November 8, 2011
NC STATE FOOTBALL
Pack Resets, Refocuses
Two days after adding a fifth-straight win over rival North Carolina, NC State head coach Tom O’Brien spent much of Monday’s press conference underlining his team’s need to reset and prepare for a difficult road test at Boston College.
Though the Wolfpack’s recent win caused an understandably lighter atmosphere at the Murphy Center, O’Brien quickly pointed out the reactionary mood that a college football season can create.
Baumann, Manning Take ACC Honors
Wil Baumann and Terrell Manning were both awarded weekly ACC honors, as announced by the conference on Monday. Baumann was named ACC Player of the Week at specialist, while Manning was given the honor at linebacker.
Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
Of rivalry games and job security
As for O’Brien, there’s a trickier question to ask. Does his domination of the Tar Heels cancel out all of the criticisms so many fans were throwing out there just a week prior?
If your answer is yes, then there’s no conversation here. O’Brien is back in 2012 and will continue to keep his job as long as his program beats the Tar Heels.
If you paused to rationally ponder the question, congratulations. You are not prone to the emotional swings of a toddler. The assessment of a coach’s program is not a week-to-week endeavor. Outside of disaster or scandal, athletic directors will base their decisions on the totality of the coach’s tenure thus far and how they see their expectations being met in the future. And as the case with Withers at North Carolina, a new AD changes everything. Their own expectations will likely differ from the previous person in charge that was willing to offer a contract extension.
O’Brien makes all of this moot by finishing the year 7-5 and making back-to-back bowl appearances. If those minimum requirements are not met, asking honest questions about the future of NC State’s program will continue.
N.C. State Hoping To Continue Latest Turnaround
N.C. State has been anything but steady lately, with victories over Virginia and North Carolina sandwiching a 34-0 loss at Florida State. The challenge for the Wolfpack is to find a way to be level-headed in a vocal campus environment where fellow students and other fans are once again heaping praise on them.
â€œTheyâ€™re hearing, just like â€¦ after Virginia, how good they were, and after Florida State, how big dogs they were, and now theyâ€™re back to being good again,â€ Oâ€™Brien said. â€œYou have to be able to grow up. Now more senior and more experienced teams would do a better job at that. Younger kids are more susceptible to that because they havenâ€™t been around and donâ€™t have the experience to put those things away.â€
The path to a third bowl game under Oâ€™Brien became clearer following last weekâ€™s 13-0 win over the Tar Heels, the Wolfpackâ€™s fifth straight in the series between Triangle rivals. N.C. State must win two of its three remaining games to get to the seven it needs for bowl eligibility because it played two Championship Subdivision teams.
J.P. GIGLIO (N&O)
Wolfpack asks ACC to review altercation with UNC
N.C. State has asked the ACC to review an altercation from Saturday’s game against North Carolina, Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said Monday.
O’Brien did not provide any details about the play, or the players involved, but he said: “We have sent something to the conference office, and they can be a judge.”
Associate ACC commissioner Michael Kelly said the league does not have a comment.
According to UNC spokesman Kevin Best, “We’re not aware of any issue involving one of our players.”
It’s the third straight year some type of on-field altercation has occurred during or after the game between the two rivals.
Depth Chart: NC State vs. Boston College
PC: Manning, Smith Meet The Media
“It meant a lot. I think the overall objective was to get the win and finish the game, but the goose egg at the end, it was a statement for our defense. We know we can play defense against anybody.”
“Pro-style offenses. Both definitely want to run the ball. Just like I said before the Carolina game, it plays into our hands, that’s what we want to try and happen because I feel like we can stop the run.”
“It’s been a long road for Jay Smith. I feel like I’ve come from a long way.”
O’Brien: “The Last Game Is Over”
“[Thomas Teal is] another big body in there like McGill. The two of those guys, those are the kind of guys that we need to recruit to play defense the way we want to play. J.R. Sweezy has done a great job for us, but he was a linebacker to a defensive end, to a defensive tackle. Those guys are defensive tackles.”
“[Coach Sheridan] called me this morning. He wanted to be the first to wish me Good Luck on number six.”
