O’Brien’s program making more waves (Update 12:30pm)

teams-on-the-riseLet’s turn to something good for a moment, shall we?

On the heels of this fantastic “State of Football” entry that may have gotten lost in the recent administrative news coming out of Raleigh we’ve decided to focus a little more on some football!

There is no doubt that The Sporting News and Matt Hayes have been very complimentary of NC State’s Tom O’Brien in recent years. Even back with TOB was initially hired Hayes was singing the praises.

Nobody could previously foreseen the ridiculous two-year string of baffling injuries that have stunted the on-the-field production of Coach O’Brien’s Wolfpack. This year, however the program enters the season a tad deeper in some key areas and with truly reliable options at quarterback (for the first time since Philip Rivers departed).

The momentum of State’s finish in the 2008 season has propelled the program into some attractive media spotlights this summer including this one from Tom Deinhart at TSN and this one from Joe Giglio at the N&O. And, as you can see here, Matt Hayes has listed NC State as one of his choices as a program on the rise.

* For more on this topic from Hayes and TSN, you can click here. But due to another name mentioned here we are not going to quote anything from the article other than to note that future NC State opponent Tennessee is listed as one of the programs on the decline.

* Check out the Washington Huskies as Dave Curtis’ top choice for a Bandwagon to attach yourself. Don’t talk to me about the impact that good leadership and good decisioning can have on a program. Just last couple of years the Huskies had one of the worst programs in the country under the decisioning of their former Athletics Director, Todd Turner. Of course, Washington wouldn’t put up with Turner and ultimately fired him, compelling us to pen this entry of which we are proud.

* Is it any coincidence that the same Todd Turner was NC State’s Athletics Director in the 1990s when our overall athletics program began accelerated our descent to the bottom of the ACC? Does it scare the hell out of you that Turner ran the most successful Athletics Department at NC State Willis Casey & Jim Valvano? For more on Turner you can search our site and use our Tags.

* For even more thorough look at some items related to this entry you will enjoy this entry.

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'09 Football Tom O'Brien

34 Responses to O’Brien’s program making more waves (Update 12:30pm)

  1. 61Packer 06/10/2009 at 11:57 AM #

    There are only 77 days to go until Wolfpack football kicks off! FINALLY, something for Wolfpack Nation to feel really good about.

    FIRE UP THE GRILLS! Barbequed “Chickens” are on the opening-night menu! Carter-Finley, here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Alpha Wolf 06/10/2009 at 12:19 PM #

    We’ve heard “program on the rise” before, but this time it feels different. The football team is coming together slowly, and without any smoke and mirrors, just hard work. Seems like that’s the way to put it together for the long haul, if you ask me.

  3. Sam92 06/10/2009 at 12:37 PM #

    yes, it’s exciting, and the first game will be so telling — if we are better than south carolina, we could be headed for a BIG season

  4. bradleyb123 06/10/2009 at 1:46 PM #

    ^ “yes, it’s exciting, and the first game will be so telling — if we are better than south carolina, we could be headed for a BIG season”

    I believe we ARE better than SC this year. Last year, if our offense could have been as strong as it was down the stretch, we could have won in Columbia. Unfortunately our stout defense was on the field so long, they eventually wore down and the rout was on.

    Not this year. We have so many more guns this year (and most of the same guns we had last year). We don’t lose this game. Not in Carter-Finley!

  5. backinpack 06/10/2009 at 1:55 PM #

    “This year, however the program enters the season a tad deeper in some key areas and with truly reliable options at quarterback (for the first time since Philip Rivers departed).”

    Seems like I’ve heard that uttered before. I’ll wait until the season is over to determine whether we had 2 reliable quarterbacks for the 2009-10 season. 🙂

  6. nav 06/10/2009 at 1:57 PM #

    I love summer and hate to rush it away but I’m ready for two dates, Sep 3,opening day, and Nov 28, UNC.

  7. WTNY 06/10/2009 at 2:08 PM #

    Here’s a fun thread on PackPride counting down the days via the jersey #s of past/current players:

    xx days till kickoff!

  8. Noah 06/10/2009 at 2:32 PM #

    State hasn’t had a real athletic director since Willis Casey, and I know plenty of people who thought Casey was a penny-pinching loser.

  9. Cosmo96 06/10/2009 at 3:16 PM #

    I’ve said it before, but every time in recent memory that one of our teams has been hyped before the season and predicted to do big things, they’ve fallen flat on their faces. Look at the 07-08 basketball team or this year’s baseball team as examples. I could also throw in the 03-04 football team that, while not bad, was certainly disappointing considering the personnel we had and the fact that we had come so close the year before.

    We have an all-ACC quarterback who finally has a decent backup, and solid RBs and WRs. Our defensive front seven should be stout this year, but the secondary is still a question mark. To me, the biggest question mark on the team is the offensive line. Their performance in Columbia last year was absolutely criminal. Yes, they improved drastically as the season went on, but we saw that the previous year, too. For some reason (personnel changes, maybe), they regressed during the off season and as a result, we all saw that horrid performance against South Carolina. From the reports from the Spring Game, I’m concerned that the same thing may be happening again this off season.

