Sometimes, you just need a “Take Two” moment. You realize the first “take” maybe wasn’t what you wanted it to be and just need to go back to the beginning. Maybe the lighting wasn’t right… maybe the dialog wasn’t executed the best… or maybe your secondary just sucked to high Hell and needs a second chance to redeem themselves.
NC STATE’S 2011Â TAKE TWO
Now that we have that out of our system, NC State can look forward to South Alabama where it will have a “Take Two” moment to reset, evaluate problems from the first two games, reinforce strengths that we’ve seen thus far, and work on the overall execution of BOTH offensive and defensive schema. Tom O’Brien understands that this is the team’s “Take Two” game…
We have to come out with a whole different mindset and effort than we’ve been getting out of this football team. I have to get it out of them and I’m going to get it out of them. (WF-NCSU Locker Room Interview)
Take Two: On to South Alabama.
WHAT THE HELL IS A “SOUTH ALABAMA”
Â South Alabama is in the DIAA ‘Independent Conference’ (same conference as Georgia State for those familiar).Â As it is with many smaller conference schools, you’re on top of the world one week and in the gutter the next, so it’s difficult to tell what to expect.Â So far, the South Alabama Jaguars (dressed in solid red… what is it with scheduling other “red” D1AA schools?)Â have defeated both of their opening opponents (West Alabama 20-12Â and Lamar 30-8).Â Even though the Jags managed to defeat West Alabama, they struggled, throwing 3 picks and allowingÂ almost 270 yards against a team that isn’t even D1.Â They were able to put it together and absolutely crush Lamar, running up the score early in the first half and not allowing Lamar to score until the second half.Â What the Jaguars haven’t had to do thus far is go on the road and/or play a D1A opponent.
Jags Have Something To Prove.
Oh, when I said they hadn’t played a D1A opponent, I didn’t mean this season, I meant EVER.Â That’s right, South Alabama’s FCS football program has only played 19 games in their program’s history and won every single one of them and never once met a D1A opponent.Â Regardless, this is the kind of teamÂ that can embarrass a “bigger program”.Â This is a team coming off a 19 gameÂ winning streak against their peers, but still not gaining any attention on any sort of a national stage due to their schedule and lack of a complete season.Â Last season, the Jags only played 7 games.Â Unlike other FCS opponents who come into Carter-Finley feeling cocky at their own FCS success, expect the Jags to come to Raleigh having something to prove to their peer FCS programs and willing to fight hard for a victory.
They are going to be fielding a wide receiver who was the first senior in their program’s history to make the Senior Bowl and to be signed into the NFLÂ by the NY Jets (he did not get drafted).Â Signed by the NY Jets?Â Then what is he doing back on the team?!Â Long story-short, he was cut.Â Still, last season he earned 59 catches for 1282 yards at South Alabama.
Their quarterback is quickly improving on his earlyÂ performance.Â Opening week, he allowed 3 interceptions and only totaled 151 yards.Â Last week he totaled worse with 144 yards.Â However, when he does pass, he isÂ reasonablyÂ accurate, completing 9 for 14 last week and 12 for 21 the week before.Â The Jaguars don’t pass a lot, but that’s because they are so capable on the ground.
Last week, the Jaguars totaled 356 yards, 205 of that was on the ground.Â That total is broken into 36 attempts for 5.7 yards each.Â If the running game is their source of success, this may be a good opportunity to work on fundamentals and coverage for the NC State secondary.
South Alabama’s defense is suspect, even in their own division.Â Against the admittedly poor performance against West Alabama, they spent most of the game down at their own endzone.Â The improvements in week 2 were seen mostly in rushing defense where they were able to improve from allowing a DII team toÂ post 170 yards rushing to holding a comparable D1AA school to 115 yards rushing.
Still Not A Huge Threat
After how furious O’Brien was in the “wake” of our last loss (my word-play is second to none…), and after the less-than-impressive victory over Liberty, I don’t see any way this game is close.Â If it is, expect for O’Brien to be charged with crimes against humanity for the punishment he is likely to put his players through.Â All emotion aside, NC State’s team did play better in week 2 on the road than they did week one against a D1AA opponent at home (318yds offense became 424yds offense in week 2 against a better team).Â The only threat that South Alabama may pose is if their quarterback, CJ Bennet, is given a few more opportunities to go into the air.Â He has managed to do “decent” in their past several games and withÂ a fairly talented WR on the field; we can’t put it pass the secondary to wiff on some big plays.
All-in-all, this should be a fairly soft opponent that offers temporal challenges throughout the game, allowing for our players to gain more experience.
REASONS TO WATCH
1) Glennon keeps getting hotter and hotter.Â His performance last night was less than stellar before the second half, but at the end of the night, he matched his 58% completion rate from his first game and had made 10 more passing attempts than the week prior.Â Watch for how long it takes Glennon to warm up.Â In both games, his first halves are averaging out to a 54% completion rate while his second halves are at 61%.Â Can Glennon come out of the gate hot (or at the very least, start getting hot before the half)?
2) Attention Offensive Line… if you can’t beat the easy ones, you can’t beat the hard ones.Â During the Liberty game, Glennon was in serious trouble.Â It’s fair to say that they did much better against Wake, but still didn’t perform well (Glennon was sacked 4 times against Liberty vs 0 times against Wake).Â They need to maintain the protection over the pocket and help to open up the run.Â Against Wake, NC State was unable to improve on it’s 111 yards rushing and ended up with 109 yards.Â Watch to see how the offensive line stiffens against the blitz and opens up the run.Â That could be said of any football team, but against a soft opponent, these maneuvers should be flawless (if executed correctly).
3) Secondary needs to work on basics. There are different coaching mentalities with defensive backs and I’m not sure which one our staff is teaching.Â They need to continue to play the ball, not the receiver. (NOTE: One of our staple members/writers and former Wolfpacker, “theCOWDOG”, has brought up that this may semantically be incorrect.Â I am attempting to point out that the secondary has been playing with a very “soft” defense where they allow the receivers to make-or-break their own catches, and simply prevent “the big play”.Â This seems to make it easy for talented QBs to go downfield and rely on the skill of their receivers.Â What NC State needs to begin to do is poise themselves better to interrupt the pass before it gets to the receiver’s hands.)Â Against Liberty, the defense was able to pull down 4 interceptions because on those plays they were trying to play the ball rather than the receiver.Â There were moments against Wake where you could see that happening, but there was a lot of aimless chasing around of the receivers.Â I think we’d all like to see better fluidity between safeties and see more aggressive plays for the ball.Â Watch to see how these safeties are worked on throughout the week to see if their fundamentals are being reinforced and they are executing efficiently.
4) If nothing else, Wil Baumann and Niklas SadeÂ will have an outstanding game and will no doubt become the guys we rely on to clean-up whatever mess the offense may lay on the field.Â Sade, despite missing 2 extra points, is totaling 16 points on the year including 3/3 field goals, one from 45 yards out.Â Baumann is averaging almost 40 yards per punt with long-kicks both against Liberty and Wake Forest that are close to 50 yards.