Defense Looking for Answers


A defense, which was thought to be the strength of the team, is allowing more than 400 yards per game. That includes last week’s 34-27 loss at Wake Forest in which the Wolfpack (1-1) allowed 438 total yards and gave up two scoring passes of at least 30 yards.

The prevailing preseason opinion was that the defense — which returns eight starters from last year — would carry the team while new quarterback Mike Glennon got comfortable in replacing Wilson, whose offseason transfer to Wisconsin generated plenty of buzz and overshadowed virtually everything else surrounding the team.

But in reality, the offense has been serviceable while the defense has struggled. N.C. State ranks 93rd nationally and 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference in total defense, allowing an average of 422 yards.

“I’d say it was an all-around terrible effort,” safety Brandan Bishop said Monday. “Embarrassing, to say the least.”

Coach Tom O’Brien says part of the problem has been injuries to his top three pass rushers — defensive linemen J.R. Sweezy, Thomas Teal and Jeff Rieskamp.

The defense was of the bend-but-don’t-break variety in the opener against Liberty of the FCS, allowing 406 yards but matching a school record by forcing seven turnovers in that 43-21 win.

Then, against Wake Forest, the defense broke.

N.C. State allowed Tanner Price to complete 22 of 35 passes for 297 yards with a 31-yard touchdown pass. Receiver Michael Campanaro threw another scoring pass on a trick play and the Demon Deacons built a 27-6 lead midway through the third quarter.

Tough to argue with Heather Dinich on this one (ESPN):

NC State finished last season ranked among the Top 25 and excited about the possibility of building upon a nine-win season.

Now, after two questionable performances, it looks like NC State is a borderline bowl team.

And, no, it’s not too early to say that.

Keep in mind that NC State has two FCS opponents on its schedule, including this Saturday’s matchup against South Alabama. Only one of those counts toward bowl eligibility, which means NC State needs to find seven wins to reach the postseason this year. The Wolfpack have one, albeit an unimpressive one, against Liberty. You’d think they’d rebound this weekend against South Alabama, but the following weekend at Cincinnati isn’t a given. A 4-0 nonconference record, though, should be expected.

As for the other three wins?

Based on the first two weeks, there doesn’t seem to be a gimme on the schedule.

Keep in mind, Arizona State was left at home last year at 6-6, because they could only count one of their two wins versus I-AA opponents towards bowl eligibility. As ridiculous as it is for a 6-6 team to even be bowl eligible, it wasn’t too long ago when you could only count a I-AA victory towards bowl eligibility once every four years.

About StateFans

'StateFansNation' is the shared profile used by any/all of the dozen or so authors that contribute to the blog. You may not always agree with us, but you will have little doubt about where we stand on most issues. Please follow us on Twitter and FaceBook

'11 Football

21 Responses to Defense Looking for Answers

  1. howlie 09/12/2011 at 9:18 PM #

    The answers are on injured reserve…

  2. old13 09/12/2011 at 9:20 PM #

    . . . which doesn’t say much about the quality of depth.

  3. ErB 09/12/2011 at 9:21 PM #

    I hate to be a person that blames poor performance on injuries, but after seeing how Nate Irving impacted our defense, it’s hard to imagine that these three guys will not have a similar impact, considering it’s three top players, not one.

  4. tjfoose1 09/12/2011 at 9:26 PM #

    I think TOB himself hinted at the problem w/ his “leadership” comment. Yes, some at the player level, but more so at the DC level.

    I saw someone had suggested an Amato/Rivers to TOB/Wilson analogy. I think that missed, on several levels. I think the more appropriate latter day component is Archer/Irving.

  5. tjfoose1 09/12/2011 at 9:28 PM #

    Injuries can explain a few things, but not the debacle witnessed Saturday afternoon.

    There was much that went wrong that had nothing to do with injuries or player health.

  6. eas 09/12/2011 at 10:00 PM #

    I agree the injuries are an impact but dang TOB please don’t blame the current defensive situation on this. We are cursed no doubt but EVERY team has these same issues with injuries. Just step up and address the issues and make the changes. If it means demotion/ promotion then so be it. Good coaches prepare for this and make adjustments.

  7. GoldenChain 09/12/2011 at 10:37 PM #

    I agree with tjf. Too much to ignore. Players trying to hit-down ball carriers instead of wrapping them up.

  8. gotohe11carolina 09/12/2011 at 11:48 PM #

    amen eas, injuries are a part of football which is why coaches recruit for depth, its been 5 years and we have been dealing with injuries all 5 of them.

    didn’t we change our strength and conditioning coach this offseason to try and deal with the injury bug, i thought i remembered reading that somewhere.

    i guess the real question is why do our key guys get injured every year?

    oh and for the love of god why do we tempt fate???

  9. bigwolfpacker 09/13/2011 at 12:54 AM #

    Obviously losing Sweezy, Reiskamp, and Teal hurt. There is no pressure from the front four. We have to get through the next couple games and get these guys back. We definitely need some talent at DE.

  10. papackman 09/13/2011 at 5:45 AM #

    this fish stinks from the head down…TOB finger pointing at players and using injuries as an excuse….this season will be a repeat of 1 thru 3…hopefully the last for TOB and company

  11. TLeo 09/13/2011 at 6:11 AM #

    If they don’t make some serious changes and keep giving up 400+ yds per game, a 6-6 record is being way too optimistic. There are no “sure” wins on the schedule remaining.

