N&O highlights Wolfpack’s attrition issues

We’ve recently been busier than normal and therefore haven’t had the opportunity to cover nearly as much as we would have liked. But, one topic that we have done an admirable job of highlighting is the impact/problem of attrition and injuries related to this year’s NC State football team.

Back in September we highlighted the 41% attrition rates from the 2005 and 2006 recruiting classes in this entry that is worth reviewing.

Then we followed up with this very detailed account of which players are actually seeing the field.

Removing these 23 [redshirting freshmen] players from our original count of 73 leaves us with 50 players available to use this weekend. Four of those players are special teams members (Bradley Pierson, Jeff Ruiz, Corey Tedder, and Josh Czajkowski) and can also be excluded from this discussion. What we are left with is a completely emaciated team of 46 healthy, scholarship players. This is the group that’s supposed to fill out a 44-player two-deep, play 60 minutes of football, and just pray for no more injuries.

…with 10 seniors, 10 juniors and 10 sophomores on the depth chart, that leaves the Pack looking at 14 freshmen to even fill out the two-deep.

Today, the News & Observer added to data set with this very good article analyzing just the 2006 recruiting class (which was part of our look at both the 2005 and 2006 classes from six weeks ago).

A couple of interesting tidbits:

Just seven of [the 20] players [from Chuck Amato’s last recruiting class of 2006] will be available to play in Saturday’s game at Maryland, even though it’s been just 2 1/2 years since the class was signed.

Nine of the players from the class of 2006 either never enrolled or are no longer members of the team. A 10th, John Ware, is on academic suspension. Two others, wide receiver Donald Bowens and safety Javon Walker, had promising 2007 seasons but will miss all of 2008 with injuries. Another, linebacker Nate Irving, is N.C. State’s best defensive player but is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.

The group from 2006 was hardly Amato’s best class. It was ranked 43rd in the nation by Scout.com on signing day. But quarterback Justin Burke, wide receivers Bowens, Carlos Everett, Owen Spencer, Darrell Davis and Jarvis Williams, and tight ends Jonathan Hannah and Rashad Phillips seemed to have the ability to revive a passing game that had been grounded since record-setting quarterback Philip Rivers left after the 2003 season. Spencer and Williams are N.C. State’s starting wide receivers now. But there are just two other current starters — cornerback Morgan and place-kicker Josh Czajkowski — from that class.

Despite the lack of depth and breadth on the Wolfpack’s roster and the young players that are playing such key roles on the squad – like starting quarterback Russell Wilson – adds to the respect that we all need to have for the team that was able to defeat a top 20 team (ECU) while battling two other teams that have been ranked in the top 20 this season to (effectively) one possession games (Boston College and Florida State). This data-points mix together to create some of the conclusions and comments that we shared in this entry of interest.

As I take a very cursory look at the direction of the football program related to the immediate future (2009 season) I come to a quick conclusion that should help everyone rest easy — NC State will be deeper, more experienced and (hopefully) more talented at every single position on the football field next year than we are right now. Of course, this makes a customary assumption that injuries are ‘normal’ and not what we have encountered the last season and a half. The only position on the field where this premise could potentially be argued is the loss of Andre Brown at running back, which we hope is offset by the return of Toney Baker and the presence of Brandon Barnes (currently redshirting).

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

'08 Football Football Recruiting General

48 Responses to N&O highlights Wolfpack’s attrition issues

  1. Noah 10/23/2008 at 8:29 AM #

    It wasn’t just that class. Go back and look at the 2004 and 2005 classes and see how many of those guys are no longer here. Those ought to be our seniors and redshirt seniors this year.

    There are a couple who played for four years and exhausted their eligibility and a couple more who will exhaust their eligibility this year. But look how many never showed up, look how many quit, look how many got thrown off the team. And there were plenty that just never were as good as they were supposed to be and left.

