Tag:N.C. State
Posted on: April 14, 2011 3:11 pm
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 4/14

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Once a week, our Eye on College Football Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:

  • Though the long-simmering Delvon Simmons saga won't be officially over until he enrolls in Lubbock, the 2011 top-10 defensive tackle (and former North Carolina signee) has announced that he'll be joining Texas Tech this fall. After his departure from the UNC fold, Simmons listened to overtures from programs like USC, Auburn and Oregon but has settled on the Red Raiders.
  • Iowa dipped into Illinois for their first commitment of the class of 2012, offensive line legacy recruit Mitch Keppy. Also going out-of-state -- but much further out-of-state -- was West Virginia, who used Dana Holgorsen's old Lone Star State connections to land Houston quarterback Ford Childress. 
  • Les Miles told new LSU cornerback commitment Dwayne Thomas that getting the New Orleans prospect in the fold was like "getting Tyrann Mathieu all over again." Given the sky-high expectations for Mathieu this season, it seems Miles is more than a little high on Thomas's potential. Staying in the SEC, South Carolina received their second pledge for 2012 in the person of Atlanta-area linebacker T.J. Holloman, who took the Gamecocks over N.C. State and Louisville.
  • The slow start to the class of 2011 is ancient history for Penn State as the Nittany Lions have been racking up major commitments recently. The first of two this week was Westville (N.J.) defensive tackle Jamil Pollard, who accepted the Nittany Lions' offer over those from such heavyweights as Alabama and Florida and in-state Rutgers. But Joe Paterno and Co. landed an equally big prize Tuesday when five-star defensive tackle Jarron Jones of Rochester (N.Y.) also committed to PSU. Jones said he would take his allotment of official visits all the same, but if his commitment (and Pollard's) sticks, the Nittany Lions will be automatic entrants in the race for the best defensive line class of 2012.
  • Sophomores can't even receive written offers just yet, but Prattville (Ala.) offensive lineman Austin Gholson decided he didn't want to wait, committing to Florida State after a recent visit. Gholson is, not surprisingly, FSU's first commitment for the class of 2013 and is expected to be one of the top prospects in Alabama in his class.
  • Few Michigan State players in recent memory have made the impact of departed running back Javon Ringer, but that won't stop his nephew Kaleb Ringer from committing to Michigan on his birthday tomorrow. Kaleb is a linebacker prospect from Clayton (Ohio) with offers from Iowa, Louisville, and others as well as the Wolverines.
  • Injuries at summer combines are unfortunate enough, but a life-threatening head injury must be the worst-case scenario. Sadly, that's the scenario that played out for D.C. area receiver Lamont Baldwin, who suffered a fractured skull and severe concussion after a camp collision. A highly-sought after recruit with offers from ACC heavy-hitters like Miami and North Carolina, Baldwin is expected to recover within six months.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 1:39 pm
 

ACC Spring Game Watch (April 16)

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Saturday, nearly half of the ACC will wrap up their spring practice with an annual spring game. Some teams will engage in game-like scenarios in front of thousands of onlookers, while other teams will engage in a more “drill-centric” display for their eager fans. Regardless of the setup, there are always pertinent questions to be answered whenever a team takes the field competitively. Here are your things to watch in the ACC spring games on April 16.

Boston College - 1 p.m. Alumni Stadium
Judging by the statistics and observations from the last two scrimmages, new offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers has been dialing up the passing attack for all three of his quarterbacks. The play of Chase Rettig (the starter for now), Mike Marscovetra , and Dave Shinskie has been spotty; with different signal-callers shining at different times. Once the season has Montel Harris is expected to be the foundation of the Eagles’ offense, but the ACC’s second-leading rusher in 2010 has remained quiet this spring. Boston College’s spring game will be made up of situational drills, so it will be difficult to judge much from the play in the trenches. Keep an eye on the Boston College secondary, as the Eagles look to improve their passing defense that gave up over 226 yards per game a season ago.

