Tigers Mangle Pack, 43-23

In a game nowhere near as close as the final score, the Clemson Tigers eviscerated NC State yesterday in Carter-Finley, 43-23.  We blogged and had a lot of community input during the game that can be seen by clicking here.

Given that Clemson are the Tigers, and tigers of course have claws, perhaps synonyms for “claw” (the verb) yield the best description of what Clemson was able to do to the NC State defense: “lacerate, mangle, maul, open, rip, scrabble, scrap, scrape, scratch, tear, break, dig, graze, hurt.”  On offense, State played a fairly decent game, despite the tough Clemson defense they were facing.  Special teams, on the other hand, well, if they were “special”, it was the sort of “special” that is brought to local school on short yellow buses.

There’s simply no other way to describe this game.  If State was ever “in” the game, it was due to the offense and little else.  Problem is, as soon as the Wolfpack would score and trim the Tiger lead, the NC State defense was hardly able to slow the Clemson running game or passing game.  Even worse, a questionable strategy of refusing to kick to all-star C. J. Spiller left Clemson with superb field position all day, making their task of keeping the game out of hand all the easier.

Tom O’Brien said as much in his post-game interview, as described by the News and Observer:

While waiting for the game, some of N.C. State’s players saw highlights of Clemson running back C.J. Spiller on ESPN at the team hotel.

They hardly needed to be reminded of Spiller’s ability. He is the ACC career all-purpose yardage leader and has crept into contention in a wide-open Heisman Trophy race.

So how did he get so wide open for a 34-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of N.C. State’s 43-23 loss to the 24th-ranked Tigers on Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium?

Coach Tom O’Brien had difficulty explaining. He didn’t understand why the Wolfpack defenders made the coverage check that they did. He said two freshmen in the secondary weren’t where they were supposed to be.

“That’s just bad defense,” he said.

In this case, O’Brien was correct: the defensive secondary had multiple lapses in coverage leaving dangerous all-conference caliber receivers wide open and able to waltz into the end zone.  You might be able to call it “Dancing With The Stars,” except State defenders were ten yards away, watching as haplessly as the fans in the stands.

Clemson averaged a season high 8.3 yards per play against the Wolfpack on Saturday. It was the highest average for a Clemson team since 2006 when Clemson averaged 9.64 yards a play against Temple. TEMPLE!? TEMPLE!?

Many fans made the observation that, like most of the games this season, Clemson was able to easily convert multiple key third and long situations when Mike Archer chose to rush only three or four defenders and allow Kyle Parker to pick apart our soft zone in the secondary. In fact, one thread on an NC State message board was titled, ‘3rd and Zone’ highlighting how the Wolfpack rarely chose to blitz and pressure Parker on 3rd down and how easily the Tigers were able to convert and ultimately drive for scores. At the end of the day the Wolfpack had created zero sacks in a game that Coach O’Brien previously stated would see us blitz a lot.

The loss ends any slim hopes the Wolfpack team and its fans may have harbored of making a bowl game.

'09 Football

37 Responses to Tigers Mangle Pack, 43-23

  1. 4in12 11/15/2009 at 10:28 AM #

    Look at the bright side – Charlie Brown is flat on his back and the last two games can be watched without that nagging hopefulness.

  2. wolfpacker 11/15/2009 at 10:58 AM #

    The decision to ‘give Mike Archer a chance’ as NC State’s defensive coordinator is making TOB look like he made a disastrous decision. And it should really make you question his abilities as the head coach…


    Read his resume, the guy hasn’t done ANYTHING in YEARS. Yes, he ran the Defense at Kentucky STRAIGHT INTO THE GROUND AS WELL! Their HEAD COACH WAS SMART ENOUGH to realize that this guy just wasn’t getting the job done and he took over the defense. NC State landed him 4 months later…

    And you ask, why are we so bad? What a silly question…

    Let me point out the NOT SO OBVIOUS, THERE IS A PATTERN HERE! Not only with TOB making a horrible decision on who he wanted him to help him BUILD a program, but WHY ARCHER WAS HIRED. The OBVIOUS pattern is that Mike Archer is NO defensive coordinator that you would want running your defense at ANY school, let alone one that you want to succeed.

    This is why all of NC State’s athletics are so bad, we don’t select people with RECORDS or HISTORY OF SUCCESS, we give them a ‘CHANCE’.

    Kinda like betting…we don’t see what someone has done and believe that they can repeat it here. We GAMBLE on LOSERS and we come out looking like idiots EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    The ENTIRE N.C. State Athletics department is in shambles and it’s time to start from the TOP and start OVER. The quicker it’s done, the faster we get to where we want to be. There is not an athletic department in this country that is so poorly managed.

  3. GAWolf 11/15/2009 at 11:03 AM #

    A piece about Archer leaving Kentucky… as we all know… those last two games were AFTER Archer was removed of his play calling authority.

