===> NC State is half way through Tom O’Brien’s second season but the depth and breadth of the of Wolfpack’s inexplicable rash of injuries makes analysis of the program’s progress under Coach O’Brien challenging. Add to the mix that NC State competes against one of the ten toughest schedules in the country (as judged by Phil Steele) and apples to apples comparisons to other programs becomes more difficult. But, anecdotally I thought that the Boston College came represented a micro-example of some of the macro developments — NC State did not commit a single turnover in the entire game and was flagged for only one penalty. If that isn’t progress over the last season and a half then I don’t know what is.
===> Ironically, the BC game – the 6th game of the year – also represented a sadly ironic twist on NC State’s season: The BC game was the first game of the 2008 season where NC State did not lose at least one starter to injury.
===> 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).
===> The Wolfpacker has a nice summary of the first half of the season that can be seen by clicking here.
===> The week off has hopefully provided NC State a chance to lick some wounds and get some players healthy for Thursday night’s game against Florida State, particularly on defense that was discussed at length in this entry. Unfortunately the depth chart for Thursday night does not include the names of Alan Michael-Cash or Nate Irving. Those would be the big improvements that we need on the injury front. Additionally, Curtis Crouch’s name is also absent from the depth chart.
===> As the N&O wrote yesterday:
N.C. State’s pass rush — or lack thereof — probably was its most outward sign of exhaustion. After totaling nine quarterback sacks over the first four games, the Wolfpack didn’t get a sack against South Florida and managed only one against Boston College.
That’s why the midseason open date is such a blessing. Coach Tom O’Brien gave his weary team, which is 2-4 overall and has lost its first two ACC games, a much-needed break.
“We haven’t gotten to the quarterback for two weeks in a row to put any substantial pressure on anybody, which we had shown the ability to do the first four games,” O’Brien said. “Now we have to get our legs back.”
===> The ACC announced yesterday that State’s game at Maryland will kickoff at 3:30pm and will be available only on ESPN360.
===> UNC-CH lost their best player – wide receiver Brandon Tate – for the year after a knee injury on Saturday. (Video and N&O comments linked here.) That at least evens the Tarheels with the Wolfpack at the WR position related to injuries — NC State lost our best WR (Donald Bowens) before the season began. At least Carolina got the benefit of Tate for half a season. Caulton Tudor is asking if the injury will derail Carolina’s season? in this link.
Injuries are football’s cruel equalizer. Already this season, they’ve cut deeply into N.C. State’s plans for a winning record and East Carolina’s hopes for a big bowl run. With Monday’s news that Brandon Tate will be shelved for the season by a bum right knee, North Carolina (5-1) will be fortunate to avoid becoming the third regional casualty.