Cheap Seats Football Retrospective: Part II, 2000-06

This is Part II of a five-part series that is by no means intended to be authoritative. Rather, it’s nothing more than an incomplete, inconclusive, sometimes erroneous, while always biased retrospective of recent State football history. Part of this was based on nothing more than my attempt to answer the question so many of us are left asking year after year: How did we get here?

1999 NC State Football Helmet

The only known picture from LRM's days in the student section, circa 2001

Part I: The 90s

Part II: Chuck
2000 HelmetChuck Amato arrived at State in early January 2000 already well-known to State fans; to some, from his days leading State’s White Shoes Defense in 1967, but to all of us, as the chief assistant under Bobby Bowden’s national powerhouse at Florida State — two national titles (1993 & 1999) and eight ACC titles (1992-99) — for 19 years. The titles mattered, but he was also a likeable guy whose unique style was in stark contrast to that of his predecessor’s. This desperate fan base was immediately inspired by him, if for no other reason than we wanted to believe in him. The importance of this cannot be understated, because the perception of promise alone was enough for the Wolfpack Club and athletic department to roll out its brilliantly-designed Lifetime Rights (more like Racket), the plan linked to season tickets that would ensure long-term financial commitments from the fans based on expected future value (I’m seven years into mine and still waiting).

Amato got the immediate financial commitment from us and, more importantly, he got Philip Rivers. In his debut in 2000, Amato led State to a 4-0 start and our first victory over Carolina since 1992, then eventually led an overachieving team to an 8-4 record and a come-from-behind MicronPC Bowl victory over Minnesota. Then in 2001, he became the first ACC coach to win in Tallahassee since Florida State had joined the conference in 1992, and for the first time in a decade, State was going to a bowl in consecutive seasons (although we lost to Antonio Bryant and Pittsburgh 34-19 in the Tangerine Bowl the day after I graduated).

Through two seasons, most of us were pleased with the progress of a very young team, especially considering the magnitude of the recruiting inroads Amato had made in Florida — we were landing athletes that were capable of being playmakers at multiple positions. For the first time since 1994, many of us believed there was something brewing, evidenced by the influx of new LTRs and season ticket sales.

By October 2002, it appeared Amato had finally delivered on his seemingly far-fetched rhetoric. After a 38-6 ESPN Thursday-night romp at Clemson, we were 9-0 and ranked eighth by the AP. Driving back home up I-85 after the game late that night, my buddy Worm and I were talking Fiesta Bowl, or as a consolation, the Orange Bowl as ACC champions. But like so many times before (and since), those plans proved to be a bit premature. Amato, like so many before him (but hopefully not after him), was unable to escape that miscreant destiny that keeps us State fans disdainfully, tragically grounded.

The following weekend in Raleigh, on a “picturesque” North Carolina November evening, State was in control, leading Georgia Tech 17-9 with 13:02 to play. To that point, our defense had manhandled Tech, highlighted by two different defensive stands inside the three that forced the Yellow Jackets to settle for two field goals. Alas, as the sun slipped behind those tall North Carolina pines west of Carter-Finley (but not quite 25 miles west, where most pines grow), an autumn chill filled the air, and upon it Tech rallied for 15 unanswered and then stopped State on three different drives in the fourth quarter to preserve the 24-17 victory and subsequently defeat any notion we had of our first national championship. Consecutive losses at Maryland and Virginia followed, which quickly eliminated any hopes of our first ACC title since 1979. There would be no trip to Miami for the New Year.

However, we salvaged the best season of our long football history with a 17-7 home victory over Florida State in the season finale. Along with the well-documented propensity for State fans to travel en masse to bowl games, the merit of our 10 wins rightfully earned us a berth to the Gator Bowl. Few pundits gave 17th-ranked State much of a fighting chance over 12th-ranked Notre Dame that New Year’s Day 2003, but Thunder Dan led a physical State defense that knocked both quarterback Carlyle Holiday and tight end Gary Godsey out of the game in the first quarter, and then intercepted backup Pat Dillingham three times while holding the Irish to only 286 total yards. Meanwhile, Rivers and Jerricho Cotchery connected 10 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Even after the disheartening November meltdown, 2002 had appeared to be the breakout season for both Amato and the program.