    The 2004 class had 18 commitments. I count 11 that played out their eligibility. One more, Dejuan Morgan, went pro early.

    The 2005 class had 22 commitments. I count 12 that stuck around or are sticking around.

  2. Classof89 10/23/2008 at 8:56 AM #

    so in light of our awful personnel issues, here are the only two optimistic things I can think of about the Maryland game: (1) Maryland is 3-0 against ranked opponents, 2-2 against unranked; (2) their really good secondary player is out for the season after injury in Wake Forest game, so Russell will have backups to work against at two spots in the secondary…

    Its become crystal clear to me that our defense can’t stop even a mediocre ACC offense, so our only prayer of winning any of our remaining games is for the other team to have a bad turnover day. Law of averages says at least one of the remaining five games we will get the turnover edge, so lets hope for one more win, and dream of two or three…

  3. SEAT.5.F.2 10/23/2008 at 9:14 AM #

    We will be stronger after this low valley we’re in now. As mentioned above, if we are experiencing a “rock bottoming” do to a decline in the program then I would take these close finishes over experiences other “high profile” programs like UCLA & Michigan are experiencing.

    My optimism that things are looking promising are based on the following philosophies:

    1) TOB and his staff DO NOT paint a rosey picture to the potential recruits, and the ones the opt to come in know ahead of time that what they have experienced up till then playing ball meant diddly squat. As a mother of a player said to me before the BC game, her so came there because it had the atmosphere of structure alot like the armed services.

    2) For those unexperienced guys playing on the two deep or on special teams on down to the special teams, they are figuring out that what they expected under playing under TOB is what they are getting. Being up front an honest with young players and then staying consistent throughout is bulding character in these young men early on. Years from now they will be more confident as a team.

    3) These guys who are playing now who probably wouldn’t elsewhere (Wilson, Bryant, Rieskamp, Maddux, Kuhn,Vermiglio and Byers) are going to have seen enough from experience and the game will start to “slow” down a little. As Coach said, they are going to get angry of the annoyance of not making the plays to stay on or get off the field on third down.

  4. choppack1 10/23/2008 at 9:34 AM #

    You know, against Clemson and USC – I thought the D could blame the “O” for their fatigue. They haven’t had those excuses against FSU and BC.

    However, I will say that our d against FSU did look better than BC. That’s not saying much, but maybe it will continue to improve.

    Overall, I think we’re headed in a pretty good direction. I’m seeing the kind of improvement I hoped to see this year. Our offense has improved a ton since the beginning w/ the help of having its best player. Our D effectively lost its best player and has been struggling since. I’d like to see our D (or maybe specifically our DC) do more to get off of the field, but when you’ve got 4 walkons on your 2 deep – and you’re missing your best player, you know you’re facing an uphill challenge.

  5. SEAT.5.F.2 10/23/2008 at 9:51 AM #

    I think that Morgan got his degree. so even though he could have played as a RS senior it is cool with me that he left early.

    All the recruits that CTC got invloved with; Shaefer, Hannah, (who was the DT who played for a year after he wanted to come here, tried UVa and get kicked off, and then came here and flunked out?) So many of the recruits seemed like the “high maintenance” type. Its no wonder recruiting went on the downslide when a few guys were probably occupying alot of the recruiting coaches time with their antics.

  6. wufpaxno1 10/23/2008 at 9:54 AM #

    Chop, FSU had a nearly 2-1 advantage in time of possession, so you can blame some of the defenses problems on fatigue. We controlled the ball well enough early but that all started to change with FSU’s last drive of the first half which ultimately resulted in a field goal, FSU’s only score in the first half. From that point on our offense struggled to move the ball or even get a first down. Even on our lone scoring drive of the second half, it was a two play drive and long pass that scored the touchdown. At that point I was very concerned about our chances of keeping the Noles out of the end zone. I had the same feeling that I had in the BC game, we scored to quickly and left too much time for BC, and against FSU we gave our defense too little rest. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take any score that we can get and it was a great call to exploit what FSU was giving, but the net effect was that it put an already exhausted defensive unit back out on the field almost immediately.

