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).

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

  1. redfred2 10/23/2008 at 7:47 PM #

    ^Great points B, and I pretty much agree about Irvin. But if they’re out there and basically holding the opposition the way the “semi”-prevent defense is step to do it, exhausting precious energy early over VERY extended periods of time, but then still giving up points in the end, then what is the point? Take chances, play tighter, limit the shorter gains, and possibly get burnt by doing so. Make a stop, or give up the score, but either way, get their butts off the field, try to conserve precious energy, and pray for offense.

    I also said about the game last week, that our offense looses any and all rhythym or momentum by having to stand around inactive, watching from the sidelines for such long periods of the game.

  2. choppack1 10/23/2008 at 8:05 PM #

    Noah – good point about the way Mack’s last 2 recruiting class imploded. I had forgotten about that.

    My larger point was that a very high # of the best players are often borderline students. I think Amato – perhaps from years at FSU – had a natural eye and belief in these guys.

    redfred – I wouldn’t want to be the DC in this current situation – it’s kind of a pick your poison. Saturday – the bend but don’t break offense – and FSU’s strange refusal to throw jump balls near the goal line – gave us a shot at winning.

  3. redfred2 10/23/2008 at 8:22 PM #

    I’ll back off, I just believe that you at least try to get into the opposition’s head EARLY ON.

  4. BoKnowsNCS71 10/23/2008 at 10:05 PM #

    Redfred — so true. They would never have have shown Buntings dirty dozens — so why this now? Very suspicious.

  5. Alpha Wolf 10/24/2008 at 7:32 AM #

    Why can’t we have more economic power with those idiots. [The N&O]

    They’re losing subscribers and laying off people as it is. You do have economic power.

  6. Par Shooter 10/24/2008 at 7:34 AM #

    I went back and counted and I actually count 7 guys from the last class who never made it to campus. They are as follows:
    Everett DT 3*
    Locust DT 3*
    Linney DT 3*
    Jaradat G 2*
    Jones OT 4*
    Palmer CB 3*
    Mangram S 3*

    That is 19 enrolled out of 26, for a 73% clip. Considering that its common to have further defections as guys go through their first couple of years I consider that a sobering start for this class. And when we are desperately hurting for DT’s in a couple of years we’re really going to miss Everett and Linney. In looking at the roster I think the only scholarship underclassman DT is Wayne Crawford. We may be forced to play a 3-4 simply due to lack of bodies in the middle. Even at that you need a really good NT and at least 2 decent guys behind him.

  7. Par Shooter 10/24/2008 at 7:51 AM #

    The news from the transitional class (07) is actually better so far from an attrition standpoint. This is certainly good news and I find it quite surprising. By my count we’ve only lost the following guys. Linney also originaly committed with this class but we shouldn’t double count him.
    Barnes LB 2*
    Golder G 2*
    Whaley G 2*

    The 2 OL were both Amato commits that signed with TOB. I don’t recall if they were on the team last year and quit, didn’t qualify or what the story was. But considering Chuck’s acumen in identifying OL and their low * ranking I think we can survive this. We actually have quite a few young OL that seem promising and these guys would have likely been recruited over anyway.

    Thomas Barnes is the real head scratcher to me. This guy played some as a true frosh and had his moments. He certainly would have projected to play a lot this year and possibly even start at LB. And he was a TOB commit so it’s hard to blame it on Amato. I have heard that he showed up to camp overweight but I don’t know if that’s true (help?). Whatever the case may be, he could have helped us this year and into the future with LB depth that we desperately need. Even if he was out of shape you would think that could be worked out (bad pun) without a parting of ways. Hell, redshirt him this year if you have to and just let him run steps and puke off the weight. Does anybody know more on the Barnes case that they can share? 3 guys who should be playing a lot at LB right now are Avery Vogt, Thomas Barnes and John Ware. Not having those guys really hurts when you have to play guys like Maddox, Michel and Leonard 80+ snaps per game.

  8. Alpha Wolf 10/24/2008 at 8:14 AM #

    A little news: I heard from someone who knows Sam Jones that Sam will be in class at NC State in January.

