Murray State – What to Watch For

Tomorrow night begins a 2-game stretch of games that one must watch differently from the remainder of the schedule (games that all but the shittiest of the shitty < < cough >> UVA – win fairly easily). Fortuntely, we’ve already seen State play a legitimate opponent, so we know some areas of improvement to judge. Unfortunately, there are some items (such as Wilson’s running ability – was he tentative? slow? a poor match for a fast, physical Gamecock defense that executed a perfect gameplan exceptionally well? some/all of the above?) that can’t really be judged until the Pitt game. So, what should you look for?

1) Wolfpack RBs should net at least five yards per carry. Against a 1-AA defense, anything below 5.0 YPC would raise huge red flags for the Wolfpack running game. There might not be that many big runs, especially if Baker takes the majority of first-team carries (he’s just not that kind of runner), but we need to see consistent, positive movement. This most definitely did not happen against Bill and Mary last year, and that game was a disaster waiting to happen before Harrison Beck rode to the rescue in his last moment of Wolfpack glory. But you can stack 8 or 9 in the box against Daniel Evans – not Russell Wilson. Against a 7-man front, the backs and OL really need to be able to do damage tomorrow. It would be nice to see James Washington break a big one, too.

2) Russell Wilson should get at least 8 yards per passing attempt. Murray State is the kind of opponent where the staff will, in all likelihood, legitimately ask Wilson to focus more on his passing. There’s no reason to take extra hits in a game you have a 99.9% chance of winning. And while dropped passes were unquestionably a huge part of the problem against South Carolina, Wilson’s accuracy was also significantly off. Owen Spencer nearly drove us insane with his drops last season, but Wilson still broke 7.0 YPA for the year (which is the minimum number that an efficient passing attack must meet). I would like to see Wilson finish closer to the elite level (7.5 YPA) this season, and he has some catching up to do after Week One. 8.0 YPA is the bare minimum against Murray State.

3) Cohesive offensive line play. Obviously, this will have alot to do with Goals 1 and 2. An offensive line is only as strong as its weakest member, and there will be much shuffling with Vermiglio out:

Julian Williams, who started the opener at left guard, will move to left tackle. Andy Barbee will start at left guard, and Henry Lawson will be the backup center in place of Wayne Crawford, who’s out with a foot injury.

I expect (based on zero inside knowledge) that Vermiglio will be back and close to 100% for Pitt. In the interim, we need to see the line work together with minimal penalties and blown assignments.

4) Minimal missed tackles, especially by the first team defense. Lost in the good overall performance were a disturbing number of missed tackles by the Wolfpack front seven. We were very fortunate that the Gamecocks didn’t take better advantage of the sloppy tackling, but other offensive units won’t be as kind. Murray State is another team unlikely to make State pay, but I really wouldn’t worry about the overall stat line against the Racers. If the missed tackles ever become noticeable before the third string enters the game, you can continue to worry about this – even if we pitch a shutout.

See everyone tomorrow for another nice weather night, with lower blood pressure all around.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

'09 Football

28 Responses to Murray State – What to Watch For

  1. Sw0rdf1sh 09/11/2009 at 9:12 PM #

    Thanks BJD for a much more calming outlook this week. I agree and hope we can rejoice together tomorrow night with a W in the books.

    I need a good helping of domination, and will be at the WOC to look the boys square in the eye. Get your backsides there if you can.

    All your points should be met, our running game should fare much better. I would be quite excited if we get both Glennon and Barnes in the game at the same time. I’ve been a big supporter of JWIII for some time and know he will be big for us, it’s time to see what Brandon has in the tank too!

  2. Sw0rdf1sh 09/11/2009 at 9:16 PM #

    Oh, and watch for me in my Tillman jersey for Military Appreciation Night! There is a list of items you can bring to help support the Back Home Box Foundation….I will see if I can get it to SFN to post up if they wish!

    Go Pack….beat the Racers!

  3. BorntoHowl 09/11/2009 at 9:17 PM #

    I think you can tell a lot in these games. We must absolutely dominate both lines of scrimmage. I remember an EKU team a few years go where we got some big early scores. Then they settled down and we couldn’t get 1 yard on a 3rd and a 4th down. We were dominated late in the game by players that no division I teams wanted. That was the most abysmal win I’ve ever seen for the Pack.

    Here’s to RW and TB setting some single game records along with a complete team effort that plays as business like as TOB looks during a game.

  4. choppack1 09/11/2009 at 10:17 PM #

    I’m taking this one off. Hopefully, will catch it on the radio.

  5. 97 pack alum 09/11/2009 at 11:13 PM #

    A thought to consider…
    Are we happier winning comfortably against Murray State but putting in the 2nd and 3rd string for some needed experience or will we all want to see a blowout to make us all take a big sigh of relief that our offense can get the job done? I’ve always disliked teams that run up the score but what’s the pulse amongst the masses on whether it would be refreshing for the fanbase to see a strong showing from RW and our 1st string offense?