“Earl [Wolff], I think he is the heart of the defense. He works so hard and tries so hard. I think everybody loves him on defense because of the energy he brings to the defense. I think he gets a little bit of ribbing by a lot of guys, but he’s certainly grown up a lot in the last two years.”
“They are similar to Virginia in they have big offensive [line] guys…. a lot of their runs are the alley runs, the same that Virginia has… they want to run the football. They are running I think 36 times and averaging I believe 27 passing attempts a game. So they are probably more tilted to the run than anyone we’ve played this year.”
Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
ACC REPORT CARD: Taking down the â€˜flagshipâ€™
N.C. State, A+: Iâ€™m going to go against my usual grading guidelines for this one, because anytime the Wolfpack can take down the â€œflagship schoolâ€ of the UNC system, the minor details of the performance donâ€™t really matter that much. Besides, you got the feeling as the game went on that offensive coordinator Dana Bible consciously scaled back his playbook so as not to make any mistakes that would let the shellshocked Tar Heels back into the game. Itâ€™s like a soccer team going into a defensive shell once they score that first goal. In this case, it wasnâ€™t a bad strategy. Because as well as the Wolfpackâ€™s defense played, UNC wasnâ€™t going to score without some kind of help. The stars of the shutout were numerous from LBs Terrell Manning, Audie Cole and Dwayne Maddox, who combined for 23 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble and one knockout blow on UNC QB Bryn Renner to CB David Amerson, who broke a 73-year-old school record with his ninth INT this season. State also won the special teams and field position battle, thanks to the effective kicking of P Wil Baumann. And yes, while QB Mike Glennonâ€™s passing numbers werenâ€™t very spectacular, the offense did have its moments â€“ the majority of which were provided by RB James Washington with 110 yards on 27 carries and WR Tobias Palmer with five catches for 94 yards.
North Carolina, D: Thereâ€™s something about the color red that just seems to bring out the worst in the Tar Heels. It doesnâ€™t matter where the game is played, the records of the two teams or the disparity in the number of future NFL players are on the rosters, UNC always finds a way to lay an egg against rival N.C. State. Saturdayâ€™s 13-0 loss may have been the worst in its current five-game losing streak. Even though the defense gave what would otherwise have been a winning effort after allowing an early TD, the Tar Heels came to Raleigh and were shut out â€“ with a season-low 165 total yards â€“ against a defense that surrendered 406 yards and 24 points to Central Michigan. QB Bryn Renner was awful, going just 9 of 17 for 76 yards and two INTs before leaving with â€œconcussion-like symptoms.â€ RB Giovani Bernard got the 35 yards he needed to become UNCâ€™s first 1,000-yard rusher since 1997, but not much more. And C.J. Feagles, who replaced Thomas Hibbard as the punter, shanked three kicks for less than 30 yards. The coup de grace was provided by interim coach Everett Withers, whose words came back to haunt him when his counterpart Tom Oâ€™Brien used his mid-week comments about graduation rates as the Wolfpackâ€™s pregame pep talk.
Boston College, D: It was another awful performance for the Eagles, who guaranteed themselves of their first losing season since 1998 with a nationally televised 38-7 loss to Florida State on Thursday. Though the numbers on both sides of the ball were predictably unsightly given the competition, the most disappointing were posted by RB Rolandan Finch. A week after rushing for 243 yards and two TDs, Finch was held to 59 yards on 28 carries with two fumbles. Two things kept BCâ€™s weekly grade from being a complete failure. One was the typically impressive performance of LB Luke Kuechly, who posted 20 tackles for his 31st straight game with double-digit stops. The second was coach Frank Spazianiâ€™s decision to pull struggling QB Chase Rettig and replace him with redshirt freshman Josh Bordner. Bordner wasnâ€™t a world-beater. He was 1 of 2 for18 yards and an INT while rushing for45 yards on seven carries. But at least Spaziani tried. Thatâ€™s about the best you can say for the Eagles this season.
Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Football Power Rankings, Nov. 7
8. N.C. State (5-4, 2-3)
Tom Oâ€™Brien must wish he played North Carolina every week. Since taking over the Wolfpack program, Oâ€™Brien is 5-0 against the Tar Heels and 11-21 against the rest of the ACC.
Upcoming game: Saturday at Boston College (2-7)
Previous Ranking: No. 9
9. North Carolina (6-4, 2-4)
How do you go from scoring 49 points on Wake Forest one week ago to not being able to score a single point against N.C. State? When you consider that the Tar Heels have one of the best receivers (Dwight Jones), one of the best quarterbacks (Bryn Renner) and one of the best running backs (Giovani Bernard) in the ACC it is even more incomprehensible. The Tar Heels were embarrassingly bad against the Wolfpack, mustering a total of just three rushing yards.
Upcoming Game: Next Thursday at Virginia Tech (8-1)
Previous Ranking: No. 5
11. Boston College (2-7, 1-5)
Rolandan Finchâ€™s 243-yard rushing performance against Maryland now looks like the product of facing an atrocious run defense and not the breakout game of a future star. Finch was held to 2.1 yards per carry by FSUâ€™s defense and fumbled the ball away twice.
Upcoming Game: Saturday vs N.C. State (5-4)
Previous Ranking: No. 11
Jim Young (accsports.com)
Second Thoughts On The ACC Weekend: Mulligan Edition
N.C. State: 34-27 Loss To Wake Forest
For all the talk about Tom Oâ€™Brienâ€™s shaky job status, Stateâ€™s not actually underachieving that much right now. Three of its losses (Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Florida State) were to teams with a combined record of 20-6. But the Wake loss is harder to justify. And yeah, itâ€™s the one game that makes you think â€“ â€œI wonder if the Wolfpack would have won if Russell Wilson was still the quarterback?â€
NC STATE BASKETBALL
J.P. GIGLIO (N&O)
Pack’s Gottfried sees red flags in win
By comparison, Maryland (winners by five), Boston College (by four) and Miami (by 10) labored in their warm-ups for the regular season, which starts Friday for the Wolfpack with a visit from UNC Asheville.
But Gottfried, whose offseason mantra has been “we’ve got a long way to go,” with a program five years removed from its last NCAA tournament appearance, isn’t interested in comparisons, even to teams in his own league, rather a standard he thinks is required to win.
And as many good things as Gottfried saw on Monday – a focused C.J. Leslie (16 points, five rebounds) and an improved C.J. Williams (10 points) among them – there were also red flags.
The Saints, with a smaller lineup, out-rebounded N.C. State 18 to 17 in the first half. The defensive intensity, understandably lax for a game that doesn’t count, was below the level Gottfried eventually wants when the heart of the ACC schedule arrives in two months.
“Rebounding was an issue,” Gottfried said. “More importantly, we weren’t moving our feet nearly as well as I’d like, and we were allowing too much penetration.”
The Wolfpack did have a 27-14 rebounding advantage in the second half and held the Saints to 24 points, after giving up 37 in the first half.
Wood, a junior guard, was in midseason form with six 3-pointers in the first half, as N.C. State built a 51-37 advantage. Wood chipped in two rare 2-pointers in the second half to finish with a game-high 24 points.
“We’ve tried to embrace the new style,” Wood said. “It comes down to good decisions.”
Locker Room Report: Mark Gottfried
â€œWe are not going to shoot it quick every time but we are trying to push it and create some opportunities. So you are going to have some [bad shots] every now and then. You don’t want to pull back the string so tight â€“ we are still learning. Our team is learning when to push the break and when to pull it out.â€
â€œWe still have to get better at what we are doing but as far as just coming and competing hard I think they’ve done a pretty nice job. That’s something we have to maintain throughout the whole year.â€
BOX SCORE: NC State 102, Flagler 61
Derek Medlin (PackPride.com)
Pack blows past Flagler, 102-61
A less-than-impressive first half defensive effort allowed Division II Flagler to hang within 8-10 points for much of the first 20 minutes. Flagler out-rebounded NC State 18-17 in the first 20 minutes and forced 8 turnovers.