    I no longer have premium memberships at PP or TWP any more, and have no confirmation, but this person does know Jones quite well, so I am taking him at his word.

  9. Par Shooter 10/24/2008 at 8:14 AM #

    Another good sign from the last 2 classes is the % of guys redshirting. By my count we only burned 4 redshirts last year (Kuhn, Spencer, Underwood, Vermiglio) if you throw out the aforementioned Barnes who is gone. We redshirted 13 guys including names like Bryan, Rieskamp and Wilson who are already contributing heavily as RS-Fr.

    Of the current Fr class I count 5 redshirts burned so far (Ellis, Gentry, Graham, Lucas, Maddox) and we really need all of those guys playing. I think Gentry may have been a walk-on. That leaves roughly 13 scholarship guys redshirting, including names like B.Barnes, Glennon, Manning, Mattes, Wallace and Allen. Guys that should help – possibly as early as next year. We also have ~7 freshmen on the roster that weren’t in the recruiting database that have not played. I guess you call them redshirts and maybe some contribute down the road.

  10. Noah 10/24/2008 at 8:25 AM #

    Qualifer vs. non-qualifier is not an issue.

    If you did not qualify, you are not here. Therefore, you were never part of the problem or the solution. You simply are not a factor.

    The attrition problem lies at the feet of those that showed up and, for whatever reason, stopped showing up.

  11. SEAT.5.F.2 10/24/2008 at 8:49 AM #

    Conversation has got good on this one; a few tangents but ones that are well deserved of conversation.

    ^^^Chop brought up a demographic of athlete thats is sort of taboo to mainstream sports media, but sort of fascinating in a sports psyc perspective. Many who delve into the theory associate borderline HS students as a high proportion of big time play makers at the next level. I heard Colin Cowherd (who never shy’s from conrtaversy) That most book smart teenagers would not play like a

    I disagee with this generalization and instead attribute alot of the perceived differences of academic talents to maturity. I would back this by observing that by the interviews heard and the sheer amount of film/play stay the uber talented athletes display in the NFL show that the dumb jock myth just don’t stick.

    Amato deserves admiration with realizing this distinction, he was able to get hrough and connect with many of his players that were probably very immature for their age mentally while being freakishly mature physically. He got most of the players who did stick it out to really grow into confident and dependable people, you have to admire that. I just beleive that his last couple years he either pressed his clean open slate policy to the edge and it back fired, subsequently he the music.

    It’s friday and that was probably way to much diagnosis of a program that gives the Terps Coach less problems then indigetion tommorow.

  12. SEAT.5.F.2 10/24/2008 at 9:25 AM #

    It will be very exciting to get to see Tobias Palmer and Roy Mangum arrive after fullfiling JuCo obligations. They both sound like they can offer alot in the area’s of expertise (Palmer speed to burn & Mangum a crushing hitter).

    Sam Jones should give us a cushion if he’s at State and suited up for spring game. It is going to be very important to fill the voids left by Meares Green and John Bedics at OG. We should have enough young guys ready to step in but it would be great to get a cohesive unit started early with the C and OT’s coming back. You will never see what a true TOB/Bible offense is until their OL is performing at the standard of toughness & technique that they want. Everything is built on this unit and the QB’s decision making.

  13. Par Shooter 10/24/2008 at 9:55 AM #

    Noah, I disagree a little regarding guys who don’t qualify out of HS. With the 25 scholarship limit and our overall numbers down it is important to get big classes here at the outset. Guys who sign an LOI and take one of our 25 slots but then never contribute to the program hurt us (IMO). Granted our investment is less than guys who leave after 2 years but I consider non-qualifiers to be part of the attrition problem. If they prep for a year and come back with 5 to play 4 then it doesn’t hurt too bad although they still count against our 25 during consecutive years. Guys who go Juco and return count twice plus lose 2 years of playing – meaning that they pretty much have to be ready to contribute when they get here. Guys who never return have taken a spot from a recruiting class with absolutely no return. I guess I look at it as opportunity cost since we could have signed a guy who would have been here helping build the program for 4-5 years. Then there’s Chad Green (didn’t he count in at least 2 classes and never even make it to campus?).