    Bad news for Kentucky fans??
    Mike Archer the defensive coordinator for the Kentucky Wildcats has bolted for the same job at N. C. State.
    In the 2005 season the Cats defense gave up 34.1 points a game and ranked in the 100’s in total defense and there are only 118 Div. 1 football programs.
    This year they improved to 28.4 but still ranked in the bottom 20 for most of the season. The Cats did make some improvement in 2006 though grabbing 32 takeaways on defense and
    a turnover margin of +15 which will put UK as one of the top teams in the nation in
    that category when final NCAA statistics are released.
    The last 2 games were the the best holding Tennessee down in a 17-12 loss and holding down Clemson in the Music City bowl taking a 28-6 lead before giving up some cheap points at the end of the game.
    I can’t say for sure but I have a feeling that this decision was a mutual agreement.
    Read some of the posts in the football forum at CatsPause.com and you will see what I mean.

  4. GAWolf 11/15/2009 at 11:06 AM #

    I BEG all of you to read this thread. The comparisons are far from just uncanny. This is his M.O.: blame the youth of players for “retarded monkey” play calling and schemes. Read this. Please.


  5. Alpha Wolf 11/15/2009 at 11:06 AM #

    We can gripe and grouse about Archer all we like, but the injuries and youth in the secondary will serve to get him at least another year.

    We wanted a coach whose staff was stable and now we are seeing the other side of that sword.

  6. GAWolf 11/15/2009 at 11:19 AM #

    I don’t see that at all, Alpha. You want a stable staff when the staff is producing results. You want to keep the likes of Norm Chow. 1) You don’t hire a guy who was TERRIBLE at his last job, and then 2) blindly support him when he unsurprisingly does the same here. I don’t fault TOB for giving his buddy a chance. I don’t fault Archer for coming and taking advantage of that chance. However, the experiment has failed… injuries or not… it’s a complete failure. There’s simply no reason whatsoever to look at the results on the field and think there’s any hope for this staff to produce a decent defense that plays fundamentally sound and smart even if they have NFL quality talent at 11 positions.

    What this year can you point to as a positive going into next year… other than playing time for young guys? There’s an old adage about perfect practice makes perfect… as opposed to just practice makes perfect. These guys CANNOT improve given the current situation. Even the most terrible of athletes can at least KNOW what they’re supposed to do. I’m a 5’9″ middle-aged man. I might not be able to get rebounds against younger, more athletic and taller guys on the neighborhood basketball court… but I do know how to box out and at least try. These kids aren’t even trying and that’s indicative of a complete disconnect between players and staff. They’re lost in addition to being young and maybe not quite athletically gifted “enough.” And there’s the reason a move must be made. MUST be made. TOB cannot justify keeping things as they are given this year.

    The fans saw the EXACT same thing in his Kentucky performances. Read that thread (before it gets taken over by gambling websites). Several reasonably sounding guys claim it was obvious he didn’t trust his players. Go figure. This is a trend, not just baseless opinion of an idiot fan base.

    Injuries are the problem? Really? If they don’t like the injuries… why on earth did they come here? Did they not research what they were walking into? Amato… and every coach we’ve ever had in any sport ever… has dealt with this. That’s like going to the school of the blind to coach wrestling and saying you can’t win because your team can’t see. Don’t make excuses and don’t blame your kids. That’s cowardly.

  7. imawolf 11/15/2009 at 11:31 AM #

    Where do I begin… It has been so long since the Pack was ranked in the top 25….. Yesterday, I could not believe my eyes…as we refused to kick the ball down the field….or even punt the ball down field…Giving the tigers the ball at the 40 or worse is absloutely disasterous….. Coach owes us an answer,…something other than it was wet all week and we could not practice this type of kick….well crap, then don’t kick it that way. I go back to the Pittsburg Victory…a happy Pack being kicked in the teeth at the end of the game by the coach proclaiming they are a bad football team. I too served in the United States Marine Corps and obtained the same rank as Mr. O’brien, and one thing I know, is you don’t beat down your men in a moment of glory, especially in front of the world. The coach is constantly changing out our personnel to find the right fit…well, I would hazard to guess, this has caused tentativness within the ranks….(afraid to be agressive and make a mistake) This would have you relieved of duties and back on the bench….. Darned if I know….but honestly…. yesterday I sat there and believed we had an opportunity to be in that game and even pull out the victory…. but once I saw the kicking strategy, I knew we had no chance. I’m angry!….not at the players…but at the coaching…. Since the seventies, I have been in the stands pulling for this team…. I have seen electricty arcing all around as the Pack was pounding a ranked team……People it has been a long long long time since those days… I have also been to the Caravan and listened to the athletic director mis-speak about the number of championships one of our sports have obtained and have heard the coaches correct him….. How is it that the AD cannot even be aware of the number of titles a sport at NC State has won???? Its beyond me…. I am contemplating turning in my LIFETIME SEATS… I buy 5 tickets every year…my girl says I’m going to have a Stroke if I don’t calm down…..but understand….Its not the players…. they are kids learning and playing the game…. Hey, obviously we have a well coached offense….so what’s the deal with the defense….WE all know its coaching… All I could say, when we kicked of was…..”WHAT THE HECK” Must have been a slip….but NOOOOOooooo…. we did it almost all day until late in the game (which netted positive results )but by then it was to late….GAME WAS OVER. I’m giving the Major a pass for this year, however by Spring,,,,,he best have a new Defensive Coordinator within the ranks…….An Officer in the Corps can be relieved of duty and generally is passed over for promotion with just one bad fitness report. There is an officer within the coaching ranks that needs a STERN FITNESS REPORT…..