Rivers’ return for his senior season fueled our intense optimism and soaring expectations for 2003, which was set up to be epic: State had both a legitimate Heisman contender and the chance to showcase him on national television against the defending National Champions, which would also serve as the game that would catapult us officially into the national championship hunt. Instead, we stumbled early with consecutive losses in Winston-Salem and then in that nationally-televised matchup in Columbus, which ended any national championship aspirations by mid-September. Hopes for a conference championship quickly faded over the next few weeks after dispiriting losses in Atlanta and then in Tallahassee. A season-ending home loss to Maryland after blowing a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter left us at 7-5, which was only good enough for another Tangerine Bowl bid, where Rivers led us past a mismatched Kansas 56-26. Like O’Cain after 1994, Amato failed to capitalize on the promise of 2002 and build any sustained success.

In 2003, the weak defense had been largely to blame for the five losses, while in 2004, it would be quite the opposite. The plan to replace Rivers with Jay Davis – and then replace Davis with Marcus Stone a couple years later – had always seemed firm and promising on paper. But in reality, it went horribly, terribly awry.

In retrospect, 2004 was the season where most of us realized anyone would look good coaching Philip Rivers. It was a season that harked back upon the decade prior: we won a game we shouldn’t have won, when State’s #1-ranked defense overwhelmed Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, handing the Hokies their only conference loss in their Sugar Bowl season; and we lost both a game we shouldn’t have lost and lost to Carolina in the same game, after referee Jim Knight disapproved of linesman Rick Page’s call and took T.A. McLendon’s winning touchdown off the scoreboard (something that can only happen to State, and only in Chapel Hill), and then on the next play after the reversal, T.A. tried to go over the top but instead fumbled away the “victory.” State finished at 5-6, and for the first time under Amato, was left out of the bowl picture.

In 2005, State salvaged an otherwise bland and disappointing season by winning four of its last five games and then defeated South Florida 14-0 in a listless Meineke Car Care Bowl (if you don’t remember much about that game, it’s probably because you missed all of the scoring while you were standing in line with me at Will Call through the entire first quarter). Nevertheless, Amato’s seat was hot. He usually tried to say all the right things, but that same rhetoric that had initially endeared us to him had begun to fall on deaf ears. He was proving to be all hat and no cattle; he lacked substance and many of us grew increasingly tired of his shtick, especially those of us that required at least some accountability.

The irony: in 2002 many of us were worried that Amato would leave us to replace Bobby Bowden at Florida State, but by 2006, many of us were hoping that he would.

This much is undeniable: State fans are a tough crowd, and by the end, he certainly wasn’t helping his cause. He was only 3-3 against Carolina, and had lost two straight in the series going into 2006, a season that quickly deteriorated into an absolute catastrophe that rivaled State basketball’s 0-for-February in 2000. He was unable to overcome early season losses at home to Akron – after which he deferred blame by calling Akron’s admissions of partial qualifiers an unfair advantage – and then a week later in Hattiesburg to Southern Mississippi. The season finally, mercifully, ended at 3-9, after seven consecutive losses. As it turned out, Amato’s tenure ingloriously ended in 2006 the exact same way as his predecessor’s in 1999, with losses on the road to Carolina and East Carolina.

After nearly 15 years of the newfound emphasis on the football program, we finally had the unrivaled state-of-the art facilities we’d been told for years we needed to compete and aspire to national prominence. What we needed in 2007 was someone that could build an actual foundation, but more importantly, someone that could win in Raleigh without Philip Rivers.

That would be no small feat.

About LRM

Charter member of the Lunatic Fringe and a fan, loyal to a fault.

Chuck Amato Fans Flashback NCS Football Tradition

50 Responses to Cheap Seats Football Retrospective: Part II, 2000-06

  1. MatSci94 07/29/2009 at 8:33 AM #

    “after which he deferred blame by calling Akron’s admissions of partial qualifiers an unfair advantage”

    In retrospect, this seemed to be the moment where things finally turned against Amato. Beyond the perception of him by hard core fans, most people seemed to see him as just a quirky coach with too much ‘flair’. This comment seemed to be the start of a change from a perception of ‘quirky’ to ‘not-quite-raving-lunatic’. Whether it was there all along, or the pressure and negativity finally was too much pressure, I’m not sure.

    One thing I will say in support of Amato, on the last home game the year he was fired, he stood in the middle of the field and greeted each senior as they came out of the tunnel. He was boo’ed walking out (and had to know it would happen) but didn’t shy away from doing something special for the players. You could say this was Amato in a nutshell, effective or not, he didn’t seem to care what anyone thought of what he did.