Luckily for NC State, however, a surprisingly effective up-tempo offensive attack kept the Saints from becoming any real threat. NC State built a 51-37 lead by halftime on the strength of 61 percent shooting and 17 assists on 19 made baskets. Wood poured in 18 of his 24 points in the first, all from behind the arc.
Gottfried said the first half defensive issues centered around pour box outs and not containing Flagler’s efforts to penetrate and get to the basket.
Matt Carter (TheWolfpacker.com)
Wolfpack rolls in exhibition
State’s new point guard, sophomore Lorenzo Brown, had an up-and-down game, scoring just four points but also dishing out a game-high eight assists. Brown though battled foul trouble and turnovers. He was limited to just 22 minutes of playing time because of four fouls, and he turned it over a game-high six times.
Fifth-year senior Alex Johnson though stepped up in Brown’s absence. He had six points, four rebounds and three assists with just one turnover in 20 minutes.
“Alex did a nice job of stepping in there and we really didn’t miss a beat at all,” Gottfried noted. “One thing you have to remember is that Alex is an older guy. He’s a college graduate. He’s more mature than a lot of guys. I thought he calmed us down, and just played with a lot of poise. He did a nice job.”
The Pack opens their season with UNC Asheville Friday night at 7 p.m., in the RBC Center in Raleigh.
NC State media relations (WRALSportsfan.com)
NC State “unselfish” in exhibition win
The Wolfpack reserves tried to make their impression on the new coaching staff, as Johnson led a 36-8 run to end the game. Junior DeShawn Painter was the fifth player to hit double figures, getting six of his 10 points in the second half.
“Everybody on the court was playing to earn more playing time,” Gottfried said. “That’s important early in the season, to get out there and play hard.”
Friday’s opening opponent will feature a familiar face to long-time Wolfpack fans on the opposing sideline. The Bulldogs are coached by former Wolfpack All-ACC guard Eddie Biedenbach, who was also an assistant coach under NC State head coaches Norm Sloan and Les Robinson. Biedenbach guided his team to a 20-14 record, a Big South championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament last spring.
Joe Ovies (accsports.com)
The ACCSports.com Podcast, Nov. 8
Joe Ovies, afternoon cohost on 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh, and Jim Young have returned with another edition of the ACCSports.com Podcast.
Among the topics they discussed:
â€¢ After all the pre-game buildup, why wasnâ€™t UNC â€œupâ€ for N.C. State?
â€¢ And why canâ€™t the Wolfpack replicate that effort in its other 11 games?
â€¢ So whatâ€™s Tom Oâ€™Brienâ€™s job status now that heâ€™s 5-0 against the Tar Heels?
â€¢ Why is the Randy Edsall Era off to such a rough start?
â€¢ How hot is the seat under Frank Spaziani?
â€¢ Basketballâ€™s coming up â€¦ after UNC and Duke, are we headed for ACC chaos?
â€¢ Most importantly, howâ€™d Jimâ€™s ACC fantasy hoops draft go?
David Glenn (accsports.com)
David Glenn Chats With Tony Haynes, Nov. 8
David Glenn caught up with Tony Haynes of the Wolfpack Sports Network on his afternoon radio show to talk about N.C. Stateâ€™s big win over UNC.
Among the topics they discussed: how Haynes thought the off-the field talk leading up to N.C. Stateâ€™s 13-0 win against UNC helped the Wolfpack; how N.C. State has played with passion against UNC, but controlled passion; what tendencies may have picked up on when game planning; and if the pregame handshake between Tom Oâ€™Brien and Everett Withers had any drama.
Watch The Tom O’Brien TV Show
In this week’s episode, Head football coach Tom O’Brien breaks down the UNC game with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with offensive tackle Mikel Overgaard and previews the Pack’s next game against the Boston College Eagles.
Manning called the ‘goose egg’ a defensive statement
Smith said you have to be able to things behind you
O’Brien said the defense has been improving
Gottfried: “It was a good night for us”
Wood likes the Pack’s unselfishness
Leslie’s first-name change is symbolic