Tuesday Tidbits


ncsu helmet

Brett Friedlander (starnewsonline.com)
C.J. Wilson won’t play vs. Tennessee on Friday, but all three RBs will

As far as the competition at running back is concerned, sophomore Tony Creecy listed as the starter with senior James Washington and sophomore Mustafa Greene backing him up.

But O’Brien said that the order is subject to change depending on their performance in the game. All three are expected to get carries in the first half against Tennessee.

“We’re looking at it by committee right now,” O’Brien said. “They will all be in the game some time Friday night and as we go on, probably it will all shake itself out.”

Bret Strelow (FayObserver.com)
N.C. State welcomes back linebacker Sterling Lucas

One of N.C. State’s captains is quarterback Mike Glennon, who threw 31 touchdown passes last year.

The other watched Wolfpack games from the coaches’ box.

It was an educational experience for middle linebacker Sterling Lucas, a redshirt senior who sat out the season while recovering from a left knee injury. Defensive guru Jon Tenuta, who works with the team’s linebackers, thought it’d be a waste of time for Lucas to observe the action like a fan and instead turned him into a de facto coach.

Lucas, sitting with graduate assistants on a row above Tenuta in the Carter-Finley Stadium box, wore a headset and often called out the defensive personnel N.C. State needed on the field. Even head coach Tom O’Brien could hear the calls, which helped the on-field assistants react properly to offensive substitutions.

“Coach Tenuta would look up and give me a little wink every now and then,” Lucas said. “It was a real good experience.”

Lucas has traded in his visor – yes, he wore a visor – for a helmet.

N.C. State football preview

2011 summary:

The Wolfpack struggled early on, partly because of injuries, and didn’t beat an FBS opponent until Oct. 8. That stretch included home wins against Liberty and South Alabama, but N.C. State lost at Wake Forest, was embarrassed by Cincinnati on national television and dropped to 2-3 with a home loss to Georgia Tech. After defeating Central Michigan, the Wolfpack got healthy on its bye week and picked up a critical victory at Virginia. It went 1-2 over the next three weeks, with a shutout of North Carolina sandwiched between two losses, and closed the season with three straight wins. That stretch featured a home upset of No. 7 Clemson, a comeback from a 41-14 deficit to beat Maryland 56-41 and a 31-24 victory against Louisville in the Belk Bowl.

Returning starters: Offense 7, defense 7, specialists 2


While Russell Wilson competes to be a rookie starter with the Seattle Seahawks, N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon is preparing for his second year in charge of the Wolfpack offense after justifying the faith Tom O’Brien displayed in him a year ago. Glennon won’t have as many proven weapons down the field this year and needs receivers like Tobais Palmer, Quintin Payton, converted cornerback Rashard Smith and Bryan Underwood, who has been out following minor knee surgery, to emerge. Asa Watson and Mario Carter are intriguing talents at tight end. The Wolfpack averaged only 104.9 rushing yards per game last season but should be better running behind an experienced line whose members have combined for 113 college starts. James Washington and Tony Creecy are reliable options, and Mustafa Greene has been working back into the picture. Greene led the team in rushing as a freshman, missed last season with a foot injury and remained sidelined because of legal, disciplinary and academic problems. Cleared to practice on Aug. 9, he’s a bruising back who could excel in short-yardage situations.

Jim Young (accsports.com)
Ask A Blogger: N.C. State Preseason Football Q&A

We’ll start with a broad question. We enter into the sixth year of the Tom O’Brien Era at N.C. State. How do you feel about him up to this point? Has he delivered the results you expected?

Backing The Pack:
This should be the program’s third straight year with eight wins or more, and that’s pretty much what I thought Tom O’Brien was going to be able to do here. It took a little longer than I would have liked, but some of the reasons for that were out of TOB’s control (like injuries).

I don’t have any major objections from a fundamentals or x-and-o perspective, but I continue to be disheartened by his staff’s inability to lure blue chip prospects to the program. We are losing ground to our main competition in the Atlantic Division in this area each and every year, and that makes it a lot harder to be optimistic about a breakthrough season with O’Brien at the helm.

Sammy Batten (FayObserver.com)
Wolfpack tabs Glennon, Lucas as team captains

One of the biggest honors an athlete can earn in any sport is being selected team captain by their teammates.

Quarterback Mike Glennon and linebacker Sterling Lucas were so honored by their N.C. State teammates Monday as the Wolfpack reported for preseason camp. Glennon will represent the offense and Lucas the defense.