  2. Noah 07/29/2009 at 8:53 AM #

    Very few teams are SO good that they can just dominate the other side every day. You HAVE to catch a break once in awhile. That Gator Bowl team needed a break here and there to do more.

    Against Ga. Tech, it was the delay of game call against Tech. We had ’em backed up on third and forever. If we got a stop, we’d get the ball back at midfield and could take control of the game. On third down, the Tech QB went back and got sacked. But the officials nullified the play, claiming they had called a delay of game before the snap (how many times has the OPPOSITE happened and the delay NOT come?). On third and forever+5, our DB missed a tackle after about a 15 yard pass and let the receiver run for the first down. Tech went down and scored and took over the game.

    Against Maryland, Rivers NEVER caught a break. Four years in a row, four years of heartbreak.

    Then against UVa, we didn’t have any running backs. We ended up stalling out on what would have been the winning drive somewhere around the 30.

    Three games in a row, the critical moment went the other way. And it really did feel like the difference was only a coin flip.

  3. Classof89 07/29/2009 at 9:00 AM #

    His primary downfall, IMO, was the failure to plan for an adequate QB succession after Rivers by giving Jay Davis significant minutes during Rivers’ Jr. and Sr. seasons…Joe Ovies and Giglio were referring to this in a conversation this morning about TOB’s plan to get significant minutes for Glennon this year, starting with the USC game. (We’ll see if TOB is actually willing to to this with the game hanging in the balance in the 4th quarter–I’m betting some of Glennon’s series come in the 2nd quarter of games…)

  4. VaWolf82 07/29/2009 at 9:11 AM #

    His primary downfall, IMO, was the failure to plan for an adequate QB succession after Rivers by giving Jay Davis significant minutes during Rivers’ Jr. and Sr. seasons

    I vehemently disagree. Jay Davis got plenty of playing time after Rivers left. If he didn’t improve with playing time as a RS-JR/SR, then why would anyone think that earlier playing time would have had some miraculous effect?

  5. tobaccordshow 07/29/2009 at 9:11 AM #

    Amato is much of a mixed bag for me. I was a Freshman in 2001 and remember rushing the red-lit belltower after beating Clemson in 2002 and thinking we had a legitimate shot a national championship. I remember LOVING Amato, he even convinced me to recycle all of those beer cans at Carter Finely.

    It was painfully obvious that he was lost without Rivers. I disagree with Classof89 in that I think Amato DID plan and had a rather solid backup in Davis (on paper) and an even more solid backup to Davis in Stone (recalling that Stone and Matt Ryan were PA recruits, both recruited by BC and NC State… NC State took the higher ranked Stone while BC “settled” on Ryan… Matt Ryan would have surely saved Amato’s job). Amato got a couple of bad breaks with highly ranked recruits absolutely crashing (stars are meaningless). When you have Philip Rivers on the field, why give minutes to the backup unless you’re in a blowout situation? I surely wouldn’t have.

    Everything turned for me during that Akron game: hot, angry, and uncomfortably furious, I almost got in a fight with a fan who thought me yelling the words “pathetic” out was somehow crossing a line. Looking back, how pathetic was that loss and subsequent excuse for that loss? Nothing short of pathetic.

    However, I have mostly fond memories of Amato. He’s one of us, he LOVED and still LOVES NC State. He bled red. He’s why we have pro caliber football facilities. He rose NC State and put us on the national map however orchestrating our kick off that map. But we were there. For the first time, for me, I believed that maybe we could be a football school too (not that we were exactly a basketball school at the time, but we had a basketball history that defaulted us to a basketball school… and that whole location thing).

    I wish things could have been different for Amato because I did like him and I think it was perfectly mutual. However, you will not see me complain one bit about our current coach, who I wouldn’t trade for 100 Amatos.

  6. CaptainCraptacular 07/29/2009 at 9:14 AM #

    I had the same exact feeling when that sack/scratch/delay of game happened as I did when Corchiani scored in the lane against Georgetown. Elation about the sack punctuated by jumping and yelling in happiness followed by confusion over what had just occured followed by despair. I knew when they made the first down after 3rd and forever after the delay of game that we were doomed.

  7. tobaccordshow 07/29/2009 at 9:19 AM #

    Haha, I think I have more bad memories about NC State than good. The mere mention of that Corchiani incident sends me to a state somewhere between depression and rage.

