For NC State Football, There’s No Place To Go But Up

With all due respect to Duke and its rising football fortunes, NC State’s football program probably hit rock bottom yesterday in Durham.

After having taken the lead in a close game midway through the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack proceeded to implode with a ferocity rarely seen in major division college football: the defense gave the lead right back after a relentless Duke drive, and down four with around three and a half minutes to go, the offense proceeded to throw two pick-six interceptions on consecutive plays.  That said, in the course of three short minutes, State went from leading a tight game by three with the clock starting to melt to having no chance at all of victory.

The usual suspects were the cause of this dumpster fire: poor tackling on defense, poor decision making at quarterback, poor blocking from the offensive line when State needed it most, and most importantly, a complete loss of poise from the skilled position players on the field.  One of the Duke interceptions was made when quarterback Brandon Mitchell was on his way to the ground for a short sack, but instead of taking the loss of yardage and regrouping, Mitchell instead decided inexplicably to throw pass that was then batted into the air like a volleyball by Devon Edwards, who then caught the ball himself and strutted into the end zone to put the game away.  Then, on the next series, Mitchell was replaced by Pete Thomas, who threw another pick six on the first play of the series by putting the ball into Edwards’ hands once again, resulting in another touchdown the wrong way.

Some may say that was the result of a having a quarterback onto the field who is not suited for ACC play, while other fans screamed in the direction of the coaches.  Both are legitimate points, but perhaps the simplest answer is this: NC State is a team with no depth and little high caliber talent available in the 2013 season.  Perhaps the only player who would have a chance to start on Florida State or Clemson, the league leaders, would be kicker Nicklas Sade, and perhaps of all of the players who were available for Duke, none would crack Clemson or Florida State’s second string — save for running back Shardrach Thornton and wide receiver Rashard Smith.

That leaves head coach Dave Doeren with a nearly impossible task — putting a winning team onto the field.  One could question why, given the personnel problems, Doeren and offensive coordinator Matt Canada have  chosen to change the offensive style and not to retain the incumbent Pro-Set style of offense that were the hallmarks of the Tom O’Brien and Dana Bible era, but the answer is that wouldn’t work well either — not with a banged-up patchwork offensive line that has trouble opening holes in the opposition defense and keeping the pass rush away from the quarterback.  Coupled with QB’s who can’t pass well, that would result in an offense as poor as the one that went nuclear upon itself in the last few minutes inside Wallace Wade Stadium yesterday.

Then there is the quarterback position itself: gone is NFL starter Mike Glennon, a player who has acquitted himself well in his first year playing on Sundays.  In his stead are a converted wide receiver who the game has never slowed down for, and he is backed up by a relatively immobile but somewhat weak-armed player who the game has also never slowed down for.  Both quarterbacks have made horrible decisions throwing the ball at key points of tight games, and both seem to lock down on one receiver or one side of the field and not perform their check-downs to find the open guy who they could get positive yards from.  While the running backs and receivers have played well enough, they can’t overcome those weaknesses, especially in the red zone and the recipe for a weak offense is thus mixed thoroughly and put in the oven.  That’s left NC State eating its own humble pie more often than not this season, and it is something that has left a horrible taste in the mouths of its rabid fans.

What State needs are athletes at every position, players who have size, strength and speed, plus a desire to compete through the final whistle.  Doeren and staff are busily recruiting players with those skills at the prep level, but this year he has nothing much to work with…and it shows.  Doeren has put together a pretty solid group for next year, but integrating them into the team and molding an effective unit will take time.

Taken in summary, that leaves a team with no place to go but upwards…it can’t get much worse than it is right now.

And it leaves a simple question: when will that happen?  The answer, right now, to that is equally simple: your guess is as good as mine.  The only thing we know with any certainty is that it won’t be this year.

'13 Football Dave Doeren NCS Football

67 Responses to For NC State Football, There’s No Place To Go But Up

  1. JohnGalt78 11/10/2013 at 11:35 AM #

    NCSU alumni, boosters, fans, and supporters have gone from hopeful and optimistic to skeptical in regard to DD. He has earned that despite the horrid talent he inherited. Next year will be another bust but he will get a pass assuming he stops with the idiot sideline decisions or lack thereof. Third year will need to be a breakout or he is out IMHO.

  2. TeufelWolf 11/10/2013 at 11:59 AM #

    This season serves as a life lesson to the fans that didn’t fully appreciate Mike Glennon.

    Happy Birthday Marines!

  3. wolfpackdawg 11/10/2013 at 12:18 PM #

    It’s difficult to recruit well when this team is so bad. I hope they can overcome that.