UPDATE - We will be streaming the Boston College spring game LIVE.  You can watch it HERE on Saturday.

Florida State - 4 p.m. Doak Campbell Stadium
Despite all the hype and anticipation, head coach Jimbo Fisher has been frequently frustrated with Florida State’s effort and attention to detail during scrimmages. When asked about his thoughts on last Saturday’s scrimmage, Fisher felt the Seminoles still have “a long way to go." E.J. Manuel in a jersey will be nothing new for FSU fans, but it will be his first spring game after missing the last two due to injury. It will be intersting to see if the Seminoles tighten up on a bigger stage or continue the small mistakes that have been frustrating their coach. Also, this is the only ACC spring game receiving national coverage (ESPN3) so you might as well sneak a peek since you can.

Miami - 12:00 p.m. Lockhart Stadium
New head coach Al Golden has made it a point to change several aspects of Miami’s preparation since taking over back in December. On Saturday fans will get to see the results of Golden’s first offseason and spring practices. Golden has kept the depth chart in constant rotation since the beginning of spring practice, encouraging open competition at nearly every single position. Despite the exciting improvements on the defensive end, Hurricanes fans will likely have their eyes set on the skill positions in the backfield on Saturday. Miami boasts a loaded running back corps of Mike James , Storm Johnson , and Lamar Miller ; who should all receive significant opportunities on Saturday. Also, Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris will get to go head-to-head in the “fantasy-style” scrimmage between two rosters picked by fans. Miami held a charity auction for the right to pick the teams in the spring game, and two Miami alumnus made their selections earlier this week. With no first-team or second-team alignment, the game should be ripe for some outstanding plays on both sides of the ball.

N.C. State - 1 p.m. Carter-Finley Stadium
Head coach Tom O’Brien prefers to focus on improving as individuals during spring practice. Instead of focusing on elaborate scheme’s or sets, the Wolfpack have spent their spring workouts with a focus on fundamentals. With many key positions to fill, that makes Saturday’s spring game particularly interesting on an individual level. New starting quarterback Mike Glennon has shown his chops to the Wolfpack fans during spring games, but he will be throwing the ball to fresh crop of wide receivers. Also with Mustafa Greene undergoing foot surgery, Saturday should be an opportunity for the now-healthy Brandon Barnes to make an impression on the coaching staff. Also keep an eye on the secondary, where this staff is notorious for swapping personnel.

Wake Forest - 1 p.m. BB&T Field
Last season Wake Forest’s inexperience burned them on both sides of the ball. The good news for the Demon Deacons is that 17 of those starters will get a chance to prove themselves again in 2011. The number one thing to watch out of Winston-Salem will be signs of improvement from all the underclassmen. From quarterback Tanner Price to a (rising) sophomore-laden secondary, Wake needs to get better all over the field. With the coaching staff jumble sparked by Brad Lambert’s departure, look for more individual improvement as the team has yet to dive into much heavy scheming this spring.


Posted on: March 29, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 1:47 pm
 

N.C. State wants to remain one school Wolfpack

Posted by Tom Fornelli

As we've seen recently, universities aren't afraid to go after high schools for copyright infringement on their logos and other trademarks. It doesn't really seem fair for schools like Florida State to go after high schools, but it's the world we live in where college athletics equal big bucks, and merchandise sales certainly add to it. Further north in the ACC, N.C. State now finds itself in a similar situation, though it isn't going after a high school. No, N.C. State is going after a small university in Louisiana called Loyola.