  14. Noah 10/24/2008 at 10:04 AM #

    Well, you can oversign if you know a guy isn’t going to qualify. Alabama certainly did last year. Miami did as well.

    Roy Mangram, for instance, was a known entity when he signed last year. Everyone knew he wasn’t going to qualify. Same with Everete…the DL from Florida. The one that hurt us was Tobias Palmer, since everyone thought he WOULD make it.

    But even then, if a guy doesn’t qualify and has to do a year of prep, you expect to get him next year. You get the benefit of an extra year of training, of school prep work, etc.

    Torry Holt, for instance, admits that his senior year of high school was a joke. He said that he rarely went to class and didn’t do any work. He didn’t qualify and had to go to ForK union (or Hargrave, I can’t remember which). He had to bust his ass.

    I believe he would probably be the first to tell you that the year of prep school helped him immensely in the classroom and it helped instill that insane work ethic that made him one of the best players in the NCAA and in the NFL.

    I don’t want to get into name-calling, but just consider….who is more likely to be a constant worry for a coaching staff – the smart guy or the dumbass? Who is more likely to be the guy that everyone worries about his eligibility – the smart guy or the dumbass? Who is more likely to start breaking into cars on Hillsborough Street – the smart guy or the dumbass? Who is more likely to make no effort whatsoever to hide their drunk-driving escapades or their pot smoke efforts – the smart guy or the dumbass? Who is more likely to cheat – the smart guy or the dumbass? Who is more likely to quit – the smart guy or the dumbass?

  15. GAWolf 10/24/2008 at 10:07 AM #

    Yes or no question here:

    Anyone else hearing rumblings about Fowler over the last 48 hours?

  16. BoKnowsNCS71 10/24/2008 at 10:37 AM #

    rumblings? I hear them daily but I’ve heard nothing.

  17. WolftownVA81 10/24/2008 at 11:57 AM #

    When Fowler goes, my checkbook comes out again.

  18. Old School Wolf 10/24/2008 at 12:31 PM #

    ^ Everett may be here later(Juco); some rumors/info around that Locust was qualified and signed based on his need to red shirt a year ( 3 to play 2) but he only had 2 to play 2. Whaley and Golder realy wanted to be Wolfpackers and we could sure use them. Whaley did not qualify and Golder is a medical hardship-(knee).

  19. GAWolf 10/24/2008 at 12:34 PM #

    Agreed Wolftown, agreed.

  20. Pack92 10/24/2008 at 1:21 PM #

    Sort of off topic but the best “rumblings” I am hearing (and seeing) are from TN and Auburn people for ‘ol butch slap. I think Butch is going to be making alot of money next year and NOT at the hole.

  21. BoKnowsNCS71 10/24/2008 at 3:47 PM #

    well after I read some of the things here I wrote a complaint letter to the N&O about that listing of recruits. They say they will publish. Pretty much read them the riot act on doing this to the kids and that they never did this to other schools. Was more written to vent anger then for publication but I told them yes. Good ideas from you all. It may pay for us to get more active in going after the N&O when they err or offend. Their staff and readership is shrinking and it’s going to get worse in this economy as advertising dries up. Every school alumni just wants to be treated respectfully and equally. That article and those mug shots with red letters on them just ticked me off. Like they were treating our guys as thugs.

  22. redfred2 10/24/2008 at 3:53 PM #


    BUT PLEASE!!! TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS, it was written by a guy named James Paul back in October of 2006. Anyway, here’s the article…

    The NCAA Basketball Tournament is among us. This tournament is a looking glass for human hope, excellence and positive social change. It is, in short, a microcosm of the human existence, with all of its exuberance, tragedy and triumph. The NCAA Basketball Tournament is American sports.