  4. Wufpacker 11/10/2013 at 12:21 PM #

    ^ Not necessarily.

  5. TLeo 11/10/2013 at 12:29 PM #

    This season is over and I see no way this bunch can win any of the remaining games given the performance so far. I believe he has to have time to get the players he needs for his system(if he can convince them to come here after this garbage season) but I also think that people will be looking for a marked and very noticeable improvement next year or his seat will be getting very warm–deserved or not.

  6. BJD95 11/10/2013 at 12:32 PM #

    Doeren is already recruiting a class that is WAY better than all but one TOB class (the one with Glennon). Having playing time to sell is a plus, since Doeren is new and can’t be held personally responsible for the dumpster fire roster situation.

    Now if TOB was trying to recruit in this environment…

  7. StateFans 11/10/2013 at 12:32 PM #

    Love the post, Alpha! And, love JohnGalt’s summation in the first comment. Spot on!

  8. TLeo 11/10/2013 at 12:39 PM #

    I agree that he can definitely use immediate playing time next year as an incentive BJD. The class he has recruited so far does appear to be way better than what he inherited.

    and a big OOO- RAH to you TeufelWolf!

  9. eas 11/10/2013 at 12:51 PM #

    No doubt DD has recruited VERY well so far and that alone is awesome! On the flip side, DD has coached VERY poor so far as well with some really bad decisions. Whether it will balance out in the next year or two is anyone’s guess.

    If we see bad play calling, a sleeping offense and bad clock mgt again next year talent will NOT make up for this shortcoming. Let’s hope it’s just a dumpster fire this year only….

  10. Wulfpack 11/10/2013 at 1:04 PM #

    That’s kind of the camp I am in, eas. Encouraged by the recruiting, very discouraged by the coaching and motivation. Fair or not, I do not think he will be safe after another bad season. So he has a lot of work to do, and I am sure he knows it. We are easily the worst team in a bad football state and that just will not fly if it persists much longer.

  11. Avid109 11/10/2013 at 1:13 PM #

    While I hope we’ll see some improvement next season, I think that year #3 will be the do-or-die mark for Coach Doeren. If the team shows measurable improvement by that point, then we’ll know that we’re on the right track. If, on the other hand, he has a Tom Reed-like 3-year run….

  12. MISTA WOLF 11/10/2013 at 1:34 PM #

    “Big picture ” wise I like what coach has done so far. I think each game (except FSU) that the coaching staff had a gameplan and executed it for the most part in each performance. I mean hell, with the talent we have, coach and staff have done an extraordinary job of keeping us in the games and at least kept them respectable. The meticulous things is where they have struggled. There is absolutely no excuses for special team goofs, missed blocking assignments, etc. etc. Attention to detail is where this staff has got to be solid next year as they build toward the future. Dumb azz mistakes cannot be tolerated. The coaches are evidently trying but they’ve got a lot of work ahead of them to get us where we need to be. Unfortunately, you cant make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t.

  13. Paramarine 11/10/2013 at 1:37 PM #

    I disagree with the claim that NC State hit rock bottom yesterday. We have yet to play ECU.

    @ TeufelWolf, Happy birthday, brother!

  14. NCSU84 11/10/2013 at 2:02 PM #

    Building a solid program does not take long if (big if) you have the right coach. We all witnessed this when Dick Sheradin arrived at State. Say what you want about the lack of talent, but let’s face it, these players were at the top of their game coming out of HS. You do not receive a scholarship to NCSU unless you bring something to the table. Perhaps DD needs a year or two like Mac Brown, but as someone stated earlier, by year 3 or 4 we should know if DD is our guy.

  15. T. 11/10/2013 at 2:12 PM #

    Minor correction on that third paragraph: the 2nd pick-six came from Pete Thomas (not that it makes much difference in the analysis)

    Thanks, I corrected the article. –Alpha

  16. vtpackfan 11/10/2013 at 2:14 PM #

    I like the term “rock bottom” over dumpster fire, but I’ll go Phoenix rising from the ashes above all else.

    You guys really wanted another 6-6 team to add to our Goldie Locks of a program?! Seriously-you should take a second, clear your mind from toxic fumes for a second-and come to see the big picture.

    A team HAS to break the not too cold (oh, boo-hoo, not since ’59-waah) and not too warm (go ahead Chuck, have a parade for not winning enough in conference and beating a lousy ND).