    This is the life of an NC State fan.

  8. BJD95 07/29/2009 at 9:22 AM #

    I still feel like the biggest problem was believing his own hype, which led to less staff cohesion and ultimately some bad turnover issues. Recruiting positionless “athletes” and DL also did more for recruiting rankings than building a football team – and then his last few classes did neither, once it was clear that the emperor was stark naked.

    It was unreal how that one play against GT caused us to completely fall apart. Although I found the UVA game to be even more heartbreaking. With about 30 seconds to go, TA found himself wide ass open in the flat. He could have walked in for the winning score. And for maybe the only time in his career, Rivers completely short armed an easy throw, and we lost something like 14-9.

    But that Notre Dame Gator Bowl was abject domination. Like MOC’s Peach Bowl win against Mississippi State (I can still remember Carl Reeves slithering underneath the Bulldogs’ massive OL), we smacked a supposedly tougher, more tested opponent right in the mouth. Like MOC, Amato was never anywhere close to that summit again.

    I do remember Rivers’ final home game against Maryland, as I sat in the stands with the growing suspicion that Amato wasn’t going to work out. THIS was the kind of season we’d have with our all-time best player as a senior? THIS would be how the last home game would end? I can also remember when MD shanked the extra point down 24-23 with like 2:30 to go. I turned to my wife and said “Great, now we’re going to lose for sure.” Because the outcome wouldn’t be in Rivers’ hands. I had no doubt we’d muck it up if that wasn’t the case. And muck we did!

    Chuck lost me for good in the “TD off the board” game in Chapel Hill the following year. Everybody remembers the final sequence (and did that ever piss me off), but the key moment came in the second quarter. The Holes had just thrown an incomplete pass on 3rd and 3 at our 17, and were flagged for too few men on the line of scrimmage or something like that. Connor Barth had already kicked a 48-yard FG, and was pretty much automatic inside 45. I didn’t even consider the possibility that ANYONE would so much as THINK about accepting the penalty. But Chuck did (I can only assume out of sheer bravado, there was no logical justification). On 3rd and 8, the Hole QB hit a wide open receiver for a TD. That night, I started using the phrase “Chuck the Clown” and never had any reason to change my mind.

    LRM Note: Funny. I coined the term “circus monkeys” during the 2004 season.

  9. choppack1 07/29/2009 at 9:51 AM #

    Amato definitely had his moments – and there were mutliple times when we were on the “cusp”.

    Noah – on the UVA game – I think we got all the way inside the 15 on the final drive. BPete actually got his hands on a pass that would have won the game, but he couldn’t hold on.

    We were probably never closer than that 9-0 star. You rightly note that against GaTech, we had a 9 point lead late in the 4th quarter – and had actually just created a big 3 and out and appear to have forced a punt where we’d get great field position (if we didn’t block it) – but an illegal procedure penalty was called against THE JACKETS…and they made good on their second chance.

    Then, the next year – in spite of the stumbles at Wake, at Columbus and in Atlanta, we still managed to control our own destiny for the conference title (w/ 2 games left) as we went into Tallahassee for a 3:30 game vs. the Noles. We had a double digit lead late in the first half, but TA fumbled and FSU scored to gain valuable momentum at the half. In the second half they took the lead, but we fought back to tie the game late in the 4th quarter. Our D stopped the Noles – and we got the ball w/ 2:00 minutes left – setting a perfect stage for a storybook ending for Rivers.

    Rivers made a strike to Brian Clark that would have put us right around the 50 yard line, but as Clark fought for extra yardage – he lost the ball.

    The next year, the “what if” moment was the called back touchdown by TA.

    Even in Amato’s final year, we had a “what if” moment…After that horrid start, w/ losses to 2 OOC mid major opponents, we had beaten BC and FSU behind the magic of Daniel Evans-and somehow managed to look like a contender w/ a surprising Wake team coming to town. It was a great game w/ great atmosphere – and when State had the ball in the late 4th quarter a FG would have won the game. EVans advanced the team into Deacon territory w/ plenty of time left. One play Evans was forced out of the pocket and took a viscious lick to the head. He stumbled back to the huddle and threw an INT ( I don’t know if it was 3rd or 4th down when he threw it.)

    The Deacs would go on to win the ACC -and NC State never won again.