“Being elected by their peers is testament to the leadership that these two young men have shown,” Coach Tom O’Brien said. “Not only have they worked hard throughout spring practice and in our summer workouts, but Mike and Sterling have also already earned their degrees.”

O’Brien, Pack Eager for Start of Season

The last time the Pack opened the season on a stage this large was the 1992 Kickoff Classic against No. 15 Iowa at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands. NC State won that game 24-14 and went on to a 9-3-1 record in Dick Sheridan’s final season as the Wolfpack’s head coach.

Like almost all coaches, O’Brien never likes to put too much emphasis on one game, especially a season opener. Unlike many coaches, however, he understands the magnitude of certain games and doesn’t shy away from talking about it. And yes, O’Brien said, Friday’s game is special.

“The first game isn’t the end-all game that you’re going to play,” O’Brien said, “but there are always special games no matter what month it is, and this certainly is a special game to play in because of the stage and because of the opponent and the conference affiliation. It’s a great opportunity for us. We’re looking at it that way. We’re going against a brand name in college football. Tennessee’s got the second-most wins in Southeastern Conference history, so it’s a chance to do something special with our program and we’re looking at it in that light.”

Weekly Tom O’Brien TV Show

In this week’s episode Head football coach Tom O’Brien discusses the start of the season with host Tony Haynes. Mark Thomas visits with redshirt senior middle linebacker Sterling Lucas and previews the Tennessee game.

Jacey Zembal (TheWolfpacker.com)
Q&A: Center Camden Wentz has big goals

What is it like living with offensive line teammates R.J. Mattes and Andrew Wallace the last two years?

“Our apartment is an interesting place. There is a lot of sleeping [going on]. It’s like hibernation sometimes. I was always close with those guys and ended up in their apartment. I said, ‘I really like these guys, so why not live with them.’ The last few years, that has been my situation.”

How is the chemistry of the line this season?

“The chemistry remains the same, but it’s more about fine-tuning footwork and steps from when you move from one side of the ball to the other. Your stance changes and your footwork kind of flip-flops. It’s important at this time of the year to fine-tune all that, and the chemistry comes along with it.

“R.J. moving in at guard [from left tackle], he has different footwork at left guard. Andrew moving from left guard to right tackle, he kind of has to flip-flop footwork.”

Who inspires you?

“Definitely my father, Jeff Wentz. Must people don’t say their parents, but you model yourself off them. Everyone tells me that I’m a spitting image of my dad. If I can be like my dad when I’m all said and done, that would be a pretty good thing. He’s a great guy.”

NC State must solve another SEC ‘D’ in opener

So much for starting slow. North Carolina State is facing another huge challenge in its first game.

For the third time in five years, the Wolfpack faces a Southeastern Conference team in its opener. They play Tennessee on Friday night in Atlanta.

Andrew Skwara (accsports.com)
ACC Preseason Football Power Rankings

1. Florida State
The defense is loaded with proven playmakers, especially up front, where ends Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner could rack up some gaudy sack numbers. Expect talented QB E.J. Manuel to be more polished in what will be his second year as the starter and for productive wideout Rashad Greene (seven touchdowns as a true freshman in 2011) to become a go-to target. A softer schedule, which opens with a pair of FCS programs (Murray State and Savannah State) and will bring Clemson to Tallahassee, will help. The big key is developing a young offensive line – the Seminoles started four true freshmen up front in their last game. If that unit can protect Manuel, the ‘Noles will win the ACC for the first time since 2005 and could even contend for a national title. If not, it will be yet another season of unfulfilled promise for a program that has underachieved too often in recent years.

Starters Returning: 16 (7 offense/8 defense/1 specialist)
First Game: Saturday vs Murray State, 6 pm, ESPN3


4. Georgia Tech
Paul Johnson won’t get any time to fine tune his triple option offense against pushover opponents this season. The Yellow Jackets’ first game is at Virginia Tech in a matchup that usually determines the winner of the Coastal Division. The fact that the Hokies have had all summer to prepare works heavily against the Jackets (under Johnson, the Jackets are 5-10 when facing FBS opponents who have had more than a week off). The Jackets must also travel to Clemson. Johnson and his offense will still grind out plenty of yards and points. But with such a brutal road schedule, Al Groh’s defense must get better and do so in a hurry.

