Tuesday Football Bytes

Maryland and North Carolina currently sit as the ACC’s only two bowl eligible teams, but a quick look at the conference’s standings before week 10 will show that every team in the conference – except for NC State – has the chance to ultimately control their own destiny.  It is a crazy season! 

  • The loss to Maryland didn’t crush me as much as I would have expected.  The primary reasons for this are as follows:
    1. I have come to grips with the fact that this season as a whole is generally a lost cause and, therefore, my focus has turned from wanting to compile a successful body of work to wanting to pick off some specific scalps.  Said another way – who cares if we finish below .500 this season if we can beat ECU, UNC, Wake and Duke.  We still have that opportunity.
    2. I didn’t have to invest money or time watching the game.
    3. I completely understand and accept the impact of our thin breadth and depth of our roster on our performance and am actually quite pleased with some of the progress we have made in certain areas such as quarterback play and offensive line play.
    4. I generally accept the comments and perspective shared by this blogger.
    • Before the Maryland game ESPN ran a “Mid-Season Report” on the Wolfpack that you can view by clicking here.

    Another year under Tom O’Brien, and another year of injuries so extensive we’ll never know how good the Wolfpack could have been. A total of 12 starters have been injured, but the most important was at quarterback, where three different starters were needed. Against East Carolina, Russell Wilson proved he was capable of leading the Pack’s offense. T.J. Graham has helped field position tremendously and developed quickly as a receiver.

    • Translation?  The familiar Wolfpack refrain – wait til next year!
    • S6 has an update on the Wolfpack’s statistical rankings after 8 games available here.  Warning – it is not pretty.
    • You may have missed this great video from ESPN if you don’t check the site over the weekends.  I wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss it.  I also wanted to ask how the 9th string production crew from ESPN could film, produce, edit and ultimately create such a great video in less than 48 hours while NC State’s marketing department can’t seem to generate anything remotely this good given unlimited time?
    • While we are discussing videos, this is another entry that you have to see and is obviously not included in my previous comments.
    • I gotta throw some attention 850TheBuzz’s way because they have already highlighted something on which I have had my eye – a potential BCS scenario of taking an undefeated Penn State over a one-loss team from the SEC of even Big 12.  (Or even USC who dominated by over 30+ points the same Ohio State team that Penn State struggled to beat by a touchdown).  Link here.

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    21 Responses to Tuesday Football Bytes

    1. TomPack 10/28/2008 at 8:56 AM #

      I think the best way to describe Pack athletics (football and basketball) is the old adage “it’s always darkest before the dawn.” We knew it would take a few seasons to fix the mess left behind in both programs. But understand this…considering the injury hell the football team has been hit with we should not even be competative in many of these games. Why are we? Good coaching staff in place.
      Look at the recruiting sheets and notice how well Coach O’B is doing in beginning to bring in good solid players. Also notice that he is recruiting positions not just trying for the superstar player but not surounding him with talent to build a winner. We are in better shape than the record shows…yes I hate losing too but I would rather have a few bad seasons at the beginning and get continually better that start out great and fade into a mess like as we have seen under the last staff. Remember the horrific mess Coach O’B landed in at Boston College. It was far worse than anything he is having to face here…if he can do what he did there we are going to be an ACC contnder within the next two years.
      The same can be said about the B’Ball program. Coach Lowe, I think is a good fit. He understands the importance of beating Duke and Carolina. Think about this: would the two best players in the country have even listed State as a possibility under the last few coaches? The last time I think we had this kind of attention from top players was when Coach Valvano was here. I know it is hard to be patient after having to put up with so much junk the last few years but we are some of the truest fans in the country. How many other schools would still sell out home game despite record and weather? Not too many that’s for damn sure. So for those who can go to games…GO! Go and cheer like heck for those of us unable to be there but wish we could be! Sorry to rant and ramble but sometimes you just need to counter some of the negativity that is out there…after all, we are always hardest on the ones we love. GO PACK!

    2. Scooter 10/28/2008 at 9:02 AM #

      After speaking with a lot of my old friends this weekend who attended other schools in the triangle, each one of them expressed concern for their own schools’ records in future years against NCSU becaue of their regard for Tom O’Brien and the fact that he will probably be at NCSU for the long-haul. They put this in contrast to their coaches who one UNC fan deemed “opportunistic.”

      That point aside, it is promising to actually see our team improve over the course of a season rather than seeing the slide we became accustomed to under Amato. The final record on the year is going to sting a lot, but we’ve got to hold on to the small victories.

    3. Noah 10/28/2008 at 9:04 AM #

      I think we’ve shown that our offense will be okay under O’Brien. We’ve got one good, young QB (hopefully another in Glennon). We’ve got some good, young OL. We’ve got some good, young WRs. We’ve got a good, young TE in George Bryan.

