Potential Football Trends

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 let’s shake things up a little bit and look for things that might (or might not) turn into trends to follow this season.

I’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 you’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. We’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 – 12th in ACC; 114th in nation

Currently State is first in the ACC and tied for 6th nationally. Now it’s time to see what State can do against real competition (or at least as real as it gets in the ACC).

I couldn’t muster the energy to prepare a table once again illustrating the descent of State’s defense from one of the nation’s best, through mediocrity (several years ago), and down into outright embarrassment. So far, the defense has been an improvement over the recent past. Let’s revisit this point in two weeks and see what we think then.

By now, anyone that wasn’t aware of Tenuta’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 rush…which also let’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 don’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 OL’s. After that, we may be able to better tell exactly what State’s blitzers will be going up against.
OK, that’s all I got for now. Help fill in the blanks that I’ve left.

About VaWolf82

Engineer living in Central Va. and senior curmudgeon amongst SFN authors One wife, two kids, one dog, four vehicles on insurance, and four phones on cell plan...looking forward to empty nest status. Graduated 1982

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11 Responses to Potential Football Trends

  1. wolfonthehill 09/24/2010 at 7:16 AM #

    I think the only chance our DB’s have is if we blitz & force the QB to throw it early. Give him any time, and he’ll pick us apart. It was the problem last year, and so far, I’m VERY happy to see Tenuta turning the trend around.

  2. VaWolf82 09/24/2010 at 7:51 AM #

    I agree. No pressure on the QB was also a big problem with the 2003 defense (PR’s senior year)

  3. burnbarn 09/24/2010 at 8:29 AM #

    I just do not see our TO margin to continue..not saying it will be terrible, but just not where it is at this point for the entire season. If we can avoid the TOs then I think we will be competitive, but we put the ball on the ground 3-4 times last game…that is not encouraging.

    All that said I am pleased with the progress this team is showing this season. I do not expect to win on Saturday just b/c we have not ever done well in the ATL. At the same time, I like the toughness of this team.

  4. ryebread 09/24/2010 at 10:09 AM #

    I love Tenuta and was a huge fan of that hire. I think he’s one of the better coordinators in college football. I love the high pressure style and think it’s perfect for the college game — especially against younger QBs.

    Having said that, blitzing and stacking the box is a double edged sword. It cuts both ways and leaves us open to give up some huge plays. If we face a competent QB paired with a decent enough line to slow down the rush or a mobile QB that can break contain, then watch out. We’ll face whippings that resemble some of the ones GT took against UGA and Fresno State under Chan Gailey. We’ve already seen it once this year. Had UCF played their back up QB the entire game, they’d have beaten us.

    While I’m enjoying 3-0, there’s a lot of football left to be played. Last year’s 3-1 start should remind us of that if nothing else does. I think how we do on the road against GT this weekend will be very telling.

  5. packplantpath 09/24/2010 at 11:04 AM #

    “Had UCF played their back up QB the entire game, they’d have beaten us.”

    Obviously this kind of counter-factual is impossible to prove or disprove. You could be right, but I don’t think that single quarter is much to go on yet. It didn’t take long for Tenuta to put Irving on the backup guy to stop the run threat. Irving got burned on a few plays, but the scheme was good. I think we could have beaten UCF even with the backup guy in the whole game, but we would have seen a very different defensive scheme. Heck, the next week Buffalo held Godfrey to less than 50 yards rushing.

    Honestly, I’m less concerned about a mobile qb than I am a team that has a good o-line and a quick read and pass QB. That will burn us quickly because our secondary still doesn’t break up a pass very often. They are better than they used to be, at least now they seem to be able to tackle.

  6. tjfoose1 09/24/2010 at 12:09 PM #

    “Honestly, I’m less concerned about a mobile qb than I am a team that has a good o-line and a quick read and pass QB.”

    Bingo. That’s a recipe to exploit our defense.

  7. YogiNC 09/24/2010 at 12:30 PM #

    After reading about this and that with the UCF QB I’d like to say he wasn’t in there from the get go. He came in fresh, playing against a D that had been smoking the line and the other QB. Had he been in from the start Tenuta would have come up with something to stop him just like Buffalo did (and I’m pretty sure our D is better than theirs).

    The difference this year is the brain trust of Tenuta. I have no doubt he has already formulated what will work against GT considering how Kansas dismantled them. That game film and his plan will surely make a big difference if the guys can carry out the plan. Stop that option and they are an “also ran” football team as many have proven when given the time to prepare for them. UNX was just clearly outmatched because of numerous reasons. That being said I think it is fairly obvious who is really in charge of the defense.

  8. bradleyb123 09/24/2010 at 12:59 PM #

    If Tech does the horrible pitches that they did against UNX, I think we’ll win with no problem. We’ll have to break through the lines some to disrupt those option pitches, though. With our luck, GT will be crisp and precise and it will be a LONG day for the Pack.

  9. Classof89 09/24/2010 at 2:09 PM #

    I’m a little worried that last season’s TO bugaboo emerged in the Cincinnatti game on both sides of the ball (O put ball on ground; D didn’t force any turnovers). If that happens tomorrow, we are almost certainly coming back from Atlanta with an “L”. However, to some extent, we are playing with house money. Before the season, most of us put this game as the one we were LEAST likely to win (since the VT game is at C-F). I’m expecting a loss, and hoping I’ll be pleasantly surprised (and I agree that if we play a flawless game tomorrow, we will win). However, I think the loss by the Bees to Kansas was a flukey, once in a season thing, so anyone hoping that indicates an increased likelihood of beating Tech is likely to be disappointed.

  10. YogiNC 09/24/2010 at 2:30 PM #

    I watched the Kansas game and those guys knew where to be and when to be there to blow up the option. The DEs consistently blew the tackles back and disrupted the flow so that Nesbitt was having to go around them. That messed with the timing just enough to throw the whole thing off. Considering how well our DEs have played AND if the MLBs can shove the hole between the guard and tackle we could stop them. In any case 1st down is the key. Put them 2nd and long and 3rd and long and we’ll do OK. 2nd and short and we’re screwed.

  11. BJD95 09/24/2010 at 6:10 PM #

    Who do I worry about?


    They showed me a lot at Auburn, and should have won even with a clearly injured QB. As well as they stood up to a stout Auburn defense (even by SEC standards), I worry that they will destroy us.

    Nobody else worries me one bit. That doesn’t mean we will go 8-0 against “the rest” – just that I’m not worried about how we matchup.

    If we somehow beat Clemson, I think we win the Atlantic. If we don’t, probably need to go 6-1 against the rest of the ACC to win the division, and I don’t see that happening.

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