    The excitement and tradition of “March Madness” or the NCAA Basketball Tournament as we know it today has been shaped by many significant events in NCAA tournament history: The first NCAA men’s basketball tournament was held in 1939 with the first NCAA tournament championship game held at Northwestern on March 27, 1939. Only eight teams competed in two regions. Oregon defeated Ohio State in the championship game, and the West region held a third-place game.

    Although the NCAA basketball tournament now determines the national champion, that was not always the case. Until the 1950’s, the NIT was considered a more prestigious tournament than the NCAA basketball tournament, and teams often chose to enter the NIT and bypass the NCAA tourney. Because of this dichotomy, two of the best centers of the 1940’s never met in an NCAA basketball tournament. George Mikan’s DePaul team traditionally entered the NIT, while Bob Kurland’s of Oklahoma.

    In 1973, with the championship game held on Monday night for the first time, UCLA behind Bill Walton’s 44 points on 21 of 22 shooting, won its seventh straight championship, defeating Memphis State. NC State, led by David Thompson, ends UCLA’s title run in 1974, defeating the Bruins in the national semifinals in double overtime.

    The following year, the NCAA tournament expanded to 32 teams, and then allowed more than one school from each conference to participate. Prior to this ruling, the restriction prevented several great teams from competing in the tournament, including the 1974 Maryland team. They finished the season nationally ranked #4, yet lost the ACC Conference final game to top-ranked NC State prior to the start of the tournament. After that, the NCAA began to allow more than one team per conference to participate. In 1976, Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosier squad completed an undefeated season with a victory over Michigan in the championship game. The Hoosiers are the last team to go undefeated and win the title.

    The tournament expanded to 40 teams in 1979, and teams were seeded for the first time. “Magic” Earvin Johnson leads Michigan State over Larry Bird and Indiana State to win the national championship. The game drew the attention of millions throughout the country; its 24.1 TV rating remains the highest ever for a college basketball game and is still considered one of the greatest match-ups in NCAA Tournament history.

    Expansion followed in 1980 to 48 teams, and then in 1983, to 53 teams. In what many believe is the greatest Cinderella story in college basketball, North Carolina State’s Lorenzo Charles dunks the ball as time expires in the 1983 championship game to lead the Wolfpack to a 54-52 win over heavily favored Akeem Olajuwon and Houston. Perhaps no one figure in college basketball history more personified the spirit of March Madness than Coach Jim Valvano. His underdog North Carolina State Wolfpack did what many consider a miracle by making an incredible run through the 1983 Tournament. Culminating in the defeat of the highly touted “Phi Slamma Jamma” squad from the University of Houston, Valvano was rocketed into the media limelight and quickly became the symbol of exuberance and enthusiasm. He discovered soon afterward that he had bone cancer, and for a short time became a commentator for college basketball. Before his death at age 47, he was named the recipient of the Arthur Ashe award for courage at the first ESPN ESPY awards. It was at this time he announced the formation of the V Foundation for cancer research.

    In 1985 the tournament expanded to 64 teams. A Villanova Wildcat team shot a 22 for 28 field goal percentage to defeat Patrick Ewing and defending champion Georgetown in the championship game. Villanova remains the lowest seed (#8) to win the championship. In 1991, Duke upset undefeated UNLV in the semifinals and went on to win the national championship. In 1997, Arizona, led by Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Miles Simon, becomes the first school to defeat three #1 seeds en route to the national championship, winning against Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky.

    The NCAA Tournament’s popularity has grown to rival that of the World Series, the Olympics and the Super Bowl. CBS Sports in 1999 negotiated an 11-year, $6 billion agreement for television, radio, Internet, corporate marketing, licensing, publishing, home video and Hoop City rights for the Division I men’s basketball championship.

    Today the NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most watched tournaments of the year. Always exciting you never really know who is going to end up on top!

    Well, I think THAT, should open some eyes around here. THAT, is the NC STATE I know and love so well. Also, please re-read this article and take a count of which college basketball programs are even mentioned, and how many times, and which ARE NOT!!!

  23. redfred2 10/24/2008 at 5:16 PM #

    ^That, is a very rare, generic and UNBIASED!!! viewpoint of what NCAA basketball is all about.

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