I usually wait until about the half-way point of the season and start looking for interesting trends for State and in the ACC. But letâ€™s shake things up a little bit and look for things that might (or might not) turn into trends to follow this season.
Iâ€™m going to start with a few things on NC State, but many of the posters here diligently watch multiple games every week. So if youâ€™ve seen something worth following on State, other ACC teams (especially future NC State opponents), or any other team of national interest; please share them in the comments.
The fourth quarter against UCF brought back the nightmares from watching State defenders chase Woody Dantzler all over Carter-Finley in 2001. Weâ€™ll know fairly soon whether or not the troubling quarter from week 2 turns into a trend or not:
– GT and Nesbitt (leading GT rusher) this weekend
– VT and Taylor (leading VT rusher) next weekend
– WF and freshman Tanner Price (2nd leading WF rusher) on 11/13
Turnover margin is one of those stats that are absolutely key in getting a marginal team to a bowl game:
2008 – 3rd in ACC; 22nd in nation
2009 â€“ 12th in ACC; 114th in nation
Currently State is first in the ACC and tied for 6th nationally. Now itâ€™s time to see what State can do against real competition (or at least as real as it gets in the ACC).
I couldnâ€™t muster the energy to prepare a table once again illustrating the descent of Stateâ€™s defense from one of the nationâ€™s best, through mediocrity (several years ago), and down into outright embarrassment. So far, the defense has been an improvement over the recent past. Letâ€™s revisit this point in two weeks and see what we think then.
EXPECTED DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES
By now, anyone that wasnâ€™t aware of Tenutaâ€™s reputation for frequent blitzing has gotten a first-hand demonstration. One other tendency from his GT defenses was crowding the line of scrimmage (8 in the box) to shut down the rushâ€¦which also letâ€™s the blitz come from anywhere on the field.
One of the weaknesses of this defensive philosophy is that teams with a strong OL can slow down or stop the blitz and leave the secondary exposed. This scenario could turn ugly for State because I donâ€™t think that its secondary can stand the pressure.
Complete and thorough evaluation of offensive lines is far beyond my ability. However, two stats that give some gross measure of offensive lines are rushing offense and sacks allowed. Using current stats (which is obviously fraught with problems), State plays the top five current rushing attacks in the ACC this year: GT, WF, Clemson, VT, and FSU. ACC leaders in fewest sacks allowed are GT, Clemson, and BC.
We already know that GT is not normally a passing threat and it is impossible to know which Tyrod Taylor (who often works to keep both teams in the game) is going to show up. So the next two weeks are somewhat of a crap shoot in judging OLâ€™s. After that, we may be able to better tell exactly what Stateâ€™s blitzers will be going up against.
OK, thatâ€™s all I got for now. Help fill in the blanks that Iâ€™ve left.