It seems Loyola calls its sports teams the Wolfpack, and N.C. State wants to make sure that it is the only Wolfpack in the country.
The Jesuit school in Louisiana has called itself the Wolfpack for more than a half-century, but N.C. State says it owns the exclusive legal right to use the Wolfpack name and logo.
N.C. State Assistant General Counsel Shawn Troxler last month notified Loyola officials that their use of the Wolfpack image constitutes trademark infringement. Loyola's use of Wolfpack could lead to confusion and misunderstanding in the marketing-intense, big-money world of collegiate sports.
"People could think something is being sponsored by N.C. State," Troxler said Sunday. "We're in the beginning stages of discussion of how they could use the term 'Wolfpack.' "
N.C. State trademarked the name Wolfpack back in 1983, though Loyola has used the name since the 1930s. Though not trademarked, N.C. State didn't begin using the nickname until 1947. So I'm not sure how this will work in a courtroom, since I didn't study Mascot Law in college. What I do know is that N.C. State went through a similar case with Nevada, which ended up changing its name from Wolfpack to Wolf Pack. It's possible that Loyola may end up doing the same thing.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 9:20 am
 

Eye on Coaching: NC State's Tom O'Brien

Posted by Chip Patterson

In just his fourth year as the N.C. State head coach, Tom O'Brien delivered a 9-win season and brought the Wolfpack within a game of the ACC Championship. On Monday I got a chance to visit Coach O'Brien at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh to talk spring practice and the state of Wolfpack football.

CBSSports.com: Reflecting back on 2010, down the road what are some of the things that will stand out from last season?

Tom O'Brien: Well I think it was the first time we won here. We had all those injury problems the previous years, a depleted squad, and really never had a chance. We went into the year feeling we'd be very competitive. It was the first year we almost were all scholarship guys with no walk-on's in the two-deep. We got Nate Irving back, who did a great job for us, was our Most Valuable Player last year. Played one full-year finally in five years of play, it was kind of a snapshot of where had been in the previous three years. I think last year, as far as building a program and moving forward, was a huge step.

That fact that we won five conference games, that hadn't been done a lot here. Nine wins is the second-most in school history, and to be ranked in the Top 25 at the end of the year is really important to show where we can go with this program.

CBSSports.com: You mentioned moving forward, obviously one of the big topics of the spring has been moving forward at the quarterback position, with [Mike] Glennon. Fans got to see him last spring, in the spring practice and spring game, what are some things this spring that he's doing particularly well, and where do you think there is still room for growth?

TOB: Well I think he's better than he was a spring ago, and that's just a matter of experience of having played being through another season and going into another spring practice. The only thing I think he needs to do is get in a game and play. He needs game experience. He certainly has enough ability to be an all ACC caliber quarterback. He's just got to get there and get into game situations next year, experience those things. But, he certainly has enough talent to be a really good quarterback for us.

CBSSports.com: The rest of the team embracing him coming in and taking that role?

TOB: Oh certainly, you know he's been around. He's going into his fourth year of school, so he was part of the first real recruiting class we had here. Generally speaking, when you're in that situation those guys have bonded. They came in with a purpose to make the program different, to make the program better. They're all moving up, all those redshirt juniors now, and he's part of that group.

CBSSports.com: What about your philosophy of spring practice? It seems like you have a unique view compared to many other programs, you even said "spring practice is about getting better as individuals." Could you talk about your mentality?

TOB: Well that's what I learned from Coach Welsh, all those years. That was the focus all the time, starting in spring practice and heading into fall camp. As individuals improve, your football team will improve. We spent a lot of time on the basis of "football." Blocking, tackling, fundamentals, getting better as an individual; building and putting it all together.

There is no sense at this time worrying about a lot of X's and O's, I mean you have to do it so you can test what your people can do. We're more worried about getting better individually. As each position player gets better, then we you put it together your football team is better.

CBSSports.com: You'll get to face Coach London and Coach Spaziani this season, do you feel like you are building your own coaching tree?

TOB: You know I've never looked at it that way. I've been very fortunate to have great assistant coaches, and I've been fortunate to keep a lot of great assistant coaches. Certainly their ambitious is to be coordinators, then be head coaches. I'm very happy for them to have that opportunity. Maybe I can Golden in the championship game.

CBSSports.com: Here in Carter-Finley, the fan base has really embraced you in this program. You were 5-1 at home in 2010, with 7 games on the schedule in 2011. How important has this stadium become as a home field advantage?