    Look, I know TOB is in charge and its a new era and all that, and there isn’t anyone else I’d want right now leading our football team, but this is only his third year. I think he’s building something great here, but he’s still building. I like the way Alpha Wolf put it above:

    “The football team is coming together slowly, and without any smoke and mirrors, just hard work. Seems like that’s the way to put it together for the long haul, if you ask me.”

    I agree, but believe it is still a work in progress. It may take another couple of years before we see the ultimate product and be able to live up to this kind of hype. As for me, I’m going to temper my expectations for this coming year. I will consider simply getting into a conference-affiliated bowl game to be a successful season. Obviously, I would be ecstatic if I were wrong and we did meet/exceed these great expectations this year.

    One more note: Frankly, I’m to the point now where I fully expect to see injuries en masse, and will be pleasantly surprised if they don’t happen.

  10. tuckerdorm1983 06/10/2009 at 3:18 PM #

    i know that every year i have to tame my optimism. two years ago i was thinking wolfpack basketball to the final four. boy was i wrong. the last few year in both football and basketball i assumed that if we were mediocre then that was a sucess. However, this year can you say BCS!!!!

  11. packalum44 06/10/2009 at 3:31 PM #

    ^Cosmo, you sound like a wise veteran fan who has weathered many years as a Wolfpack fan. I, however, can’t contain my excitement and enthusiasm for this season. One of my favorite posts ever comes from 61Packer off a different thread. While 61 and I may disagree over the Oblinger buyout, we share common ground about this F-ball season:

    “I agree with CStanley and blpack- why not us? We’ve got an outstanding coach who fully understands the importance of league games, especially the one in Raleigh on November 28. We’ve got 2 good QBs and hopefully no more Harrison Becks on this team. There are 8 home games, travel will be at a minimum. The disruptive midseason Thursday night games are gone, replaced by a Thursday night season-opener that I believe could be the key game on the schedule. We have a defense capable of shutting down a Steve Superior team, and I believe we will. We face a good Pitt team but we’re at home, another plus. The 4 road games are winnable, even in Blacksburg. Wolfpack fans KNOW we can now win on the road, including Tallahassee, and FSU fans know it too. The Seminoles are no longer stomping the league and are in fact now vulnerable even in Doak Campbell. I think our team is going to stay healthy and just get better and better as the season goes on. BJD95 should fasten his seat belt for a serious ride into the Top 20 this season, one that I think will end with this team hoisting a trophy filled with oranges. This school, this coach, these fans, and this team are all way overdue. It’s not just time, it’s our time.” – 61Packer

  12. packalum44 06/10/2009 at 3:33 PM #

    By the way, Kyle Parker, a redshirt freshman for Clemson, is likely going to be their starting QB according to Sporting News. Please know that I watched him play at the ESPN All-Star game with Mike Glennon and he couldn’t hold Glennon’s jockstrap. Glennon smoked him (and everyone else) in the skills competition, and Kyle was not impressive in the game either. He’d be competing with Everett Proctor for 3rd string on our team. DON’T underestimate our QBs this upcoming season, especially Mike Glennon. I don’t often foam at the mouth over guys that have never played college ball but this guy is LEGIT.

  13. Alpha Wolf 06/10/2009 at 3:40 PM #

    I saw that too, packalum44, but in real games, a quarterback’s skills (aka effectiveness) are often defined by the quality of his offensive line and the effectiveness of his run support.

    If you have a line that can buy the QB and the receivers a couple of extra seconds for them to get open and the QB to deliver the ball to him, then he’s gonna look great. If he’s not able to have that time, more often than not he’s going to look like a bum.

    Thing is, all those things being equal, Glennon’s arm and his decision making ability will give him an edge, especially as those two things are sharpened by Dana Bible’s coaching.

  14. bradleyb123 06/10/2009 at 3:44 PM #

    Cosmo, I know what you’re saying. All too often, State fans get hyped up and only end up disappointed. But this time, it feels different. In years past, I’ve puffed out my chest and talked up something that didn’t happen. But this year, I feel like just quietly enjoying this, just expecting it to happen. I don’t feel the need to talk trash. I feel like the team is going to talk it for me.

    Last year, when the offense was healthy, they were good. Same for the defense. They just weren’t both healthy (and good) at the same time for over half the season. When they got it together, we saw what they did. Now we’ve added quality depth, and a year of experience. We lost a few players, some great ones (Andre Brown and Anthony Hill). But we have a stable of running backs and some good receivers. We bring a LOT back, and this year they are on the depth chart, not the injury list.

    I know I could be wrong and we could lose. But with each game, it seems the players are buying into TOB’s system more and more. I remember early on his first year, you could tell that was a lot of Amato’s recruits. They seem to be playing smarter now, knowing that the cocky showboating gets you penalties, not wins. I cautiously think we have a better than 50% chance of beating SC. (I’ve been told that if anyone can name 10 of their players from last year, 7 of them are probably gone). If we win that game, then the two D-II games, and find a way to beat Pitt at home (also winnable, especially in Carter-Finley), we can carry some major momentum into the ACC season.

