Posted on: February 3, 2011 12:30 pm
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: January 18, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: January 18, 2011 10:56 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. Florida State is an early favorite for 2011 - After dropping back-to-back games to North Carolina State and at home to North Carolina, Florida State looked like they had not completely shaken the consistency issues that have plagued the Seminoles in the last couple of seasons. In order to have a shot at the ACC title, Florida State would need to win out the final month of their ACC schedule. Not only did first-year coach Jimbo Fisher get his team to the ACC Championship Game, but they put up an impressive performance against Virginia Tech then followed it with a convincing win over South Carolina, the champions of the SEC East.
If one of the chief concerns for the Seminoles in 2011 is replacing Christian Ponder, then fans should feel very confident in their chances with E.J. Manuel at the helm. Manuel filled in for Ponder on three different occasions near the end of the season, culminating with his Chick Fil-A Bowl performance that helped seal the 26-17 win for Florida State. Additionally, all three of Florida State's top rushers (who combined collected 1,863 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns) are all returning next season. Florida State not only looks like an early ACC favorite, but perhaps a national favorite as well heading into the 2011 season.
2. If Russell Wilson is done, he went out in style - Russell Wilson was assumed to be as good as gone by many at the conclusion of the 2010 season. The junior quarterback has already been drafted by the Colorado Rockies, is engaged, and would be able to graduate in May if he chooses to do so. But after N.C. State's 23-7 victory over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl, Wilson hinted that he may have interest in playing football professionally as well.
"I want to be a starting quarterback in the NFL one day, and I want to be a starting second baseman in Major League Baseball one day," Wilson said to reporters after the game. "No matter what, I work my butt off every day to try to be the best and that's my mindset."
The January 15 deadline to declare for the NFL draft has come and gone, and if Wilson decides he wants to rejoin the Wolfpack after participating with the Rockies in Spring Training he will still have that option. Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker did the same thing heading into the 2010 season with the Tigers. However, if Wilson decides to join the Rockies and start cashing in on his baseball career, he will wrapped up his college football career with a nearly flawless 275 yard, 2 touchdown, 0 interception performance that earned him Champs Sports Bowl MVP honors.
3. Virginia Tech can't shake the big game curse - The Hokies have been incredibly dominant in the ACC since joining the conference in 2004, but they have struggled to match that superiority with big-time wins on the national level. Virginia Tech has won the conference title four times in the last seven years, and appeared in four of the six ACC Championship Games. But against teams ranked in the top 5 nationally, the Hokies are 1-27 all-time and 1-19 during Frank Beamer's tenure in Blacksburg. Many figured that the Orange Bowl would be a chance for the Hokies to shake the stigma of failing to perform against top teams, and at halftime it looked like they might have a chance to pull the upset.
But in the second half Andrew Luck picked apart Bud Foster's defense while Stanford held Tyrod Taylor and the Virginia Tech offense scoreless while the Cardinal ran away with the 40-12 victory. However, it is important that Hokies fans don't dwell on the failures against the top 5 heading into 2011. With the kind of turnover Virginia Tech is expecting on both sides of the ball, defending their conference title will be a difficult task on its own.
4. ACC Coastal dropped the ball - This is more of a season-long lesson, but the ACC Coastal continued to be the less impressive division through the end of the bowl season. In the preseason polls, there five ACC teams in the Top 25, with four highest ranked teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina) all coming from the Coastal Division. Not only did the balance of power appear to shift towards the Atlantic Division during the season, the bowl records from the postseason also indicate that the Atlantic may be the superior division.
Coastal teams went 1-3 during the postseason, with only North Carolina squeaking out their double overtime win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl. The Atlantic, on the other hand, saw Florida State, Maryland, and N.C. State all pick up impressive victories in their bowl games. With the talent that Florida State and Maryland are bringing back, it would be surprising to see the media side with a new division heading into the 2011 season.