  6. doomsday2008 09/11/2009 at 11:32 PM #

    This game is on ACC Select I believe. It will be nice to
    see MG get some snaps over the next couple of weeks. Whatever
    we are going to do if anything different on offense we need to
    show it in a game situation not just in practice. That is if we
    change somethings from the South Carolina game.
    I hope we will against these next two opponents if anything
    will change to begin with and not wait until Pitt or Wake with the
    worry of those teams seeing the tape.
    Chances are TOB is not going to use trick or misdirection plays in a game but maybe once or twice at the most.I am really only talking about dump off screens to the backs and roll out designed plays where RW is to throw it only 10yds instead of the 30yrd downfield pass. Those consist of no trickery but only makes defenses stay at home and play straight up. Sure as hell helps the o-line if they have been having a bad day.
    I understand the lack of execution and concentration on catching the ball plus blocking, tackling did us in but, if TOB will be opening it up even more just in case we run into a game like last week or in the future when those things are not working which will happen again, then I think when you give yourself those added things to fall back on when the time warrants you might even pull a game out you would or should of lost.
    Just my thoughts as wrong as they may be.

  7. doomsday2008 09/11/2009 at 11:39 PM #

    97 pack alum, I agree about hating seeing teams blow
    out teams but, I think this fan base does not need to see
    a 28-17 game either.

  8. aPACKadeez 09/12/2009 at 12:30 AM #

    Just another thought…I’m a HUGE Michael Jordan fan. He’s the best that ever lived…and will always be the best. Funny thing though, I felt it quite odd that he chose a Wolfpack guy over anyone in that huge Carolina tree of basketball players and coaches to represent him into the Hall. The greatest player ever on the planet had a Wolfpack guy as his inspiration. Kind of cool huh? Plus, I think it says alot about David Thompson. If he only hadn’t had issues…sigh. Thank you Michael, for everything, you are the best, and there will never be any better. No Kobe, no Lebron will ever be what you were, no matter how much they try to act like you or wear your number.

  9. doomsday2008 09/12/2009 at 1:25 AM #

    Michael Jordan grew up anti carolina! How about that…

  10. phillypacker 09/12/2009 at 9:05 AM #


    If you were old enough to see Thompson and Jordan play you would never regard jordan in the same light. Jordan himself would acknowledge that Thompson was the ACC’s best ever. By the way, you really sound like a troll.

  11. Dogbreath 09/12/2009 at 9:57 AM #

    Murray State is not going to roll over and die. Anyone who thinks this will be a cake walk will be disappointed. They have at least a few respectable athletes and their roster is littered with guys from outstanding Florida high school programs (Plant, Hillsborough, etc).

    I would expect a score along the lines of 38-13, with the game not comfortably in hand until the 4th quarter.

    The real disgraceful game is next week against Gardner-Webb. If we don’t win that game by 7 touchdowns, then we have problems.

    And enough with the Michael Jordan lovefest. The guy is a compulsive gambler Tar Heel icon who bangs other men’s wives.

  12. gcpack 09/12/2009 at 11:01 AM #

    Not to change the subject but my family is trying to make plans for returning earlier than normal on Thnxgvng weekend to see the TarHole game. In other words do we check out of the cabin on Fri or Sat.

    I know that TV will dictate this but does anyone have an educated guess as to what time that game will likely be played?

  13. Dogbreath 09/12/2009 at 11:17 AM #


    you can take it to the bank that this will be a noon JP game, all part of an effort on the ACC to ensure an absolutely moribund Carter Finley stadium.

  14. gcpack 09/12/2009 at 11:31 AM #

    Well I suppose the only other possibility of a later afternoon game is the ABC pickup at 3:30. That would only happen if both teams come into the game with 3 losses or less. Right?

  15. Dogbreath 09/12/2009 at 11:36 AM #
  16. highstick 09/12/2009 at 12:01 PM #

    Dogbreath, I didn’t see all of it, but thought some of the digs were very much in jest. I think he was serious about Buzz Peterson though even though they are best of friends now. “Buzz Peterson, player of the year? How can he be player of the year? He hasn’t played me yet!” MJ definitely was and still is a competitor!

  17. inhoc... 09/12/2009 at 12:53 PM #

    does anyone have the link to watch college football games online for free? i remember but i think there was another one….the feed i want on justin TV isnt up…

  18. highstick 09/12/2009 at 2:10 PM #

    Has Butchy laid another “rotten egg” today? LOL!!! Way to go, Tar Babies!!

  19. tjfoose1 09/12/2009 at 2:24 PM #

    OLine play should be fine against Murray State. I’d expect TOB to go heavy with the run early, concentrating on the right side until we get our mojo going.

    TOB will get the reserves plenty of work and Washington will be the leading rusher – barring a surprise from Barnes.

    Baker will get his carries and log in a brusing 70-80ish yard night, maybe a low 100ish yards if he’s able to break a long one. JW will slash and gash his way to +100yds, upwards to +150yds.

  20. MrPlywood 09/12/2009 at 2:25 PM #

    So this is what UNX does to me. I want them to lose at every opportunity, but to lose to CONN would just drag the ACC football rep (what remains of it) down even further. Ahhh, the conundrum. What the hell, go ahead and lose Carolina.

  21. highstick 09/12/2009 at 3:24 PM #

    Crap, Yukon, you couldn’t hold on! Glad I didn’t watch that and wish I’d kept my mouth shut. I thought it was over the way the “crackheads” were talking earlier! Back to aerating lawn!

  22. jdmann1288 09/12/2009 at 3:37 PM #

    Prediction 38-13

  23. Dogbreath 09/12/2009 at 5:08 PM #

    I will be watching the 1st half via tethered blackberry connection, in the lot of Ford Amphitheatre, then heading in to watch Springsteen.


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