September 1. 2011
NC STATE FOOTBALL
COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: 2 DAYS!!!
Brett Friedlander (Starnewsonline.com)
State bolsters receiving corps with move of CB Rashard Smith
With C.J. Wilson and David Amerson having established themselves at the corners and the Wolfpack facing major questions at receiver, Oâ€™Brien decided that Smithâ€™s best chance of making a contribution to the team this season was by switching sides of the ball.
â€œWe generally play two corners, but as the game goes along we play six wide receivers,â€ Oâ€™Brien said. â€œGoing through preseason camp knowing that he was a two-time Georgia (high school) Player of the Year with the ball in his hands, it was natural for us to ask him to come over and take a look on offense.â€
As a quarterback, Smith passed for more than 1,300 yards and rushed for 997 during his senior season at Dublin High. He also returned two punts and one kickoff for touchdowns.
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Rashard Smith is ready for return
Several things have changed since the injury, when Smith was a true freshman starting at cornerback. For starters, the native of Dublin, Ga. is playing offense now, lining up at wide receiver.
“It was the coaches’ decision,” he said. “I just go wherever the team needs me to play at and I do whatever the coaches tell me to do.
“I’m too happy to be back on the field. I’ve missed 18 straight games. That number has been in the back of my head since the game. It’s just been heartbreaking to watch my team perform well and not be able to help them out in practice. Now, I finally get a chance to come back out here and help them out, it feels great.
“It was tough, waking up at 6:00 a.m. and coming in every day, five days out of the week, but I knew that I needed to get back on the field and do what’s right to help my team out, that’s all I was worried about.”
JP Giglio (N&O)
Pack tries CB Rashard Smith on offense
ACC media relations
Q&A: Tom Oâ€™Brienâ€™s Wednesday teleconference
Coach, what is Rashard Smith’s role on your team?
“He’s playing wide receiver.”
How do you see him fitting in there?
“Well, when you break it down, we’re really happy with what we’ve seen out of [David] Amerson and [C.J.] Wilson on defense. If he’s not going to be in the game at corner, we don’t play generally just two corners as the game goes along. We played six wide receivers. Going through pre-season camp, knowing he was a two-time Player of the Year in the state of Georgia with the ball in his hands, it was a natural for us to ask him to come over and take a look on offense. I think he’s still learning. But he’s shown the ability that he does a lot of things natural at that position. We play six wide receivers. Gets him an opportunity and us an opportunity to get another athlete on the field. It seemed like a logical move to make to get him in the lineup and get one of our players on the field.”
Ryan Tice (TheWolfpacker.com)
Mikel Overgaardâ€™s long journey to end in Raleigh
Overgaard said the transition from left tackle at Snow College to the opposite side in Raleigh wasn’t a big deal for him because he was still learning the finer details of becoming an offensive lineman last fall. That education continued through the spring and summer, but he said he is as comfortable at tackle as he ever was at tight end now.
He also gives credit to what many may think is an unlikely source for his fast development: highly-touted sophomore tackle Rob Crisp, who is backing up Overgaard after playing on the left side last year.
“It’s been a friendly competition between us,” he said. “We try and watch film together, try to help each other out with what we’re doing. He used to play left tackle and they just switched him to the right side, so we’re both learning it. I think it’s been good for both of us to have that competition to push each other but also, at the same time, we help each other really learn the position and what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Michael Peek works his way onto depth chart
During the preseason, NC State head coach Tom O’Brien said that the hope was to redshirt the entire 2011 recruiting class outside of the three specialists that will handle the kicking game.
Two rookies however changed those plans with their reliable play during preseason camp, and they happen to be the last two prospects to join State’s recruiting class: cornerback Tyrrell Burriss and linebacker Michael Peek.
Peek, who starred at Grayson (Ga.) High, received an offer from NC State sometime in January, literally weeks before national signing day. Before then, Peek admitted he was pretty set on going to Navy.
“I wasn’t 100 percent, but I liked [Navy] a lot, but when I came up here I liked it a lot, too. It just felt right,” Peek said.
Sammy Batten (FayettevilleObserver)
Two region products key members of N.C. State’s defense
Earl Wolff and Terrell Manning have a lot in common. But one bond they have shared since joining the N.C. State Wolfpack was cut recently.
Since arriving in Raleigh as freshmen in the fall of 2008, both players have sported dreadlocks. But Wolff opted to shear off his 9-year-old growth prior to the start of the Wolfpack’s 2011 preseason practice.
“I decided to go for a more professional look,” Wolff said recently as he peeked at Manning, who was standing nearby. “Terrell was disappointed when I cut it. I think this would be a good look for him, too.”
Manning, a junior linebacker with locks that flow to his shoulders, wasn’t hearing Wolff’s fashion advice.
“No, I’m not cutting my hair at all,” he said. “I don’t think the fans would like that. But we can take a fan poll and see what they say. If they say I need to cut them, I’ll cut them for the fans.”
Brett Friedlander (Starnewsonline.com)
ACC FOOTBALL PREVIEW: N.C. State
Projection: After two frustrating seasons in which injuries forced him to field a makeshift lineup filled with too many freshmen and walkons, all Oâ€™Brien asked for going into last year was a normal season in which things finally went according to plan.