5. Ralph Friedgen left Randy Edsall a winning squad - Friedgen had an emotion al final game as Maryland's head coach, as his team bludgeoned ECU 51-20 in the Military Bowl. The players dedicated the beatdown to their head coach on his way out, capping off an impressive finish to the season that saw the Terps climb one game away from an ACC Championship Game appearance. But the time has come and gone for Ralph Friedgen fans to be upset with his dismissal from Maryland. Former Connecticut coach Randy Edsall has been hired, and the Terps are moving forward. What Friedgen did leave was a young and talented Maryland squad that will be a real threat in 2010. Edsall was a safe hire for athletic director Kevin Anderson, and the former Huskies head coach brought in some firepower with offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.
The last couple seasons have not been pleasant for Crowton, catching the blame from LSU fans for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the SEC in 2009 and 2010. But he saw his most successful season in his first year with Matt Flynn under center, and Terps fans will hope that a talented quarterback like ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O'Brien will recreate that success of the 2007 LSU offense under Crowton's direction.
Tags: ACC, ACC Football, Andrew Luck, Christian Ponder, Clemson, Colorado Rockies, Danny O'Brien, EJ Manuel, Florida State, Frank Beamer, Gary Crowton, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech, Jimbo Fisher, Kyle Parker, NC State, NFL Draft, North Carolina, Ralph Friedgen, Randy Edsall, Russell Wilson, South Carolina, Stanford, Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech, What I Learned, What I Learned Bowl Edition
Posted on: December 31, 2010 5:54 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
South Florida weathered a late charge by Clemson to win, 31-26.
Offense: From a productivity standpoint, B.J. Daniels regressed substantially this year from his brilliant freshman campaign; his passing rating was down 20 points, and he rushed for over 500 fewer yards on the season. Not surprisingly, the Bulls' scoring dropped three points a game from last year. So it was nice to see Daniels put together a solid performance today, going 19-26 for two scores and rushing for another touchdown. At one point, Daniels completed 10 straight passes on the day. The running game was generally ineffective, with the Bulls' 38 rushes netting only 90 yards, but the ground attack helped open up passing lanes for Daniels. Grade: B
Defense: There might not be another team in the country that runs as many screens as Clemson, and to USF's credit, that screen game didn't exactly take off today. USF also swallowed up the run game, allowing just 50 yards on 27 carries. Of course, giving up 26 points isn't exactly a point of pride and there's no telling what would have happened if that last onside kick had gone another two feet before being recovered, but still. Grade: B
Coaching: There wasn't anything terribly special about Skip Holtz and his gameday coaching, which is really what fans should want to see: no surprises from the sideline. In that respect he did a good job, and the aforementioned defensive successes against the run and screen passing games indicate solid preparatory work coming into the game. Holtz probably needs to get his team's onside kick return game fixed, but he's got all offseason to work on that. Grade: A
Offense: It's hard to say whether South Florida or Clemson fans were more upset to see Kyle Parker leave the game with broken ribs; Parker's a fine quarterback who'll probably have a stellar career with the Colorado Rockies. He also single-handedly made his touchdown pass happen by scrambling away from pressure and finding his running back wide open on a check-down for the score. And yet, he also threw two picks and was brutally inconsistent. So was Tajh Boyd in relief, but at least Boyd threw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Still, Dabo Swinney needs to figure out a way to get Jamie Harper some help in the run game; he rushed for all of 34 yards today and really never got free. That can't happen in a big game. Grade: C
Defense: It's something of an oddity that Clemson gave up 31 points; the Tiger defense was fast enough to keep USF from turning the corner on the sidelines, as the Bulls tried routinely. And yet, when USF got down to it and threw the ball downfield or rushed between the tackles, it encountered little resistance. Clemson has got to tighten up on defense if it ever wants to make the leap. Grade: C-
Coaching: I was ready to praise Dabo Swinney at the half when he decided to go for it on 4th and 7 near midfield late in the half, and was rewarded with a big play and eventually a touchdown. He then kicked an extra point rather than trying to get the game to within three points at the break, which was also the right call. Those are decisions that coaches routinely screw up and Swinney got them right.