  7. choppack1 10/23/2008 at 11:20 AM #

    wufpaxno1 – I can buy that on a warm, humid day/night, especially when your offense hasn’t given you any inspiration – but the 3rd down conversions started in the late first half where FSU got their 2ND FIELD GOAL.

    Our D was getting FSU into 3rd and long situations. They just weren’t getting off the field. I’m sure FSU’s D would have been more tired if they didn’t bend/break on our 3rd and longs.

    Our offense wasn’t great Saturday, but against a solid FSU D – they put up some OK #s. And don’t get me wrong, I think our D did a somewhat average job -but they’ve got to get off the field. Our offense isn’t going to score every time – and it’s hard for an offense to get into rhythm when your opponent has the ball for long sustained drives.

    Think about that key drive for the late FG in the first half – we had them 3 and 14 -they run a draw and get a first down. We have them 3 and long again and they throw a jump ball for another key completion. They just aren’t doing what they are supposed to do.

    I mean against BC, our offense put up 31 points…That should be enough to win the ball game w/ any kind of D. I give our D credit – it wasn’t nearly as miserable as it was vs. BC.

    Seat 5 -Hannah was a TE. We did have a committment from Chad Green – like 3 times – who was supposed to be a stud DL, who never got into school. We also had Setzer – who never got into state and ended up at ECU.

  8. haze 10/23/2008 at 11:34 AM #

    ^ …and Peterson and Covington and Palmer and the nutjob, baseball playin’ LB from Tampa and the OL that tried to transfer from UT (Brandon something or other) and a Floridian RB and Terrence Chapman’s last year and… Noah, you out there 🙂

  9. Ismael 10/23/2008 at 12:40 PM #

    i seem to recall a Derek Morris or something like that, i remember some guy who left Ohio State, or decommitted i don’t remember and wound up with us or tried to come, i don’t know.

    I just know i like the way TOB recruits. I like the fact that he only gives QB scholarships to guys who show up at camp and try out, how many other schools force QB recruits to try out? Ive never heard of it, but my zip code is the basement so…

  10. Wolf Dog 10/23/2008 at 12:58 PM #

    Very informative article, but causes one to wonder its intention given that recruiting is really starting to heat up this time of year with visits and such. Another negative N&O article about our program. Was it ran because Amato opened his mouth again and they couldn’t resist slamming him again or is it intended to make our program look bad to recruits?

    I assume the annual N&O and Charlotte Observer articles about how NC’s top high school recruits are looking to leave the state for out of state schools that are better than ours will be coming out soon also.

  11. choppack1 10/23/2008 at 1:23 PM #

    Brandon Jefferies was the OL from Shelby who originally went to UT, was set to transfer here, but I don’t think ever played a down for us.

    Derek Morris went to tOSU. Transferred here – or maybe he didn’t have to transfer – but he was here for at least 3 years I believe. He was one of the top OL in the country out of high school. There was some drama following around him at tOSU.

    Chad Green and Kenny Covington were 2 dl’s who would have likely been stud’s, but were never able to get into school.

  12. Daily Update 10/23/2008 at 1:41 PM #

    Wolf Dog: It is amazing how people can see things in completely different ways. I saw the article as “positive” for recruiting. It gives the reason as to why TOB is struggling right now.

    Would you have preferred that the N&O ignored the injuries and transfers and wrote an article insinuating problems with our offensive and defensive schemes? Would you rather the N&O suggest that our problems are coaching issues and not inexperience, depth and lack of talent?

  13. Par Shooter 10/23/2008 at 1:44 PM #

    To me this is the real story of Chuck’s tenure here. Much moreso than penalties, turnovers, pretty buildings or funny looking shoes. It is the primary reason that he left the program in such bad shape. His last few classes weren’t great under any circumstances but what is absolutely killing us is the attrition.