He got his wish, and the result was a nine-win season that fell just one game short of the Atlantic Division championship and a trip to the first ACC Championship game in school history.
Though last yearâ€™s success helped ease some of the pressure off Oâ€™Brien, it could have still have been even better if not for late losses to Virginia Tech, Clemson and East Carolina. Even with those defeats, at least State finally seems to be headed in the right direction. The question is can it keep the momentum going and take the next step toward the top of the league standings without trusted leaders Wilson and Nate Irving there to show the way?
A lot will depend on the development of Glennon, the emergence of an untested wide receiving corps, injuries such as the one that has sidelined defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy for six weeks and the consistency of a completely revamped kicking game.
If everything breaks right, the sky is the limit for the Wolfpack. If they donâ€™t, it will likely feel as though the sky is falling for a fan base desperate for a winner.
â€œOne thing aboutN.C.State, you donâ€™t have to create expectations,â€ a realistic Oâ€™Brien said. â€œYou have to figure a way to get it done.â€
Caulton Tudor (N&O)
N.C. State’s O’Brien gets a Lucky Charm welcome to Raleigh Sports Club
If good fortune doesn’t come Tom Oâ€™Brienâ€™s way this football season, he canâ€™t blame the Raleigh Sports Club.
To initiate the organizationâ€™s 2011-12 schedule of guest speakers today at Highland United Methodist Church, the N.C. State football coach immediately was presented with a jumbo box of Lucky Charms cereal and a toy leprechaun.
Steve Megargee (YahooSports)
Week 1 preview in the ACC
Never before have ACC teams been so relieved to get the focus back to on-field issues, such as the league’s consistent inability to win BCS games or produce a national title contender.
The ACC arguably has underachieved as much as any conference in college football over the past decade, but it apparently wasn’t from a lack of trying. Consider that half the teams in the ACC Coastal Division have faced NCAA allegations in the past year.
THE WILSON WATCH
J.P. GIGLIO (N&O)
Wilson to debut for Badgers
Russell Wilson will look similar to N.C. State fans, in a familiar No. 16 jersey and Wisconsin’s version of red-and-white, as the No. 11 Badgers open the college football season tonight against UNLV in ESPN’s showcase game.
The offense Wilson runs for the Badgers, though, figures to be quite different from the one he ran at N.C. State, where he threw for more than 8,500 yards and 76 touchdowns in three years as the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback.
LUKE DECOCK (N&O)
N.C. State’s awkward encounter
N.C. State brought linebacker Audie Cole to meet with the media at its season-opening press luncheon Monday, the kind of event where Russell Wilson would often serve as the team’s unofficial spokesman.
Wilson, of course, is gone, off to Wisconsin for his final year of eligibility after N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien released him from his scholarship this spring. Cole and the Wolfpack have made it a point to minimize Wilson’s departure as an issue during training camp, and that extends to Wilson’s debut with the Badgers tonight against UNLV in Wisconsin.
Asked if he would be watching, Cole shrugged.
“If it’s on I’ll probably watch it,” Cole said. “I’ve got nothing else to do.”
Jeff Gravley (WRALSportsfan.com)
He’s the same ole’ Russell Wilson and that’s a good thing.
Russell Wilson doesn’t have a Twitter account, although there is a fake one @RussellWilsonUW. The profile gives away how legitimate it is. Ramblings of the Former Second Baseman for the Asheville Tourists and Savior of the 2011 Wisconsin Badgers.
Yeah, that sounds like what Russell Wilson would say.
He’s a man who takes it “one play and one day at a time.” Wilson uses that quote a lot with rolling eyes and chuckles from some in the media. But I’ll take an athlete who is not a self-promoter and doesn’t give a hoot about how many followers he or she has on Twitter.
TIM REYNOLDS (AP Sports Writer)
Golden: ‘Clearly, this was the first obstacle’
The task of rebuilding the Hurricanes was daunting enough before the NCAA scandal â€” remember, Miami still has not won a conference title since leaving the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference, and last hoisted a national championship trophy a decade ago. With the scandal, it’s a far bigger challenge now, but one that Golden welcomes.
“I really believe in my heart and I know the staff does too, that if we didn’t have a foundation and a culture that was built on core values and built on principles obviously to teach life skills and to create self-reliant and independent young people, I think we would be struggling right now,” Golden said, sitting at his desk with game plans strewn about. “We would be sitting here and there would be a lot of things collapsing.”
Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel (YahooSports)
NCAA: 12 current Miami players accepted benefits
The NCAA announced findings Tuesday that 12 current Miami football players accepted extra benefits from booster Nevin Shapiro and suspended eight athletes for between one and six games.
Four other players must simply repay the amount of the benefits they received and will be eligible for the Hurricanesâ€™ season opener Monday at Maryland.
The NCAA claimed the players â€œreceived varying levels of recruiting inducements and extra benefits from Shapiro and athletics personnelâ€ including â€œmeals, transportation, access to Shapiroâ€™s game suite, drinks, as well as cover charges at two different nightclubs, among others.â€
Spencer Hall (EDSBS.com)
FULMER CUPDATE: THE 2011 FINAL BOARD