  8. Alpha Wolf 11/15/2009 at 12:15 PM #

    GAWolf, I am not telling you that I agree with it, or that I like it, because I don’t. I’m just telling you how it is.

    We’ve gone from a man who can’t keep a coach to one who is loyal perhaps to a fault.

    And imawolf, that’s an excellent analogy.

  9. ncsufan13 11/15/2009 at 12:27 PM #

    Maybe TOB should call up Air Force’s defensive coordinator. He whipped that defense into shape in only a couple years and is a military guy too.

  10. wolfpacker 11/15/2009 at 12:27 PM #


    why the h*ll would NC State want Mike Archer?

    I mean aren’t they trying to BUILD a SOLID PROGRAM?

    They have NEVER been as BAD on DEFENSE as Kentucky was under ARCHER…

    And the SAME GOES FOR ALL SPORTS AT NC STATE…we select losers and give them a chance…and we wonder why we don’t win…

    I am beginning to think that we lose because we don’t do the RIGHT or SMART thing, we try to GIVE PEOPLE A CHANCE and we take a chance on them and WE ALWAYS LOSE…no pun intended…


    “Who is the NC State AD who looked at all the coaches in the country and thought to himself, “Mike Archer, thats who I want.” Great news for the Cats, I really was worried that the Clemson game was going to save his job but this is nothing but good for the program.”

    The next SLOGAN for the Wolfpack should be:

    We give any clown a CHANCE at NC State…

  11. wolfpack95 11/15/2009 at 12:28 PM #

    I happily did not go to our game nor did I watch it.
    It was a day free from stress and heartache.

    The best that our team can accomplish is a 6-6 record, but we will likely fall to 4-8.
    Im afraid that during the next two games we will see the same effort as that given during the UMd game at the end of Obrien’s first season.

    I told my wife two weeks ago that starting with the 2010 season if State suffers 3 more losing seasons within the next five years I am walking away. Life is too short to waste on shit like this.

  12. wolfpack95 11/15/2009 at 12:34 PM #

    I did not go to our game yesterday and I did not watch it either. I am happier for it.

    The best that our team can accomplish this season is 6-6, but will likely fall to 4-8.
    I am afraid that with nothing to play for this team will show the same lack of effort in the VT and UNC games that was demonstrated during the UMd game during OBrien’s first season.

    I told my wife two weeks ago that if State suffers three more losing seasons in the next five years I am walking away. Life is too short for this sh_t.

  13. sautz 11/15/2009 at 12:44 PM #

    The only reason Archer works here is that O’Brien is an old buddy from when they were assistants at UVa. It’s the old crony system. If we had a real AD he would whisper in TOB’s ear to get rid of Archer, but we don’t.

  14. wolfpacker 11/15/2009 at 1:18 PM #

    OH, so we hire someone because he’s a friend? That’s a SURE-FIRE way to run a program into the ground. That demonstrates that TOB is NOT doing his job. If he were a REAL COACH, he would own up to it … he’s NOT…

    Are you seriously telling me that TOB can’t figure it out himself? He has to have Fowlup tell him that he’s got a problem…if so, BOY ARE WE IN TROUBLE!

    Sounds familiar…we put players in because of who they are even though they are terrible? I guess we are in the business of making people happy in the short-term not realizing the consequences that lie ahead.


    We definitely believe in MIRACLES, because lately we have HIRED LOSERS, expecting to WIN?

    I am beginning to realize that we LOSE because of OUR ACTIONS…and we DESERVE IT. Until the total athletic department is OVERHAULED we will CONTINUE TO LOSE…if you believe otherwise you are FOOLISH

  15. packalum44 11/15/2009 at 1:26 PM #

    Agree with you Sautz. Most ADs would have his ass canned. If Mike Archer is the DC next year, the suicide rate in NC will rise.