    Based on his recruiting philosopies I believe that TOB can reverse this trend by focusing more on character and commitment than simple 40 times. This seems like an area where guys like TOB beat up on guys like Amato is by developing lots of kids over longer periods of time rather than always relying on the latest 4-star to play heavy minutes a few months out of high school.

    If there is one thing that I’ve been disappointed with from TOB so far it is that his first full class (enrolled in August) lost 5(?) guys before ever coming to campus. With our dire numbers that is not going to get it done and, frankly, I was shocked that it happened. I’m hoping that the staff took some chances they normally wouldn’t take because they still haven’t built the relationships like they want to and couldn’t be as selective. IMO, if TOB is going to succeed here he is going to need to consistently enroll 23-25 guys from a 25 man class over the next couple of years and keep most of them here 4 years. I think that’s his model and I think it will happen but losing those 5 will hurt in a couple of years.

  14. McPete 10/23/2008 at 1:59 PM #

    I too was surpised about losing 5 players initially from this year’s freshman class. I hope those non-qualifiers (at least Mangrum and Palmer) eventually make it here and contribute their junior and senior years. who knows what will happen. but 5 out of 25 is still much better than losing 9 out of a smaller class (20) to begin with.

    I don’t think the staff wants to recruit juco’s and prep school kids that heavily, but when you need help right away, those are the places to look.

    i also thought the story had a positive feel to it; here’s the real reason they are losing. i think the staff has done a good job letting recruits know that there are plenty of opportunities to play early if they can perform. any kid wants that, especially if there is faith that the program is going in the right direction. and we know that it is.

  15. choppack1 10/23/2008 at 2:40 PM #

    The 5 were Tobias Palmer (big loss), Mangrum (unk entity), the OL from Canada, a DL from GA?, and who else?

    I agree that I was disappointed these 5 guys weren’t able to make it…but we don’t need a huge improvement from that #.

    If there’s an area short term where we’re in trouble right now it’s DT. We really need to find someone and they may need to play this year…

  16. wufpaxno1 10/23/2008 at 2:43 PM #

    Chop, I stand corrected, it was FSU’s second field goal, but the time of possession and the third down conversion stats are eye popping:

    Possession Time FSU…38:16 NCS…21:44
    1st Quarter FSU….9:11 NCS….5:49
    2nd Quarter FSU…11:37 NCS….3:23
    3rd Quarter FSU….7:22 NCS….7:38
    4th Quarter FSU…10:06 NCS….4:54
    Third-Down Conv. FSU 10 of 17 NCS 1 of 9

    Only in the third quarter did we hold our own and we netted no points for our third quarter effort. Granted, the defense was not stellar, but giving up 13 points in the fourth quarter cost us the game and you have to contribute a large part of that to defensive fatigue especially with the lack of dpth due to attrition that the defense has suffered. FSU’s offensive line is young, but huge, and once they settled down they owned the line of scrimage, they simply wore our defense down. And as usual, our third down performance was dismal on both sides of the ball, 1 of 9 on offense? While we allowed FSU to convert almost 60% of the time, and often on third and long, but we held them on third down at a much higher percentage early, while they converted almost at will as the game went on.

    The Possession Time at USC was only NCS…25:03, USC…34:57. While the TOP at Clemson was 32:57 to 27:03 in favor of Clemson. The combined difference in TOP of the Clemson and USC games is still less then that of the FSU game.

  17. Mike 10/23/2008 at 3:15 PM #

    Derek “False Start” “Holding” “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” Morris? One of the top lineman in the country if not #1, out of Charlotte. Did go to Ohio State and got caught in some shady dealings up there and came to State. Based on his play here, I would put him in the bust category.

