2007 NC State Preview

Posted Jul 22, 2007

Preview 2007 North Carolina State Wolfpack

NC State Wolfpack

Preview 20

By Michael Bradley & Pete Fiutak

- 2007 NC State Offense Preview | 2007 NC State Defense Preview
2007 NC State Depth Chart | 2006 CFN NC State Preview 

Money, facilities and a more lenient academic climate led Tom O’Brien to leave Boston College for Raleigh and the opportunity to lead a full-fledged, state-university program. It didn’t seem to matter that he was leaving one conference school for another. O’Brien was somewhat concerned about the ceiling at BC, and he knew there were no such limitations at North Carolina State.

Head coach: Tom O'Brien
1st year at NC State
11th year overall: 76-45
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 17, Def. 24, ST 0
Lettermen Lost: 15
Ten Best State Players
1. DT Demario Pressley, Sr.
2. WR/KR Darrell Blackman, Sr.
3. DE Martrel Brown, Sr.
4. RB Toney Baker, Jr.
5. RB Andre Brown, Jr.
6. WR John Dunlap, Sr.
7. SS DaJuan Morgan, Jr.
8. LB LeRue Rumph, Sr.
9. RB Jamelle Eugene, Soph.
10. G Curtis Crouch, Jr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

Sept. 1


Sept. 8

at Boston College

Sept. 15


Sept. 22


Sept. 29


Oct. 6

at Florida State

Oct. 20

at East Carolina

Oct. 27


Nov. 3

at Miami

Nov. 10

North Carolina

Nov. 17

at Wake Forest

Nov. 24


2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-6

2006 Record: 3
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 Appalachian St W 23-10
9/9 Akron L 20-17
9/16 at Southern Miss L 37-17
9/23 Boston College W 17-15
10/5 Florida State W 24-20
10/14 Wake Forest L 25-23
10/21 at Maryland L 26-20
10/28 at Virginia L 14-7
11/4 Georgia Tech L 31-23
11/11 at Clemson L 20-14
11/18 at North Carolina L 23-9
11/25 East Carolina L 21-16

Okay, so maybe there are a few impediments to a flight in the clouds. Like new North Carolina coach Butch Davis, who promises to lock down the Tar Heel State’s recruiting resources and give UNC a gridiron outfit about which the school’s hoop team can brag. Or the fact that N.C. State won just three games in ’06, a performance shoddy enough to earn Chuck Amato a pink slip. No matter. O’Brien wanted to move on to a school with excellent facilities and the opportunity to recruit any player interested in his program, and he has it in Raleigh.

In O’Brien, State gets a coach who built Boston College into a perennial bowl team, reached the post-season eight straight years, won seven consecutive bowl games and averaged 8.8 wins the past six years. In other words, his program was a model of consistency…the very thing lacking at N.C. State. The Wolfpack is getting a stern disciplinarian who won’t tolerate nonsense and will not be out-worked or out-prepared.

BC thrived on a sturdy defense and a productive, ground-first attack that didn’t overwhelm but certainly got the job done. O’Brien will be the first to tell you he’d have preferred to open things up a little more, but the skill-position talent wasn’t always on a par with what he wanted to do on offense.

Is there enough on hand to give O’Brien a chance to go beyond his BC levels? The early answer is no. State lacks playmaking wideouts, and has three quarterbacks (Daniel Evans, Harrison Beck and Justin Burke) who are still devloping. The defense has some potential, but it loses some key performers, most notably defensive tackle Tank Tyler and middle linebacker Pat Lowery.

The good news is that since N.C. State lost an astounding six games last year by seven or fewer points, the team shouldn’t be too far away from bowl contention. As for the rarified air of double-digit win totals, that’s going to take some time.

What to look for on offense: Since the quarterback situation is still up in the air, look for O’Brien and coordinator Dana Bible (no hero to many BC fans) to rely heavily on junior backs Andre Brown and Toney Baker, and to use many rollouts and bootlegs in the passing game. The running game will dominate the play calling early on.

What to look for on defense:
The Wolfpack wasn’t bad last year, allowing a respectable 317.2 yards/game. This should be a physical 4-3 outfit that limits big plays and keeps the pressure off its offense by rarely surrendering scads of points. It’ll be sound in all phases, and better at getting into the backfield.

This team will be much better if… it reverses its turnover margin. The Pack was minus-11 last year, a function of the quarterbacks’ mistakes and a defense that came up with only one takeaway per game. O’Brien teams thrive on other team’s errors, and on not screwing up. This one, in time, should be no different.

The Schedule: There's no reason to use the schedule as an excuse if the season is average. O'Brien has a few big landmines, but it's not that bad overall. The toughest ACC games are on the road, with a return to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College early, plus Florida State, Miami and Wake Forest later on. Games against Clemson and Louisville in late September will show just how quickly
the new coaching staff has been able to turn things around.

Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Darrell Blackman.  A home-run hitting threat from anywhere on the field, Blackman is a weapon as a runner, receiver and kick returner. On what should be a pounding offense, he'll need to be a bolt of lightning.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DT DeMario Pressley.  With Tank Tyler, John McCargo, Mario Williams and Manny Lawson in the pros, the time has arrived for Pressley to break through and make a national splash befitting his enormous talents.  He’s the NFL prototype at the position, with the size and strength to occupy multiple blockers and the agility to make stops far away from the trenches. 

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Daniel Evans. While Nebraska transfer Harrison Beck and redshirt freshman Justin Burke will each get long looks over the off-season, it’ll be up to Evans to make the offense sink or swim. O’Brien loves to rely on steady passers who don’t make mistakes, but Evans flies by the seat of his pants and does what he can to make things happen. His job will be to hit his third-down passes and keep the interceptions to a minimum.

The season will be a success if ... the Wolfpack gets to a bowl game. That might seem like a lock considering Tom O’Brien’s history, but nothing’s a lock when you have Boston College, Clemson, Louisville, Florida State and Miami on a schedule. The rest of the games are winnable, even though many are tough, so it could take two wins against the really big boys, and no slips against teams like East Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, to get a 13th game.

Key game: Sept. 8 at Boston College. If State wants to even dream about winning the Atlantic Division, it needs to come up with a win over O’Brien’s old crew. BC will certainly be fired up after losing last year’s game on a last-second bomb, but the Pack has to find a way to come up with the tough road victory with Clemson, Louisville and Florida State coming up after the breather against Wofford.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Fourth down conversions: Opponents 7 of 14 (50%); NC State 1 of 6 (33%)
- Average yards per pass: Opponents 7.4; NC State 5.8
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 57; NC State 22


Related Stories
2007 NC State Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 22, 2007
2007 NC State Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 22, 2007
2007 NC State Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 22, 2007

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > NC State
[View My HotList]