  16. Wulfpack 11/15/2009 at 2:21 PM #

    We shouldn’t be this bad. I really don’t know what the hell is going on.

  17. SeaWolf 11/15/2009 at 3:28 PM #

    Five things:

    1) I went to the game, and was hopeful pretty deep into the 2nd half.
    2) I still had fun even though we lost. This season has made me lighten up about how much I care about football.
    3) I’d like to see Glennon play the whole game next week.
    4) At least Mario was there.
    5) Archer must be fired.

  18. 61Packer 11/15/2009 at 3:41 PM #

    SeaWolf left out one:

    6)Basketball season is underway.

  19. T-FIC 11/15/2009 at 5:02 PM #

    7) The hallucinogenics are wearing off now, please forget the part about me having fun.

  20. NCSU84 11/15/2009 at 5:05 PM #


    Archer is gone next year – period. TOB has no choice. To keep Archer is much too risky as TOB will have to answer the question: “Why did you keep Archer as DC for another year?” Make a change and, even if next year is a bust, you can still say we tried. If TOB keeps Archer he is rolling the dice and gambling not only with Archer’s fate, but his own.

  21. HPWolf 11/15/2009 at 5:54 PM #

    There is only one thing that will stop the bleeding or even begin to salvage what is left of this season. I don’t care if TOB spends the next two weeks preparing for just one team.


  22. wolfpacker 11/15/2009 at 6:15 PM #

    That’s the PROBLEM with N C STATE athletics…most of you only care if they beat unc…unc’s athletic department is OVERWHELMINGLY BETTER MANAGED than NCSU’s…

    if you think otherwise…ask some to take your head out of your rear-end or the sand…wherever it may be stuck…

    At NC STATE we need a LOT more than a little LUCK to turn around the athletic department…

  23. Ed89 11/15/2009 at 8:17 PM #

    Good post, imawolf. If TOB hasn’t already got his short list of potential Def. Coordinators for next year, we are scruwed. One of the first on the list should be Kevin Steele, Clemson’s Def. Coord. I know there are alot of qualified and younger guys that would love the job. He needs to start grooming someone for his replacement. Truthfully hiring a guy who admittedly is planning to retire is generally not a good idea. If we do end up firing him, he retires 2-3 years early with the same pay. Doesn’t sound like a bad gig if you can get it. Now that I think of it, he probably won’t fire Archer. But I think LF can if he had the balls. TOB is 2-13 against division foes in 3 years. At least he was correct after the Pitt game. We are not a good football team. And we are alot worse now than we were then, but who’s fault is that?

  24. HPWolf 11/15/2009 at 9:24 PM #

    Hey Wolfpacker, everybody here wants more out of this team than we have gotten this year. I think many of us had high hopes for this team and this season. Maybe you havn’t noticed but the only thing we have left out of this miserable football season is to beat the arrogant aholes from the liberal hill so no one here has their head in the sand it is simply all we have left.

  25. ADVENTUROO 11/15/2009 at 9:27 PM #


    You are spot on. TOB has made two tactical errors this year…

    One, he didn’t realize early in the year that Archer is NOT the DC we need…why he has NOT seen this in the past two seasons is NOW totally beyond me.

    Two, He destroyed the movitation to win after the Pitt game. The guys played their heart out….look at Pitt’s record NOW….we either got really lucky OR the real Pitt team stayed home to play with the cheerleaders. I tend to think that we out played and out hustled them and had them confused to the point that they couldn’t respond.

    I am also somewhat tired of hearing that “you can’t think” in a football game. You need to be able to adjust and do what is necessary, not follow some pre-determined scheme that MAY or may NOT be the right “moves” on defense. It is almost like MA CAN’T THINK during a game!

    I do not want TOB to fall on his sword, unless he would have the honor to first take out LF, then put on his dress blues and get out the old .45 (as in A Few Good Men…)

    Something has GOT to give….a LOT of folks put a LOT of $$ into the WPC’s kitty, the donations this year were unbelievable and some well heeled donors also kicked in some extra $$ or pre-paid their pledges so they could improve their seats, get into the RV lot, etc. There are a LOT of NEW motorhomes….very nice upscale ones this year.

    Folks expected MORE and actually got LESS…

    That’s my thoughts….and I have been a TOB supporter from day one…but even I’m beginning to look at records…

    TOB’s 3 yr record will be WORSE that CTC’s Post Rivers’ 3 yr record….and that cost CTC his job, his ‘Vette, his nice house, etc. TOB better hope that he has a back door like CTC did (spelled Bowden)….he MAY just need it.

    I enjoy listening to TOB…I think that he is truthful and an honorable man and obviously a good coach (BC’s record), but he is off to a really shaky start….and doesn’t have Matt Ryan or the other superstars to keep it going.

    Anybody know if Rivers has a little brother or a cousin?

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