  18. Noah 10/23/2008 at 3:26 PM #

    and Peterson and Covington and Palmer and the nutjob, baseball playin’ LB from Tampa and the OL that tried to transfer from UT (Brandon something or other) and a Floridian RB and Terrence Chapman’s last year and… Noah, you out there

    Elijah Dukes and Brandon Jeffires are the guys you’re thinking of. Dukes has been in trouble several times since getting drafted by the Rays. He got traded to the Senators…er…Natspos this spring.

    I’m not really worried about the guys who don’t qualify. We’ll probably have a handful of those guys every year.

    The thing that Amato did that worried me was to so heavily rely on borderline academic cases. Under MOC, we’d have a 25 man class and maybe seven or eight guys would be players that we had to sweat out. Of those, two or three wouldn’t qualify and maybe we’d get them after a year in prep school.

    Under Amato, in a 25 man class, we’d be sweating out…twenty guys. Dave Glenn said it and backed it up with hard stats. Under Amato, our classes were regularly in the bottom quarter of the league (with Clemson and FSU) in the avg. GPA and SATs for our recruits. While other schools might have more non-qualifiers, we were regularly filling our classes with the dreaded “academic exceptions.”

    And you can say, “Well, if they are qualified, what’s the problem?”

    The problem is that you’re walking a razor’s edge if you’re expecting those 20 guys to STAY eligible. And let’s be honest, if you take 20 guys who just barely qualified, how many of those kids are ACTUALLY stupid? And how many just don’t give a damn about school?

    And if they don’t give a damn about school, how many are going to make equally brilliant decisions about getting in fights, smoking weed, breaking into cars on Hillsborough Street, etc?

    We were unlucky this year with injuries. But the other attrition, IMO, was not luck. It was purely a statistical reality…or likelihood.

  19. RegularExpression 10/23/2008 at 3:43 PM #

    Although it’s been noted that some lineman from 2006 never enrolled, it is amazing that of the 20 players listed there were only 2 lineman: Gary Gregory, an O lineman who isn’t on the 2 deep, and Audi Augistine, a DE who has all of 2 tackles this year.

    We would have been starting WR’s and DB’s on the line with that kind of recruiting.

  20. choppack1 10/23/2008 at 3:48 PM #

    Noah – I think you may be exaggerating about the # of borderline cases Amato took. If you aren’t, Chuck was the luckiest coach I’ve ever seen.

    You mention Glenn – I know that during UNC’s most successful period – the last few Mack Brown years – his team was in that bottom rung (someone has to be and w/ schools like Duke, Wake, BC, GaTech in your conference..). I think “sweating out” is part of recruiting elite athletes particularly from NC and FL.

    wulfpax – nice #s. But how many of those can be blamed on our D simply not getting off the field. You’re right – in the 1st quarter – when a certain LB was on the field – we were stopping them. I’ll put it this way – the offense can’t get ON the field if the D can’t get off of it.

    Our d is doing a pretty good job keeping guys in front of them. The problem is that they just aren’t getting off the field. FSU and BC just ate us up – chunk, by chunk. Against BC, we bent AND broke. Against FSU – we bent, but didn’t break as much.

  21. Noah 10/23/2008 at 5:33 PM #

    You should email Dave Glenn and ask him (politely) for the numbers. I’ve seen his and had them confirmed elsewhere.

    Our classes were almost completely made up of “academic exceptions.” And yes, I’m aware that Mack Brown did the same thing. That’s THEIR problem. It doesn’t have anything to do with us. Furthermore, it proves my point…as Mack Brown’s last two classes completely imploded on the guys who had to clean up after him.

    They were filled with people who couldn’t stay out of jail, out of academic hell, or out of the coach’s doghouse for knuckleheaded stuff. Remember that RB they had from Virginia who Torbush ultimately assigned a shadow to? They had to walk him to class everyday. He ended up getting thrown out after he had a court summons him back to Virginia to explain why he had several dozen outstanding traffic violations and why he had never shown up for court. He ended up going to K-State and they tolerated him for two more years.

