe does more with less than anyone in the ACC at this time.

  21. BoKnowsNCS71 10/11/2006 at 10:09 AM #

    Better than the JOhn Bunting rant:

    Adam: How are you coach?

    JB: Great Adam, we looked pretty bad out there didn’t we? We’ve got some work to do.

    As for CA — why nitpick? does he want to answer a question about the team psyche? Or did he infer (prefer) it to mean how the practice went.

    Chuck’s a good communiator to his team but not the media. Bunting is a good communicator to the media but not his team. I prefer the former.

  22. GAWolf 10/11/2006 at 10:10 AM #

    While we’re talking coach’s quotes (and I’m not trying to hijack this thread but rather give some of you Chicken Littles about basketball something to good to ponder), this made my day:

    “Ben is going to get inside and bang and get some fouls on people. We have guys that can do that.”

  23. GAWolf 10/11/2006 at 10:13 AM #

    Boknows… if you had read my entire post you would have read that I clarified I recognized I was nitpicking when things seemed to be getting better… but that I just couldn’t help but bringing it up because it’s something that has bothered me for quite some time. After the game when he talks to the media going off the field I can hardly listen without cringing.

  24. BJD95 10/11/2006 at 10:36 AM #

    As I noted last week, my goal is for State to get to the Clemson game at 4-2 or better, which ensures that we are ONE UPSET away from a division title (check those tiebreakers). That would be really exciting. The TEAM shouldn’t be thinking that way, but it’s OK for me as a fan (after all, being a fan is SUPPOSED to be fun, not that NC State folks have much experience with that).

    As for Wake – a totally different challenge than FSU. Instead of a talented, but undisciplined team (which Trestman exploited perfectly), we get a solid, disciplined opponent that can’t beat you with raw athleticism, but usually gives average-to-pretty good (but flawed) teams fits. What’s scary is that they hung in so well, and really should have beaten, a highly athletic team like Clemson. So, they seem legitimately better than in seasons past.

    We will see on Saturday whether we are the average (but flawed) team that Wake can exploit, or if we are something better than that. I’m thinking we just might be better than average.


  1. The ACC Basketblog - 10/11/2006

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