Starters Returning: 17 (8 offense/7 defense/2 specialists)
First Game: Monday at Virginia Tech, 8 pm, ESPN

5. N.C. State
Tom O’Brien got plenty of criticism for pushing Russell Wilson away last year and much of it was deserved – Wilson has already impressed enough in the NFL preseason to earn the Seattle Seahwaks’ starting QB job. But going with replacement Mike Glennon should now pay off. Glennon returns for his senior year after throwing for 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions in the Wolfpack’s last three games in 2011 – all wins. Cornerback David Amerson, who racked up an outrageous 13 interceptions last year (a number that is still hard to believe), returns to anchor the best secondary in the ACC. The run game and the defensive front need to improve, but the ‘Pack has the weapons to be a dark horse in this conference.

Starters Returning: 16 (7 offense/6 defense/2 specialists)
First Game: Friday vs Tennessee at Georgia Dome, 7:30 pm, ESPNU

6. North Carolina
Larry Fedora takes over a program on NCAA probation (the Tar Heels will lose 15 scholarships over the next three years) and a one-year bowl ban. But that doesn’t mean the Tar Heels can’t win. The return of ultra-accurate quarterback Bryn Renner (completed 68 percent of his passes in 2011) and Giovani Bernard (1,253 rushing yards, 13 TDs in 2011), who may be the best running back in the ACC, should make for good fits for the fast-paced offense Fedora brings from Southern Miss. The defense is also switching to a unique 4-2-5 formation that could make it tough for opposing offenses to prepare for. One of Fedora’s biggest tasks will be ending a five-year losing streak to arch rival N.C. State.

Starters Returning: 14 (7 offense/6 defense/1 specialists)
First Game: Saturday vs Elon, 12:30 pm, ACC Network

Ken Medlin (WRALSportsfan.com)
Opportunity knocks for N.C. State

If you listen closely, you just might hear it. Opportunity is knocking for N.C. State’s football team.

Admittedly, that’s a tired old idiom, but let’s face it… it’s been a long time since the Pack opened a season with a statement win. Try 13 years – State opened the 1999 season with a 23-20 win at #16 Texas.

Since then, there have been a couple of heart-breakers (a 20-16 loss to Virginia Tech in ’05 and a 7-3 loss to South Carolina in 2009, both in Raleigh), a head-scratcher (a 25-22 home loss to Central Florida in 2007), and a number of wins in which the Wolfpack was heavily favored.

And let’s try to forget the game down in Columbia which saw Russell Wilson carted off to an ambulance.

But now, a chance to make some noise has arrived in the form of a season-opening, only-game-that-night showdown with Tennessee.

O’Brien: We don’t down play Tennessee

NC State head coach Tom O’Brien said in his weekly press conference Monday that they are not taking Tennessee lightly and that all three running backs should see first-half reps.

WRALSportsfan.com (AUDIO)
Beating Vols would help make State a “brand program”

Joe Ovies (WRALSportsfan.com)
Trending: All Russell Wilson Everything

All Russell Wilson Everything

Russell Wilson was named the starter for Week 1, which really shouldn’t be a shock to those who kept up with camp reports coming out of Seattle. The Seahawks telegraphed the decision starting in May during rookie workouts. All Wilson had to do was perform.

And perform he did.

Wilson was efficient and exhibited his usual cool control, finishing the game 13-for-19 with 185 yards and two touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs. He added a couple of scrambles for 58 yards just to show off the fancy footwork we had grown accustomed to watching in college. The six drives run by Wilson all resulted in points, including a 2-minute drill that ended up with a touchdown before halftime.

Oh yeah, none of his passes were batted down at the line. Tom Brady and Cam Newton did over the weekend. Guess those guys are too short?

Adam Gold (WRALSportsfan.com)
Wilson is the total professional package

In contrast, through three football seasons in Raleigh, in spite of some fairly gaudy statistical data, it didn’t appear that Wilson was on the radar of the National Football League. Wilson’s performance in a Wolfpack uniform should have gotten him noticed. He threw for more than 8,500 yards in three seasons, throwing 76 touchdown passes against only 26 interceptions. In addition he rushed for another thousand yards and 17 more scores. And, he was the type of leader and student every coach in every sport goes to sleep at night dreaming about. He was perfect in every way, even for the NFL, except he was – at least in the eyes of the NFL tape measures – too small to play QB in the league.

Who knows where it happened. Maybe it was somewhere on a bus, traveling the byways between eastern Washington and northern Montana. Maybe it was a nasty, 2-0 slider from a left-handed rookie reliever. Or, maybe Wilson just loved football more than he loved baseball. Regardless, Wilson was going to give football one more set of downs, and see if someone wouldn’t take notice. With NC State committed to playing Russell’s former understudy, Michael Glennon, at quarterback, Wilson was forced to seek a one-year option and Wisconsin’s pro-style, power running game gave him the chance to play some early-season, high profile games. What happened next was, if you knew anything about Russell, predictable. When the lights were brightest, Wilson was always at his best. Don’t think so, just ask the folks in Chapel Hill, against whom Wilson never lost, throwing for 700 yards and 8 touchdowns, including the sport’s first 2-yard “Hail Mary” for a late 3rd quarter touchdown in a comeback victory at Kenan Stadium.