  10. Clarksa 07/29/2009 at 9:54 AM #

    It would have served Coach Amato best if he had struggled for a few years and then put together something like the Gator Bowl season…despite the outcome, he was the coach we needed at the time and now hopefully Coach O’Brien will build us into at least a top 25 programs.

    LRM Note: I agree. Hold onto that thought, you’ll get to elaborate more on it next week.

  11. StateFans 07/29/2009 at 9:56 AM #

    (1) Primary downfall – coaching staff deterioriation

    (2) Secondary downfall – horrible gameday/tactical decisions

    (3) Tertiary downfall – an obsession with the ‘athlete’ as opposed to the ‘football player’ that manifested itself in horrible offensive line recruiting.

    LRM Note: (4) He lost the fan base. Beyond the ones you mentioned, I had a real problem with his inability/refusal to relate to his fan base. I grew weary of hearing about how bad us fans were — we weren’t loud enough and were never in our seats at the start of the second half and we expected too much. Instead, I would have preferred a simple “thank you” for building those facilities for him. During 2006, it had become a running joke among my buddies as to what point of the third quarter I’d leave and not come back. As I left right after halftime of that ECU game in 2006, one guy shouted to me “See you next year!” I responded, “Not if Chuck’s still around.” I finally understood how all those season ticket holders felt walking out of Ericsson back in 1999.

  12. choppack1 07/29/2009 at 10:17 AM #

    SFN – I think #3 also manifested itself in continuing to play TA as he developed one of the worst cases of fumblilitis I’ve ever seen.

    We got into the TO discussion yesterday on another thread…As we all know – seemingly everyone but a few individuals had trouble holding onto the ball in the Amato era. I’ve always thought that these TOs and penalties were part of the Amato “culture”. I definitely think that there was a toughness that was part of this culture too – and it allowed us to stay in most ballgames in his 7 years of coaching.

  13. StateFans 07/29/2009 at 10:23 AM #

    I found this from Joe Giglio particularly relevant to this conversation:

    Back in ’07, O’Brien ran his first team through end-game scenarios — 2-minute drill, 4-minute drill, you-name-the-minute drill — in practice. The players admitted they had never been through such drills, which are essentially the basics of game preparation. It showed in the opener, a loss to Central Florida, when a receiver set tried to substitute during an end-game scramble and cost the offense a penalty.

    Those type of mental errors should be history in their third season together. The players know what to expect from O’Brien and vice versa. They know his drills, and more importantly, they’ve been schooled in how to play the game.

    Steve Spurrier likes to call it “coaching ’em up,” whatever you call it, in Year 3, State’s players will be more comfortable with O’Brien and his staff.

  14. ppack3 07/29/2009 at 10:33 AM #

    Tobacco…While I agree with almost all of your thoughts on the topic, I have to disagree with the assertion that Amato had a handle on the QB situation.

    “NC State took the higher ranked Stone while BC “settled” on Ryan… Matt Ryan would have surely saved Amato’s job). Amato got a couple of bad breaks with highly ranked recruits absolutely crashing (stars are meaningless).”

    While Stone was more highly ranked, we now know (Thank God) that TOB knew what he was getting with Matt Ryan because Ryan and Stone had to step in front of Dana Bible and TOB and prove what they could do before a scholly was offered. While Stone had to have shown some ability during that summer camp at BC, I hardly think that TOB was disappointed to ‘lose out’ on Stone. We also now know that Chuck recruited by those same star rankings and video footage. And, as you say, stars are meaningless. The saving grace here, is that BMFD recruits much the same way, while we now have TOB in Raleigh!

    I do feel the same about Chuck, though. I wished better for us and him. He still bleeds NCSU red and white, and for that he can never be faulted. He did, with a lot of help from his friends, build the stadium that I am SO proud to see at every home game. And we can’t forget that TOB wouldn’t have come to Raleigh (at least in part) if the ‘trailer in the sky’ still loomed over the west stands! The Amato era was up and down. But, if we end up where we want to be, then the ride was worth it.