TOB: No I think it's huge, we have tremendous fans. They love their football, they love their team. They show up as soon as the tailgate lots open, some of them before the tailgate lots open You know we had third largest crowd in history last year and set a single-season attendance record. I think it speaks volumes to their passion for the Wolfpack football team and I think our kids feed off that.

CBSSports.com: If you were to make your sell for Nate as a player in the NFL, what do you think about his game will best translate to the next level?

TOB: Well what I've been telling coaches is that he hasn't had a lot of hits on his body. He's only played one full year of football. On the previous four years he missed one year because of the accident, he missed one year because of injuries, the year before that we didn't know who or what he was as a redshirt freshman and didn't play him till the month of November when we changed the team around, and the year before that he was redshirted. So really his best days are ahead of him. He's really a smart football player, and he's an explosive football player, and somebody is going to get a really good player for many, many years in the NFL.

CBSSports.com: Is there anything from spring practice that has surprised you?

TOB: Not really, we are only into day five - with three in pads. We're trying to emphasize in team meetings this morning "the fundamentals." If you can't tackle you can't play defense, if you can't block you can't play offense. I mean it's pretty simple; let's go back to the fundamentals. The guys that can block and tackle the best are going to put themselves in position to get on the football field, and we're still searching.

That's why we have an Organizational Chart [instead of a depth chart], I don't care if you are playing offense or defense right now. If you're the best player and you stand out, we'll find a place for you - and we're still searching.

Click here to check out N.C. State's Spring Practice Primer


Posted on: February 22, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: February 22, 2011 2:54 pm
 

O'Cain takes over offense in Hokie shakeup

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Bryan Stinespring has been a Virginia Tech assistant for 18 years and has been Frank Beamer's offensive coordinator since 2002. If ever Beamer was going to change the latter arrangement, you'd have expected it to come following the 2007 and 2008 seasons, when Stinespring's attack finished 100th and 103rd in total offense, making him public coaching enemy No. 1 among Hokie fans.

But then Tech vaulted to No. 50 in 2009 and 42nd in 2010, and even those numbers don't do Stinespring justice; the Hokies finished 20th this past season in yards-per-play. The calls for Stinespring's job had gotten noticeably less audible. So he was safe for 2011 at least, right? Wrong :



That's Kyle Tucker of the Virginian-Pilot reporting that the Stinepsring era has officially ended in Blacksburg: he's been moved to position coaching with the tackles and tight ends, with Mike O'Cain taking over as the Hokie play-caller. (Curt Newsome will also move from coaching the entire offensive line to just the guards and centers, apparently.)

The news will likely be welcomed by Hokie fans on two fronts: not only is their object of coordinating scorn removed from the play-calling duties, but O'Cain seems like a quality replacement. The quarterbacks coach at Virginia Tech since 2006, O'Cain has several years of experience both as a head coach (at N.C. State) and an offensive coordinator (at Clemson). How much of an improvement he can make in the Hokie offense without the services of Tyrod Taylor remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely that he doesn't have the chops to better Stinespring's spotty record over the long haul.

The question remains, though: why now? Why throw this kind of curveball just when it seemed like Stinespring was getting his feet underneath him? The answer probably lies in the departures of Taylor and backfield mates Darren Evans and Ryan Williams; if Beamer wanted to make a change, starting over with a new quarterback and new running backs seems like a better time to do it than in the middle of Taylor's superstar tenure.

So Hokie fans finally get what they want in the coordinator's chair. Now we'll all see if they get what they want on the field.

UPDATE: Though it appears to be little more than semantics -- and the salary/prestige of the title involved -- multiple reports suggest that though O'Cain will definitely call plays for the Hokies in 2011, Stinespring may still retain his "offensive coordinator" title (even as he works prdominantly with the tackles and tight ends).