And yet, he also called two punts in the fourth quarter -- one on a 4th and 1, which, WHY?! -- and his decision to go for two on Clemson's first touchdown of the fourth quarter trying to get the Tigers to within 10 meant Clemson couldn't afford to kick a field goal for the rest of the game. Yes, Georgia would have eventually needed that conversion, but conversions should be delayed until necessary in order to keep as many scoring options on the table during a comeback. And last, kicker Richard Jackson is apparently Clemson's onside specialist, and he put up two absolutely beautiful onside kicks in the fourth quarter. And with a weapon like that on special teams, why not use him all the time? Serious question. If you can reliably recover half or even a third of your onside kicks, that is an absolute game-changer. Do something with it! Grade: C
Today's game was about what people should have expected coming in: a slapfight between two physically talented but inconsistent and untrustworthy teams. Nothing was particularly impressive about the game, short of Clemson's near-comeback thanks to Boyd and Jackson. In fact, I'm still bitter that Swinney doesn't use Jackson on every single kickoff. It's like playing make-it-take-it! C'mon, Clemson! Grade: B-
Posted on: December 13, 2010 1:18 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2010 1:20 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Sometimes college athletes surprise us, choosing to play football for tuition and a cafeteria meal card over baseball for gobs and gobs of money. Who at this time last year foresaw Kyle Parker turning down a multi-million dollar offer from the Colorado Rockies to quarterback Clemson for another year?
Of course, that Parker has struggled mightily through a massively disappointing season on both the individual and team levels shows the risk of the honorable approach, and why so few choose it. So it makes sense that N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien sounds already resigned to the Champs Sports Bowl being the last performance of QB Russell Wilson in a Wolfpack uniform:
Wilson, a junior, returned to the Wolfpack after playing pro baseball last summer in the Colorado Rockies organization. But O’Brien said next season will be a different situation.That's pretty much the situation in a nutshell, isn't it? "They have money. What do I have to offer?" A chance at getting the Wolfpack over the hump and into the ACC championship game and the joy of collegiate football camaraderie, but that's about it. Compared to the riches awaiting a prospect already taken in the MLB draft's fourth round (one also engaged and reportedly about to receive his degree) it might not amount to much.
To be fair, Wilson has stated he wants to play both football and baseball professionally, and another year at N.C State will likely do much to improve his NFL draft stock. But an injury might ruin his chances at both, for good. O'Brien probably knows what he's talking about.
HT: DocSat .
Posted on: November 2, 2010 11:15 am
Edited on: November 2, 2010 11:17 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Kyle Parker became the toast of Clemson, SC with his decision to return to the gridiron for one last season with the Tigers. The sophomore quarterback was drafted 26th overall by the Colorado Rockies this summer, but agreed to a contract that would allow him to play one more season of football at Clemson. Both Parker and head coach Dabo Swinney have maintained that the deal, worth $1.4 million, has had very little to do with any football decisions once Parker committed to the team in August. At the beginning of the season, there were the makings of a heroic final run for the baseball standout. Parker started the first three games tossing six touchdowns and just one interception, and had an impressive 220 yard performance in a 27-24 overtime loss to now top-ranked Auburn. In that game against the Tigers, Parker was beat up by Auburn's defense and sustained a rib injury. Since then it has been a different Parker under center. In the month of October, Parker threw just two touchdowns and five interceptions in five games.
After Saturday's 16-10 loss to Boston College, Swinney has begun to consider the future with his quarterback decisions in 2010. Backup quarterback Tajh Boyd told the Charleston Post and Courier on Monday that he has been told he will play on Saturday against N.C. State. Swinney met with the redshirt freshman for about 30 minutes on Monday, and while he did not promise any number of series or snaps, did tell Boyd to be ready to play against the Wolfpack. At this point in the week Parker is still the Tigers' starter under center, but with the nagging injuries and drop-off in performance it is not surprising to see Swinney start to look towards grooming the replacement for the baseball star.