    As for FSU, I know they’re always tough, but they have lost three in a row to Wake Forest. I’m sorry, but they are beatable, even at home.

    It will take a little bit of luck and a little bit of good fortune to get the results I think we can get. At some point, the ball may need to bounce in our favor a time or two. We have everything else we need, though. With a little good fortune, this could be a spectacular year. I wish it was September NOW!

  15. LKNpackfan 06/10/2009 at 4:23 PM #

    Even if we do lose to USC, I think we could have 6 wins by the 7th game. A start like that would be a huge boost as the team travels to Tallahassee.
    Lose there, and we may slip also to Maryland. Win, and we roll over them without a doubt. Then, I unfortunately see two tough losses in Clemson and @VT leading into the UNC game, and against them, the date of our last win will anchor the team’s confidence. That FSU game is the inflection point of the season, imo.

  16. bradleyb123 06/10/2009 at 4:33 PM #

    I agree that FSU is the inflection point. But the Wake and BC games are important tests. We haven’t played well in Winston-Salem in a few years, and BC has also been a tough out for us. Neither is a gimme. If we fail either of those tests, FSU starts to look more like just another game we’ll probably lose.

  17. rtpack24 06/10/2009 at 4:35 PM #

    Talked to several coaches at other ACC schools and the team they seemed worried about the most is NC State. That is a very good sign!

  18. LKNpackfan 06/10/2009 at 4:36 PM #

    I’ll give you WFU, even though they lost quite a few players defensively, but BC should be horrible this year.

  19. TheCOWDOG 06/10/2009 at 5:48 PM #

    ” State hasn’t had a real athletic director since Willis Casey, and I know plenty of people who thought Casey was a penny-pinching loser.”

    What he was Noah, was a penny-pinching, chain smoking, 2nd class thinking manager. Not a loser, despite his love of bus over plane, quonset huts and dorms over motels, salisbury over rib eye, Timex over Bulova. We thought that he could have upgraded for us and we cut him all the time.

    But in retrospect, there are a ton of us who look back and nod our heads in approval.

    He was not soley responsible for Sloan’s departure either. A little thing one night that never found the Raleigh police blotter provided a bit of a catalyst.

    Oh, Willis drank Cutty over Johnny. He just couldn’t help himself from being cheap.

    I realize this isn’t an AD thread, but I grabbed the opening.

    I’m jazzed about the potential I’m seeing for the fall. The secondary gives me great concerns, but our front should help take some pressure off. I’m still gonna be looking for big hitters that can wrap-up too.

    Receiving corp could be the best in the ACC and am confident we’ll have someone to get it there. Gameday will tell.

  20. Noah 06/10/2009 at 8:16 PM #

    Casey wasn’t before my time. I certainly remember him. But he was before I was aware of what an AD actually did (other than kiss the basketball coach when they won the national championship).

  21. Dogbreath 06/10/2009 at 10:12 PM #

    Last year, we were the worst tackling team I have ever seen at any level. I’m talking about the open field, one on one, square and wrapup plays. We were horrible in that respect. He may have been credited with one, but I didn’t see Robbie Leonard make a solo tackle the entire season.

    We have to get better there. But I agree our front four is going to be stout. Other than Irving, I’m not sure we have good speed at LB and I am concerned about them in space.

    Offense will be good enough to get 24 ppg in the ACC. Can our defense stop people?

  22. howlie 06/10/2009 at 11:17 PM #

    I think the word “SINCE” was left out of the last sentence posted in red & bold letters.

  23. Sam92 06/11/2009 at 9:15 AM #

    Cosmo I understand your reservations – and I’m not getting my hopes up overmuch. That’s why I think the South Carolina game will be so telling. If we can beat USC, then I think we do have cause for great optimism about the rest of the season. If we’re not ready for the gamecocks, however, I think it portends a midling season. Our first game this year is huge for that reason.

  24. packalum44 06/11/2009 at 4:08 PM #

    According to Pack Pride, Pete Thomas, a 4-star QB out of California, has a HIGH interest in NC State and only medium interest in all other schools (of which most are on the East Coast and all have offered but us). They also mention he is close to making a decision. Apparently he was unable to camp at NC State this summer so Dana Bible went to CA to watch him work out. Says he has family in NC and doesn’t mind the distance. Any one know about him?

  25. bradleyb123 06/11/2009 at 5:44 PM #

    packalum44, I read about him this week. I hadn’t heard about him having a HIGH interest in NC State, but I love to hear that sort of news. If TOB keeps improving, and building, it may not be long before he gets to the point where he practically picks any recruit he wants. I can only imagine how recruiting will improve if we have a 9- or 10-win season or better this year. He’s really building something.

    As for Pete Thomas, if he’s close to making a decision, I sure hope we get an offer on the table quickly (if he’s as good as his rating, I mean).

    I’m loving some NC State football! Can’t wait until September 3rd! GO PACK!!!

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