Posted on: February 3, 2011 12:30 pm
 

NC State doesn't expect Russell Wilson back

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that signing day is out of the way, coaches can begin turning their attention back to the 2011 season and getting their team ready for spring games in a few months. N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien is one of those coaches, and though he doesn't have any official word on the subject, he's preparing for 2011 as though he won't have quarterback Russell Wilson available to him.

"Our plans are he's not coming back," O'Brien told the Charlotte News & Observer. "He'll be a baseball player. We have to move forward with Glennon. We've planned for this day, and Michael's ready to do it."

Wilson was drafted in the fourth round by the Colorado Rockies last summer, and though he stuck around Raleigh to play with the Wolfpack this season, the general consensus is that when he joins Colorado for spring training later this month, he won't be coming back. Though O'Brien isn't completely ruling Wilson's return out, but made it clear that being a quarterback is a full-time job, and that if he's not available for the spring game, the odds will decrease dramatically.

"It [would] be a tough situation for him to come back and do it," O'Brien said. "We would have to see if that ever happens, but I don't foresee that happening down the road. Russell has never failed at anything he has ever attempted. He's going to try make the Colorado Rockies. That's where I see him."

If Wilson is indeed done at N.C. State, he's leaving the school ranked third all-time in total offense (9,268 yards), passing yards (8,545), and second in career touchdown passes (76).
Posted on: December 29, 2010 3:57 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Liberty Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The Basics: UCF (10-3) vs. Georgia (6-6), Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. EST.

Why You Should Watch: The SEC's bowl tie-ins give the non-AQ teams of the world just one shot at the nation's highest-profile conference, and this is it; the Liberty annually pairs one of the SEC's also-rans against the Conference USA champion. But even with the field seemingly as tilted in favor of the C-USA upset as it could possibly be, it hasn't happened yet, as the SEC has swept all four of the SEC-vs.-C-USA Liberty Bowls to date. UCF represents maybe the best chance for C-USA yet, as they have both the airtight defense (18th nationally) and offensive starpower (in freshman quarterbacking prodigy Jeff Godfrey) to give Georgia all they want.

Of course, the Dawgs have A.J. Green and Justin Houston and Aaron Murray and a whole bunch of other SEC athletes, not to mention a statistical profile much better than their 6-6 record. Last year's Liberty went into overtime, and on paper this one's evenly-matched enough to make it 2-for-2. For depth of talent on display and a well-balanced, competitive matchup, you're not going to do much better before New Year's than the Liberty.

Keys to Victory for UCF: Frankly, the Knights should come into this game the substantially more motivated team. They're coming off of a championship season, but one without a win over BCS competition (after close losses vs. N.C. State and at Kansas State); they couldn't ask for a more perfect finishing touch than beating a traditional SEC power for the program's first-ever bowl victory. That should give the Knights an emotional edge, one that could give them a fast start against a Bulldogs team that badly underachieved to land at 6-6 and no doubt had their sights set on a bowl destination more glamorous than Memphis.

If the Knights do come away with a halftime or three-quarters lead, Georgia will be in trouble. Godfrey was a revelation after taking over for the injured Rob Calabrese at midseason, finishing eighth in the country in passer rating with a sparkling 68.4 completion percentage and 9.8 yards-per-attempt average. He added 10 touchdowns and 546 yards on the ground for good measure, pacing the Knights to the kind of balance (2,502 rushing yards, 2,493 passing) and steady efficiency (fifth in the FBS in time-of-possession at 33:09 a game) that most teams can only talk about.

But as effective as the Knight offense was, it was the defense that did the heavy lifting, starting with a secondary that placed both corner Josh Robinson and safety Kemal Ishmael on the All-C-USA first team and finished in the national top 30 in opponent's passer rating, opponent's yards-per-attempt, and interceptions. But the Knights also have a pair of fearsome defensive ends in Bruce Miller and Darius Nall, who combined for 21 tackles-for-loss and 15.5 sacks to give UCF the nation's 10th-ranked rush defense. (Ishmael's team-leading 82 tackles helped, too.) The absence of a big-play passing game means they won't want to fall behind, but if the Knights can get out in front, their combination of sound defense and clock-killing offense will have them well-positioned for the victory.