UT helmet
Rocky Top

Will Shelton (RockyTopTalk.com)
On Da’Rick Rogers and Unicorns

The passing game juggernaut we all envisioned has always been somewhat of a mythical creature, but never more than now. We saw it for two games last year, and one of them was Montana. We’ve probably used the word “Cincinnati” more than “Knoxville” this offseason. But that one game was enough to make us believe, even though it would be all we saw of it. And just as that one game created a level of excitement and expectation which then made it easier to tighten Dooley’s noose last fall, so too will eight months of preseason hype around the mythical passing game make it hard for us to simply abandon all of our expectations. Life and college football aren’t fair, and I have yet to find anyone making the “Why Derek Dooley now deserves four years” argument after yesterday. I truly don’t know if this is right or wrong, but I know you can’t ask us to be patient anymore.

What I do know is that we still haven’t seen the real thing yet. The ceiling for the 2012 Vols certainly appears lower than it was 24 hours ago, of that there is no doubt. But more than the question many will ask – “Can Dooley still save his job?” – how about the question we all really want answered: “Can this still be a good football team?”

And the answer is…I don’t know. But we’re getting ready to find out.

UT Sports Information (VolsNation.com)

Rivera is not taking NC State lightly, but also feels as though the Wolfpack needs to do the same.

“They are going to play really hard,” said Rivera. “They are going to come out in the opener. Anytime you get an opening game like that they are going to play hard and they are going to execute. We have to play really well.”

“A lot of people are underestimating what we have. I feel like in the offseason we worked really hard. This game, I feel like we are going to show everybody what we are working for.”

Charlie Daniel draws Tennessee vs. North Carolina State

Evan Woodbery (GoVolsxtra.com)
N.C. State’s talented secondary makes losing Da’Rick Rogers more daunting for Tennessee

“This is one of the best secondaries we will face, and probably one of the best secondaries in college football,” said Tennessee coach Derek Dooley.

N.C. State won eight games last year and many pundits predict that Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien has the most talented team in his six-year tenure.

Dooley said that Tennessee fans looking down their noses at N.C. State or the ACC are making a mistake.

“I think N.C. State could blend right in our league and be able to whip anybody,” Dooley said Thursday in a comment that raised eyebrows when it bounced around on Twitter.

In context, Dooley’s statement wasn’t so radical: N.C. State’s talent is comparable to other teams in the SEC.

“I don’t see a difference,” Dooley said. “We look at them and we see great athletes on the perimeter, a lot of draft picks and a hard-nosed, physical, tough football team. They could fit right in in our league. I don’t view it as SEC-versus-ACC. There is no significant difference in my opinion.”

Patrick Brown (timesfreepress.com)
Wolfpack attack Vols ready for opening test on Friday against NC State in the Georgia Dome

But they know it will not be a walk in the park.

“I think N.C. State could blend right in in our league and be able to whip anybody in our league,” Dooley said sternly. “We look at them and see great athletes on the perimeter, a lot of [NFL] draft picks. We see a hard-nosed, physical, tough football team.”

The Wolfpack’s secondary has caught Dooley’s attention more than anything. In addition to 6-foot-3, 194-pound cornerback and 2011 interceptions leader David Amerson, N.C. State has “probably three or four NFL draft guys,” Dooley said. The Wolfpack were 31st nationally in pass-efficiency defense, first nationally in interceptions and sixth in the country in turnover margin.

“They make you pay for an inaccurate throw, they make you pay for a mistake and they set you up,” Dooley continued. “They can recover and make a play on a ball that most people can’t. They want to get you in third-and-long and start doing a lot of stuff to create confusion, [bring] a little pressure, and those DBs are back there waiting on you to make a mistake.”

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray already knows what it’ll take against N.C. State’s top unit.

“Staying patient, taking my checkdowns, not trying to force the ball down the field,” he said. “We’ve been watching a lot of N.C. State. We’ve been going and breaking everything down. Pretty much we’ve watched every clip.”

It’s the same story for Tennessee’s defense, as players have thrown in N.C. State video to break up reviewing themselves as they learn a new scheme. The Wolfpack’s attack features a 3,000-yard passer in senior quarterback Mike Glennon and an offensive line with four returning starters and 99 projected career starts combined. N.C. State averaged 41 points per game in its season-ending three-game win streak.