  12. SuperStuff 09/13/2011 at 7:40 AM #

    I wish Spaziani would have stayed on TOBs staff as our defensive coordinator.

  13. triadwolf 09/13/2011 at 8:35 AM #

    The lack of pass rush only partially explains our woes. WF ran a lot of 3 step drop, quick hitting passes with a lot of shallow crossing routes, rub offs, etc. The best of pass rushes is not going to get to the QB that quickly. Our secondary was horrid in pass coverage and receivers were wide open all day long; yeah, there were times where the QB had all day the throw and you can’t expect the DB’s to cover for that long, but that was not the main issue.

    One of the things I liked about most of Amato’s defenses was that he tried to challenge every pass and every receiver. Yeah, we got burned sometimes, but least he didn’t give them anything for free. Our current scheme in pass coverage can be described at best as soft. Something needs to change with the scheme or we’ll get abused all season. If we continue to play this soft zone, our players need to get much quicker at reading the QB and closing on the receiver; I won’t even discuss our tackling (lack there of…).

  14. codebrown 09/13/2011 at 9:30 AM #

    At the very least, Archer should be booted and Tenuta promoted. If we can’t bring pressure with the front 4, we should bring the kitchen sink every chance we get. We’re already giving up 400+ yards a game. May as well gamble on every play.

  15. Prowling Woofie 09/13/2011 at 10:14 AM #

    If we have to give a 10-yard cushion against every receiver we face, then the coaching staff has recruited the wrong players.

    Man up, DB’s – play some damned football !!!

  16. Ed89 09/13/2011 at 10:17 AM #

    ^ Exactly what Prowling Woofie said. Get beat trying to make a play, don’t get beat by seating back waiting for the guy to catch it.

  17. gcpack 09/13/2011 at 11:42 AM #

    papackman Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 5:45 am
    “this fish stinks from the head down…TOB finger pointing at players and using injuries as an excuse….this season will be a repeat of 1 thru 3…hopefully the last for TOB and company”

    I didn’t hear O’Brien say anything about injuries. He did say that “some” players were NOT carrying their weight in practice, that it showed in the games and that would change. What I don’t get papackman is if its true then what’s wrong with saying that?

    And by the way whether TOB said anything about injuries or not does State have injuries on the defensive front or not? The answer is YES.
    So if you can’t handle the truth then put your head in the sand.

    Sounds like a sheep in wolf’s clothing to me.

  18. TruthBKnown Returns 09/13/2011 at 1:26 PM #

    The answers are on injured reserve…

    No, the BANDAID is on injured reserve. When we get our D-line starters back, it will only MASK our problems in the secondary. Our defense isn’t working. When we have a great D-line (like we did last season), it masks the fact that the secondary is just awful. With Archer as DC, we cannot expect better. His defenses at Kentucky gave up an average of something like 32 points per game. It’s been about the same here.

    No more bandaids. Fire Archer today. Let Tenuta take over as DC, and hire a replacement for Tenuta in the off season. That’s the answer.

  19. TruthBKnown Returns 09/13/2011 at 1:27 PM #

    The defense played pretty well ONE year since TOB arrived, and that was last year. That was also due to the D-line being so strong that it MASKED the problems in our secondary. Maryland exposed them in the final regular season game.

    With a weak D-line (which is what we have right now, since three D-line starters are out with injury), our weak secondary is exposed. Teams with even an average QB will find ways to pick us apart.

    A quick fix is to get the D-line strong again, but that’s a band-aid. As long as we have Archer, the defensive schemes just aren’t going to work.

    I also believe TOB is a seasoned head coach. He will ride this out and replace Archer ONLY when the pressure gets to be too much for him. He will then replace Archer and buy himself a few more years.

    The sooner we provide that pressure, the sooner he’ll replace Archer. Let’s not allow TOB to hold that trump card any longer than we have to.

  20. PackFamily 09/13/2011 at 2:21 PM #

    Tenuta is one of the best DC’s in the country, and was considered for every open high profile job in the country. And if that isn’t enough, check out his defenses while at GT.

    Why we would leave a horse like that in the barn is beyond me. If we are truly a performance organization, then personal loyalty, etc. shouldn’t matter. To paraphrase TOB, Mike Archer doesn’t own the whistle, NC State does.

  21. quacko 09/13/2011 at 8:58 PM #

    “We beat Wake by 35 last year. Before some genius reminds me that we had Russell Wilson last year, it just doesn’t matter. Wake blows and State will win regardless of which QB takes the field for Wake.

    This is Wake FREAKIN’ Forest we’re talking about here. They had a few good years, but they are back to mediocrity. We have better talent and more of it (depth). It won’t even be close today. It’s a double digit win for State. Count on it.

    It’s really sad to see so many people down on State when we’re playing Wake. I sure hope our players aren’t reading these posts.”


    “Without Price, we win by 35.

    With Price, we win by 10-14 (maybe more).”

    TBK, where was this analysis when you were calling for a 35 point win over Wake?

    How could a learned football mind such as yours not anticipate something that a lot of others did?

Leave a Reply