Keys to Victory for Georgia: It's simple: if the Dawgs overcome their disappointment of a season and match UCF's levels of energy and focus, they win.

Because while UCF might have several awfully solid players, Georgia has several All-Americans. Houston led the SEC in sacks, finished second in tackles-for-loss, and was a finalist for multiple national awards; Murray might be the only freshman quarterback in the country to have had an even more impressive season than Godfrey, posting an incredible 24-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio; and Green might be the most purely talented college receiver since Larry Fitzgerald. And even aside from their headlining stars, Georgia can boast an offensive line packed with both experience and future NFL players like senior tackle Clint Boling; dangerous skill position weapons like tight end Orson Charles and running back Washaun Ealey; maybe the nation's best pair of specialists in punter Drew Butler and cannon-legged kicker Blair Walsh; kickoff returner Brandon Boykin, who's taken four kicks to the house the past two seasons; two steady senior linebackers in Akeem Dent and Darryl Gamble; etc.

All of that talent means it's something of a mystery how Georgia ever wound up at .500, though plain old bad luck in the form of poorly-timed fumbles and critical defensive breakdowns in close games -- the Dawgs went 0-3 in games decided by 7 points or fewer -- probably had something to do with it. Their average per-play margin of +1.2 (6.4 gained per snap, 5.2 allowed)
ranked first by a wide margin in the SEC East and fourth in the conference behind the leagues' two BCS teams and Alabama. In short, this is a team that's been much better than their place in the SEC standings (or their Liberty berth) would indicate, and if they play to that same standard, they should have enough to overpower the less-talented Knights.

The Liberty Bowl is like: That one sharp-witted, twinkly-eyed elderly gentleman in your neighborhood who you knew from church, or the diner down the street, or maybe just the rocking chair on his front porch, who told stories and though not all of them were classics, he always had one you'd never heard before and some of them stayed with you like Louisville beating Boise State 44-40 in 2004. The Liberty has been in business since 1959, making it one of the oldest pre-New Year's games, and though it's not the game it once was, UCF and Georgia promise to give it another memorable chapter in its distinguished history.


Posted on: December 28, 2010 11:12 am
 

Seems nobody wants to watch the ACC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Today is a good day to be a college football fan as we're all blessed with the chance to watch not just one, but two bowl games this evening, the first time we've had multiple games on the same day since the first three bowl games were played on December 18th.  The games provide a couple of decent matchups as well, as all four teams come from BCS conferences with West Virginia taking on N.C. State and Iowa facing Missouri.  Though if recent television ratings have taught us one thing, not many eyes will be on N.C. State and West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl.

The Wall Street Journal published a story on the top television draws in bowl games since 1998 based on how ratings performed against expectations. The usual suspects sit atop the list of teams who draw more viewers.  Teams like USC (+28.7%), Florida State (+22.6%), Notre Dame (+20.8%), Miami (+15.7%) and Michigan (+12%) all draw in more eyeballs than expected.  Of course, when you look at the bottom of the list, you find that outside of Florida State, not many people seem to care about ACC teams in bowl games.

Four of the bottom five teams are from the ACC, including N.C. State.  In dead last we have Virginia (-18.3%) followed by N.C. State (-17%), Georgia Tech (-14.7%), LSU (-8.9%) and Clemson (-7.9%).  As you can see, LSU is the only non-ACC team in the bottom five, and honestly, I'm a bit surprised to find them there.

You'll also notice that there are no SEC teams in the top five, so I guess everyone must hate the SEC too.  Or, you can explain it by the fact that the SEC tends to play in a lot of national championships and other BCS bowls, which are expected to get higher ratings and skew the numbers a bit.  Still, even if that's the case, feel free to use the "Nobody watches the SEC!" argument next time you're dealing with an SEC-homer.  They won't care, but you'll need as much ammo as you can get.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com