Hey, they said it not me.


Well it’s not mom’s basement like the four-eyed monster over in Chapel Hill…

Tennessee vs. NC State Prediction


Not sure if he made the trip to Raleigh just to do this video or what…

Tennessee vs North Carolina State: Wolfpack edition


This is by far my favorite. Words can’t even begin to describe what I’m thinking….

NC State will lose to Tennessee

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

'12 Football

12 Responses to Tuesday Tidbits

  1. Wufpacker 08/28/2012 at 7:35 AM #

    Nice rundown, and thanks as always. It does amaze me how many Vols fans have finally figured out the webcam technology and now post their own personal game breakdown/prediction videos.

    Hope Lucas proves worthy of his election. We sure could use a steady hand back there. LB corp still has me waking up at night in a cold sweat.

  2. TopTenPack 08/28/2012 at 7:47 AM #

    It will be interesting to see a Rivers v. Wilson NFL match up….

  3. logarithm 08/28/2012 at 7:50 AM #

    The first guy’s video analysis and even conclusion were good. Can’t argue with his logic and he presents well. I might even argue that the credit he gives us in the return game is severely hampered by losing one of the best return men we’ve had in years in TJ Graham. Though at the same time, he doesn’t count the third RB we’ll be returning for this game.

    I’d have to conclude differently than him though. True enough, Bray has better receivers at his disposal but our secondary is one of the best in the country; can we say top 10, at least at taking advantage of mistakes? Is Bray a top 10 QB? Does their OL outmatch our DL so much that he’ll have top 10 time to not make mistakes? Is their receiver corps, without Da’Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter coming off of a season-ending injury a top 10 unit there? I’m really mostly concerned with their very good TE getting catches on our inexperienced LB corps and them eating us up with small passing gains that work well with even a mediocre run game. That’s what’s going to save them from the 3rd and long situations we want them in.

    It’s sure going to be fun to watch.

  4. redcanine 08/28/2012 at 8:57 AM #

    I cant get past the awful Neidhart on that last guy.

    As long as we can get into the backfield and put some pressure on Bray, we’ll be alright. Given time, he’s good enough to find his talented receivers down the field.

  5. DC_wolf 08/28/2012 at 1:42 PM #

    I hope they play that clip by “RondoGuitarDude” at the team meeting the night before the game… PLEASE!

    “Ya’ll ain’t got no talented SEC recruited players like Tennuhsee…”

  6. virginiawolf 08/28/2012 at 1:59 PM #

    Not sure where to post this, but this will do…. SFN admin/mgr … I do not like this new format at all! The old one was not broken so why the change. Commenting is awkward at best. Please change it back… thanks.

    PS Just went to the “acc” website to see if there was any mention of being able to watch the STATE/UT game online… not even a mention of the game outside being listed in the overall schedule. Probably some of Swafhole’s doing.

  7. ancsu87 08/28/2012 at 3:41 PM #

    Had to try commenting since it was reported as awkward. I like the new format.

    Backing the Pack does not speak for the majority of NC State football fans. UNC-CH recruited numerous blue-chip players and look at their record during the TOB era. I think TOB will take the program higher over the next several seasons.

  8. virginiawolf 08/28/2012 at 4:11 PM #

    @ancsu87, maybe I’ve confused the old format with the N&O format. I just think it is nice to be able to comment directly under someone elses comment. I don’t post that often and maybe the old format didn’t allow that either. As an example, in your comment you mentioned “Backing the Pack does not speak…” assuming that backing the pack is a previous post, I scrolled up screen to find it, but there is none. So I’m trying to figure out which post you are replying to. No biggie … but there is more continuity with a thread instead of a chrono list. In any case … this is the year for big things at STATE.

  9. tobaccordshow 08/28/2012 at 4:16 PM #

    virginia, that is built in. Forgot to turn it on 🙂

  10. 1.21 Jigawatts 08/28/2012 at 4:46 PM #

    He was referring to the “Ask a blogger” article from ACCSJ up in the web run.

  11. virginiawolf 08/28/2012 at 4:49 PM #

    OK … so I wasn’t stupid and blind … just stupid. Thanks for adding the reply button. Now I am happy. Thanks.

  12. vtpackfan 08/28/2012 at 8:13 PM #

    I only saw “ultra accurate” Brianna Renner play once. He looked “ultra dead” most times…..in the face of our defensive front “that needs to show improvement”.

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