      The defense has been a complete mess, of course. But I am hopeful that a return to the mean with injuries next year will allow the front seven to be much improved. I think a healthy Irving, a more experienced Dwayne Maddox and HOPEFULLY a healthy Terrell Manning will provide a quality LB corp.

      The big question I have right now is with the secondary. I don’t see much to be hopeful about there.

    4. RickJ 10/28/2008 at 9:37 AM #

      “The big question I have right now is with the secondary. I don’t see much to be hopeful about there.”

      Noah – Have you heard anything about the four DB’s we have red shirting this year – Grant, Cunningham, Wilson & Wolf? The true freshman Ellis is starting to play a little more and hopefully will develop. It seems like Barnes is set at RB but he could move to safety.

      If Javon Walker could return to health, that would also be a big plus.

    5. Noah 10/28/2008 at 9:38 AM #

      Barnes is going to stay at RB. He’s too good of an athlete to waste at safety.

      The only thing I’ve heard is that they really like Wolff. Have heard squat about everyone else.

    6. Daily Update 10/28/2008 at 10:05 AM #

      Didn’t Penn St. demolish the same Oregon St team that beat USC?

      Our problems on defense are made worse because the linebackers and secondary play almost every snap. No matter how bad they tackle, there is nobody else to put in the game. Regardless of how those four secondary guys are playing on the Scout team, at least we will have a little bit of depth back there and at linebacker.

      Look at who Amato had on his first team at NC State on defense:

      CB -Brian Williams – NFL starter
      S – Adrian Wilson – NFL starter
      S – Terrence Holt – NFL starter at times over his career until this year
      LB – Levar Fisher (ACC Defensive Player of the Year during his career, NFL 3 seasons)
      MLB – Dantonio Burnette (ACC Defensive Player of the Year during his career, one of the best in school history)
      LB – Clayton White – NFL backup for NY Giants for about 3 years
      DE – Corey Smith – Still playing in the NFL today

    7. Noah 10/28/2008 at 10:20 AM #

      Amato inherited a team with a really good back-seven. The problem was the DL was below average…so we couldn’t pressure the QB without blitzing.

      That first team of his was good…just thin.

    8. Trip 10/28/2008 at 11:10 AM #

      Uhm, I’m not sure what happened, but some of the code on this page (Probably the video) completely destroyed firefox 3 as the layout of the whole blog is fux0red up and all over the place. Works in IE, but firefox takes a crap.

    9. ChiefJoJo 10/28/2008 at 1:03 PM #

      I completely agree with all points (1-4). I know people are frustrated, but given all that has occured, our team has been competitive in nearly every game (minus SC & USF), and there is no sign of quit. I have been pleasantly surpised in the offensive improvements to this point.

      I clicked over to PackPride yesterday and saw a 12-page thread on Archer. Didn’t read any of it, but I can only assume some folks want him fired. I didn’t watch the MD game, but have seen all the others, and I can say that he is doing a decent job. All you can ask of him is for him to get the most out of *what we have* and put guys into the best possible position–given their skills–to make plays. In game after game, I have seen our guys put in good position for the tackle, only to whiff completely (especially the DBs).

      I would submit that given the injuries to key personnel (Cash, Irving, Johnson, Walker), there is no reason to let Archer go after this season, especially when lack of staff continuity was a HUGE problem under Amato. Let’s try to steal the mythical state championship, keep the staff in tact, recruit our tails off, and come back stronger next year and make a bowl game.

    10. Noah 10/28/2008 at 1:34 PM #

      I don’t even know how you can evaluate Archer at this point. We’ve got a defense that’s full of walk-ons, we don’t even HAVE a two-deep anymore…and we’ve got starters playing on kickoff and punt coverage.

    11. Par Shooter 10/28/2008 at 1:35 PM #

      Absolutely NO WAY to judge Archer at this point in his tenure. The combination of little talent and no depth in the back-7 would hamstring any DC. Besides, we’ve been led to believe that Archer’s preference and long-term plan is to play a lot of 3-4 with zone blitzes but our LB numbers (and probably some light DE’s) just won’t allow it. Bottom line is that he’s trying to keep us in games when we are woefully undermanned and make the other team execute. I’m as disappointed as anybody with our guys missing tackles, giving up 8 yd plays on 3rd and 6 and all of the other mess we’ve seen. But to try to hang that on Archer is silly at this point.

      As Noah said, the real question is when will help arrive in the secondary. I think the last class went a long way towards addressing LB over the next couple of years but we need guys who can come in and play in the secondary. I’d love to see at least 2 JuCo guys who can come in and help as much as Clem Johnson.

    12. Pack92 10/28/2008 at 3:34 PM #

      Anybody who wants Archer fired after the motley crew he was dealt is dumb as a rock. Read Noah’s post again. We’re lucky the waterboy isn’t on the kickoff team. Yet. Our guys have shown improvement all year but the continuing injuries and overall lack of talent just keep sucking us back into the black hole.