    We need a true bottom in order to reset this thing and DD by in large seems fit for riding it through and finishing strong. We are on path for an O-for and still we see 40 minutes of all out effort. What has been the price of riding the “Cyclone of Mediocrity” that defines the culture of NC State Football.

    “That will be one zombie effort against UVa (name your year and it will be easy to find the ticket stub).

    This team has not and will tote that line. The culture is changing and the shock of not “at least being mediocre” has freaked some-I get that.

    DD is going to do this the right way and in the process is going to lose some fans. He is going to gain those fans back, each and every one, plus a whole slew of folks who took notice of the rise from the ashes trajectory NC State will have taken.

  17. state73 11/10/2013 at 2:25 PM #

    I agree that it is a big plus that recruiting is getting better under DD, however these really stupid in game coaching calls must improve. I hope DD makes some changes on his staff after the season. I will still have my butt in C-F for the last home games.

  18. BJD95 11/10/2013 at 2:34 PM #

    Sheridan is a good reference point. In Year Two (after EK and the good upperclass core of that Peach Bowl)…we were a dumpster fire. Lost to East Tennessee State, think finished 3-8.

    Did randomly beat Clemson in Death Valley, going into half 30-0 and holding on 30-28. But that team sucked. Starting with Year Three, Sheridan’s program was always solid.

  19. tjfoose1 11/10/2013 at 2:47 PM #

    “It’s difficult to recruit well when this team is so

    No, it’s not. Not if you know how.

  20. Alpha Wolf 11/10/2013 at 2:48 PM #

    go ahead Chuck, have a parade for not winning enough in conference and beating a lousy ND

    It is one thing for UNC fans to perpetuate that myth, but it is quite another for NC State fans to do it.

    1. It was not a “parade.” It was a pep rally on the steps of the Civic Center.

    2. It was not something that NC State Athletics arranged, it was the city of Raleigh.

    3. Amato did not want to have the team participate, but relented after it was decided by those in charge of the Athletic Department to not offend the city and put strain on the town-and-gown relationship between NC State and the City of Raleigh.

    4. It bears repeating that it was at no time “a parade.” State’s players rode three buses to the event and it was not lined with fans nor was it described as “a parade” in the media at the time.

    5. The “parade” myth was perpetrated by Inside Carolina’s forums, and since we all know that IC is a fountain of truth an critical thinking, we can take it for what it is worth: a myth created by UNC fans who were jealous of State’s success that year.

  21. tjfoose1 11/10/2013 at 2:55 PM #

    “idiot sideline decisions”

    One man’s idiot decision is another’s fighting desperation. Lie down and take the assured loss, or risk looking the fool to provide a logshot chance at victory.

    Not saying I agree with the 4th and one call at that stage of the game, but I certainly understand it. Rather than finding it inexcusable, I like what it says about our coach. That attitude will pay dividends in the long term, both on the field and in recruiting.

  22. wolfpup44 11/10/2013 at 3:00 PM #

    We should be better than 0-6 in the ACC. What everyone is missing is that we are losing to bad teams. What is DD’s affection in 4th down and deep in our own territory? Getting beat bad is one thing….embarrassing ourselves is another. It’s now apparent that we will lose to all 4 NC Div I teams this year and possibly 0-8 in the ACC. My wonderful son, who played football at San Jose State for Mike MacIntyre, wondered why we didn’t go after a guy who took a decimated program won some games with talent not on par with NC State. Mac brought in juco transfers and true freshmen who contributed immediately. He even got Tate Forcier to transfer from Michigan (too bad that kids talent was wasted on off the field issues). We will not have a good 2014 without a great QB. Unless we get a great recruit we are looking at another bad year. Check out DD’s Twitter activity. It was consistent until the Wake loss, then less and less.

  23. BJD95 11/10/2013 at 3:11 PM #

    Want something to feel good about? Cotchery and Andre Brown have each scored today, RW has 2 TD passes, Steve Hauschka with 4 FGs.

  24. wolfputter 11/10/2013 at 3:13 PM #

    Let’s not forget that when Amato came in he had nothing much to work with.
    Amato left O’Brien in worse shape for talent.
    Doeren really was left with even less talent by O’Brien.
    Can you imagine what this year would have been like with O’Brien. We probably would not have won the games we have.
    At least Doeren is going after the talented 4 and 5 star players that State has to have to compete with Florida State and Clemson.
    And remember next year we get Louisville in our division.

  25. BJD95 11/10/2013 at 3:15 PM #

    Anybody who didn’t expect us to be bad this season and next is, by definition, unrealistic. We might be more interestingly bad next year, with Brissette at QB.

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