  22. redfred2 10/23/2008 at 6:29 PM #

    He’s good, and some players can absolutely dominate their areas, but Nate Irvin is just ONE player out of eleven. I’m not Mr Football, but the way I see it is that the current defensive strategy gives up too much space/yardage without even contesting it. I mean, you could have eleven Nate Irvins out there, and with the way the secondary lines up, there would still be enough short passing opportunties available to guarantee the opposition high probability on 1st down conversion rates.

    I’d think the DC might try to motivate his personnel EARLY, while possibly getting their heads into the games EARLIER, by taking chances and turning them loose EARLY in the game. I’d just as soon see them blitzing, playing tighter coverage and possibly getting burned in an eight play TD drive, rather than watching them “bending”, and then FINALLY breaking, and eventually giving up the TD after a grueling, time consuming, drive down the field. Also, after that, comes the inevitable as the entire defensive unit is worn out and runs totally out of gas by the late third or fourth quarter.

    I know our blitzes aren’t getting there and are being picked up more often than not, but we have to be more aggressive EARLIER in the games anyway. The effects of GIVING AWAY small chunks may keep us in games longer, but the effects of doing that over and over again, just show up vividly late in the game. I’m one that believes you can win the game in the first quarter just as easily as you can in the fourth, or lose it in that same manner also. I’d say that if anything, the current defensive strategy is only magnifying our lacking depth charts in the later stages of every game.

  23. b 10/23/2008 at 6:52 PM #

    If blitzes aren’t getting there, they will just quicken the pace of the inevitable. If 7-8 guys dropping are giving up 10+ yards a play, 5-6 guys dropping are going to give up 15+. Blitzing is a skill, and not every player has it. Lucas is a great blitzer, a lot of the successful blitzes are when he is in the game. But that is a give away when he comes in that you need to watch out as an offense. Michel is a solid second LB, but he isn’t the leader or the playmaker Irving is, and has clearly suffered from his absence. Maddox is staring to get in on the plays a little better, I expect him to have a breakout game either this week or next.

    And one player can make a tremendous difference when he is your best player and repsonsible for calling the defensive audibles. Irving has a talent for countering the QB audibles and getting the defense into a good situation, and he also makes plays outside the scheme, like those tackles for loss on run plays that they rarely get since he left the lineup. Notice how the TOs have dropped to near zero as soon as he went out as well. A great MLB has the same impact on a defense that a QB has on the offense. He makes others better in addition to the plays he makes himself.

  24. SEAT.5.F.2 10/23/2008 at 7:11 PM #

    “The 5 were Tobias Palmer (big loss), Mangrum (unk entity)..”

    Both are at same JuCo, Ga Military, and are solid verbals for ’11. I know schools place guys at Hargrave and this seems like its going more that route, except atleast 1/2 semester longer. That leaves one player from class that signed and left (Jaradat from Canada).

    I have no idea about Everett or Locust, whether they were complete longshots at getting in or not. Lets see how many others there will be in four/five years to add to the one so far. Something tells me it may beat 41%

  25. Primewolf 10/23/2008 at 7:25 PM #

    What is the matter with you guys?? No one is outraged at the negative presentation of the N&O article. The photos of NC State players with stamps over their foreheads. It made me throw the paper down. What a negative portrayal. They would neve do that to another school. It appeared like a police lineup.

    Can you imagine an article like that on UNC. How about all the UNC players that smoked pot and got into legal trouble a few years ago. I don’t remember seeing a lineup blasted across the sports page.

    It is not that we had many players dismissed from the program, but the negative presentation is just another slap in the face. For many folks that don’t read the article and just see the page, they clearly would have had a negative entry.

    I don’t care if SFN pointed out the attrition some time ago and is glad to say they beat Tysac to it. But I do truely do hate the N&O. Why can’t we have more economic power with those idiots.

Leave a Reply