    13. whitefang 10/28/2008 at 4:05 PM #

      I am disappointed in our record this year, but am in no way thinking that we should even talk about firing any of TOB’s coaches. I still believe we are lucky as HELL to have this coaching staff based on the way our athletic dept. can screw up a wet you know what. I stupidly expected (hoped?) for a few more wins at this point, but we were thin before the injuries piled up. With them I guess we are lucky (or pretty well coached) to even be competitive.
      On a future note, I watched the UNC-BC game off an on and damn if the Tar Babies didn’t look pretty strong to me last week. I also saw them in person at the UVa-UNC game. I really thought Butch gave that one away from poor coaching decisions (and I greatly enjoyed every minute of it). If we can give them a game, I’ll be pretty happy. With our thin talent level any wins against Duke, Wake, or UNC would be found money at this point. Beating 2 of the 3 would be a heck of an accomplishment.

    14. jmnorris 10/28/2008 at 4:32 PM #

      I’m not sure if anyone could do better with the players we have on the field, but I’m still not happy with Archer. I wWILL admit that I have never been a fan of the hire, so maybe I’m just being biased. My best friend is a UK fan so I’ve watched my fair share of UK games the past 3-4 years and even then I felt that Archer was not a good DC. People have argued that UK had schollys taken away from them so they didn’t have SEC-level defensive players and I’ve also heard that he never really got to use his players that he recruited. Well, as you get more schollys back and as you teach your players each year, shouldn’t the defense become better??? Archer’s defensive units got worse and worse each year he was at UK. Then, he leaves and this year their defense was/is in the top 25 in the nation (not sure after losing 63-5 to Florida…0/2 on first punts UK!?!) And did anyone listen to the TOB show? He addressed the “DB’s giving a 10 yd cushion to the WR” issue and said that “we coach them to play tighter and we don’t like to see those cushions from the sideline, it’s something they just end up doing I think to be comfortable.” I can see that happening a few times, but it feels like they ALWAYS line up like that. If a player is ignoring your coaching, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT (Singletary vs Vernon Davis).

      With that said, players WILL blow assignments and you can’t honestly expect too much from the personel we have playing. Again, I don’t think you can fairly judge him from his time here at NCSU due to injuries and lack of experience. But I personally would have him on a short leash next year, esp if we are healthy.

    15. Daily Update 10/28/2008 at 5:09 PM #

      2007 defensive statistics:

      NC State/UK

      YPG 393.9/390
      pts 28.3/29.8

      This year UK has improved. But that could be for a lot of reasons. UK had 17 interceptions last year, so I assume they were still playing a similar defense.

    16. Daily Update 10/28/2008 at 7:49 PM #

      To take statistical rankings at face value usually only tells part of the story. Apparently UK runs a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense. They have an incredible amount of upperclassmen(22 on the depth chart when the 3-4 is run).

      6 seniors
      4 juniors
      1 freshman

      3 seniors
      4 juniors
      1 sophmore
      3 freshman

      When UK Runs a 3-4 defense:
      8 seniors
      3 juniors
      0 freshman

      8 seniors
      3 juniors
      0 sophs
      0 freshman

    17. BackdaPack87 10/28/2008 at 9:53 PM #

      Sorry to high jack the thread but I have read from several blogers, and from a friend that interned at ESPN, that PR has been trashing NCSU and the fans. What do people know about this?

    18. b 10/28/2008 at 11:46 PM #

      If so, he hasn’t done it publicly. He may be miffed by the way Chuck got run off, but he is smart and NCSU fans did, do, and always will, love him whether it is unrequited or not.

    19. choppack1 10/29/2008 at 8:17 AM #

      Regarding Archer – it is definitely hard to make a fair judgement on his tenure here thus far. Still, I understand anyone who is frustrated as heck at watching our D repeatedly giving up 3rd and longs – it’s demoralizing for our D, our offense and our fans.

      We’ll see what happens in these last 4 games. They’ve got an extra week to heal, study and drill.

      I’ve heard that we’ve blitzed roughly 40% of the snaps this year. Of course, blitzing is technically bringing an extra rusher in. One thing we may want to consider is doing things even more drastic. Unfortunately, I think part of the problem is a lack of defensive backs – I’m hoping that we have someone of RWs, Bryant’s ability next year so that we can see the kind of improvement we’ve seen at the QB spot in the DB area. I do think next year our LBs will be fine, but I will be worried about our DT spots.

    20. Greywolf 10/29/2008 at 9:08 PM #

      Our OL is doing very nicely — with 2 studs off the DL starting. I still like the overall result.

      I hate the 10 yd cushion but would hate the 40, 50, or 60 yd TD pass worse. But the coaches are the ones to come up with something that punishes the ongoing passing to the flat. Let 1 DB break on the snap occasionally or something.

    21. TomCat 10/29/2008 at 10:55 PM #

      Beating ECU, UNC, Wake and/or Duke… good :)…and they conceivably all go bowling while we sit home… really not good 🙁

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