    I hate to hear it, but it seems that Amato is going to be shoved out the door at FSU. This is CLEARLY Chuck’s doing, as he is exclusively recruiting kids that have never set foot on FSU’s campus, and have all committed to other D-1 programs. He has, by his lonesome, destroyed the “South Florida Recruiting Pipeline” that NCSU and FSU have mined so richly, and turn the ‘Noles fan base against him. Evidently, his relationship with the High School coaches in the area has disintegrated (Does all of this sound familiar?). One last thought…A BIG ‘Noles friend of mine, when talking about the Bobby/Jimbo situation, had this to say, “Well, after seeing how Chuck did at NC State…Bobby should have been required to submit to mental testing for bringing him back.” That’s the perception of Chuck, from about every angle.

    LRM Note: Interesting. Ego only really seems to matter when you’re losing, and Chuck has been doing that for the last five years.

  15. Daily Update 07/29/2009 at 10:37 AM #

    One thing I will always credit Amato with is that he made NC State football a big deal. IMO, our lack of success in basketball combined with the Amato/LTR/Rivers era forever changed NC State. We may not be that good in football, but IMO football definitely comes first for most NC State fans now. The atmosphere at CF during the Rivers years was simply amazing. It gives me goose bumps thinking about it.

    Over the last several years, it has been very frustrating going to CF knowing the outcome before the game even started. Penalties, TOs, and an offense that can’t score points resulting in a loss. The tailgating was still great, but it lacked the excitement that comes from the anticipation of getting ready to watch a team perform at a high level inside CF stadium.

    Last season, the anticipation returned with the emergence of Russell Wilson. I finally had confidence going into games that we could actually beat quality opponents.

    September 3rd, 2009 might be the best atmosphere in CF history. With expectations of a good season, a prolific offense (please, defense just make a few stops), and a coach who is full of substance, I can’t freaking wait for the game. However, going back to Amato I never felt this way about a football game until he arrived. He had many, many negatives, but he did bring a big time football atmosphere to NC State. And for that I will always be thankful.

    LRM Note: I agree. The last opener I remember being this excited about was VPI in 2005. It was Labor Day Sunday on ESPN. We’d beaten them in Blacksburg the year before and by all indications 2004 had been an anomaly. Stone had been named the starter and played a great game, but we lost 20-16.

  16. VaWolf82 07/29/2009 at 10:55 AM #

    We also now know that Chuck recruited by those same star rankings and video footage

    Yeah, that’s why Chuck went after players like John McCargo, Manny Lawson, and Willie Young.

    The saving grace here, is that BMFD recruits much the same way,

    Could we leave this type of nonsense on Pack Pride?

  17. tmb81 07/29/2009 at 11:14 AM #

    It was not mentioned when it became apparent that Chuck had lost the fans. It was a Thursday night game in 2005. We were getting crushed by Clemson, and during a time out one of Chuck’s many commercials appeared an the Jumbotron. The fans booed. Perhaps doubts about Chuck began to creep in before this moment, but this was the point in time that became the prevailing opinion of the overall fan base.

    LRM Note: Excellent point. Whether you participated in the boo’ing or not, it was obvious Chuck’s days were limited.

  18. ldr of the pk 75 07/29/2009 at 11:14 AM #

    Great memories of Chuck, I was around for his “white shoes” defense as a player. He did bring a renewed enthusiasm back with him as head coach. He also brought in many great recruits “on paper”.

    IMO he also brought with him the element that was his and the teams downfall as the years went by. I call it gangster ball. The lack of discipline and the countless miscues in crunch time situations. The saying is you make your own breaks. We broke bad. By the way how’s that “gangster ball” philosophy working out back at FSU?

    I supported Chuck and wish him well, he just wasn’t up to the task. TOB might not have the hype, but he’ll damn sure do a better job in the long run, regardless of injuries.

    On the mention above of the LTR’s, and the “future value”, the opposite of that is the “present value”. So if the present value at purchase, back when, was X, what should that future value be worth today? How’s that rate of return working for you?

  19. BJD95 07/29/2009 at 11:20 AM #

    And the funny thing is…despite all of the documented reasons for his downfall, he probably never would have gotten fired if he wasn’t such a giant asshole to people one should definitely not be an asshole to (i.e., the ones that write six and seven figure checks).

    The worst thing about Chuck is that he doesn’t learn from experience. He didn’t get better with gameday tactics, even after several years of HC experience (if anything, he got worse). He didn’t change the way he dealt with staff after the first wave of departures. And now he’s on borrowed time as a freaking Seminole assistant because he didn’t gain an ounce of perspective or humility after his firing.

    He’s the study mouse who keeps grabbing the electrified cheese until his brain turns to Jello.

  20. Clarksa 07/29/2009 at 11:46 AM #

    That Thursday night Clemson game I had an absolute meltdown in the parking lot…but that was a new beginning for me when I adopted the Zero Expectations of Wolfpack Sports…I don’t expect to win games so when we lose, I no longer get that upset…and when we win, I’m that much happier. At times I find myself sliding back to the days before the Clemson game…but I have to reaffirm my faith in Zero Expectations of Wolfpack Sports.

    LRM Note: I’ve long believed the State credo should be: Never expect too much and you won’t be disappointed when you don’t get it.

  21. tobaccordshow 07/29/2009 at 11:50 AM #

    Chuck had his vices, sure. I remember the booing when the Jumbotron came on. It was actually an embarrassing moment for me at NC State. It was kind of one of those moments where my sibling reflex kicked in. My brother is a jerk. I know he’s a jerk. I call him a jerk. But you better not.

    So many times did I yell at the TV during away games calling Chuck every expletive in the book. But when the fans turned on Amato, it was different for me. I sympathized with him although sympathy wasn’t earned on his part. He created his castle. He had to live in it.

    Looking back, it was the right move to go in a different direction and fire Chuck. However, for all his vices, I appreciate what he brought to NC State as a player and as a coach.

  22. choppack1 07/29/2009 at 11:57 AM #

    “One thing I will always credit Amato with is that he made NC State football a big deal. IMO, our lack of success in basketball combined with the Amato/LTR/Rivers era forever changed NC State. We may not be that good in football, but IMO football definitely comes first for most NC State fans now. The atmosphere at CF during the Rivers years was simply amazing. It gives me goose bumps thinking about it. ”

    I don’t exactly see it that way. I think the progression started w/ Dick Sheridan. I was in school from 88-92. And NC State football game was really the only place you felt the freedom of the college experience (read binge drinking w/out looking over your shoulder). All students could go to the game – and they did block seating. Students were allowed to park/tailgate in Section G and other areas IN the arena.

    It was during this time that thousands of students like myself experienced a pretty cool atmosphere all the while following a successful football team that usually allowed you to leave the grounds of Carter-Finley happy.

    IMHO, it was Sheridan who really sowed the seeds that really started to bloom under Amato. In the MOC era, he did just enough (especially w/ the FSU and Syracuse wins) to keep the plant from totally dying.

    But when Amato took the job – the groundwork was laid, the tailgating “culture” had taken place – he added just the right amount to the mix to really explode the atmosphere.

    Like you, I think the atmosphere Thursday, September 3rd may be the most festive and boisterous since that fateful game vs. GaTech.

  23. choppack1 07/29/2009 at 12:00 PM #

    “LRM Note: I agree. The last opener I remember being this excited about was VPI in 2005. It was Labor Day Sunday on ESPN. We’d beaten them in Blacksburg the year before and by all indications 2004 had been an anomaly. Stone had been named the starter and played a great game, but we lost 20-16.”

    I agree that the atmoshpere for the VaTech game was fantastic. However, I think Jay Davis started the game.

    That was Trestman’s first game as OC – wasn’t it? – and we marched right down the field and scored on our first possession.

  24. ppack3 07/29/2009 at 12:02 PM #

    Va. – Wasn’t looking to offend. Chuck just had a recruiting philosophy that was based on the ‘star’ system. I’m not saying that he never recruited great players, because the fact is that he did. And, Butch Davis is bringing in some good recruits too. My point is that the number of stars beside a HS players name does not always equate to college gridiron success. I am much happier that our current staff is able to garner respect from the HS coaching community and recruit players based on a true system of assessment, on and off of the field. It gives us a better chance that our players will, not only see the field at some point, but be productive members of the Wolfpack Football team. BTW, I’ve never been to Pack Pride MB’s, what’s it like over there?

  25. ruffles31 07/29/2009 at 12:12 PM #

    I always had said that Amato’s biggest problem was that he didn’t develop/recruit OL well. That was definitely seen in TOB’s first two years with the two deep.

    I do remember that in Rivers’ senior year, as disappointing as it had been, that the last two games were at FSU and home against Maryland. If we had won both of those games, we would have been ACC co-champs. Now, I think the tie-breaker would have not been kind to us and we would not have been going to Miami, but we would have been tied for first place. Alas, we lost a great game to FSU 50-44 in OT and then had the Maryland debacle.

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