NC State Wolfpack
2008 CFN NC State
2008 NC State Offense
2008 NC State
2008 NC State Depth Chart
2007 CFN NC State Preview |
Head coach: Tom O'Brien
2nd year: 5-7
12th year overall: 80-52
Off. 12, Def. 13, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 25
Best State Players
1. DE Willie Young, Jr.
2. DT Alan-Michael Cash, Jr.
3. RB Jamelle Eugene, Jr.
4. TE Anthony Hill, Sr.
5. RB Andre Brown, Sr.
6. WR Donald Bowens, Jr.
7. LB Nate Irving, Soph.
8. CB Jeremy Gray, Sr.
9. RB Toney Baker, Jr.
10. OG Curtis Crouch, Sr.
2008 Record: 0-0
Aug. 28 at South Carolina
Sept. 6 William & Mary
Sept. 13 at Clemson
Sept. 20 East Carolina
Sept. 27 South Florida
Oct. 4 Boston College
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 16 Florida State
Oct. 25 at Maryland
Nov. 1 OPEN DATE
Nov. 8 at Duke
Nov. 15 Wake Forest
Nov. 22 at North Carolina
Nov. 29 Miami
2007 Record: 5-7
Sept. 8 at
Boston Coll L 37-17
Clemson L 42-20
Louisville L 29-10
Florida State L 27-10
at East Carolina
Miami W 19-16 OT
Wake Forest L 38-18
Maryland L 37-0
With a rocky
first season now in the rear view mirror, head coach Tom O’Brien is
ready to enter the next phase of his rebuilding plan at NC State. While
the talent gap with the rest of the league persists, a lack of
familiarity with the coach and his expectations does not.
O’Brien spent much of his first season assessing the personnel he
inherited, breaking the players out of bad habits, and putting his stamp
of discipline on the program. Despite being saddled with a dearth of
top-end athletes across the board, even if there were some great ones
here and there to work around, several injuries, and a dismal
quarterback situation, the coach nearly guided his rag-tag bunch into
the postseason following a 1-5 start. A four-game winning streak wound
up being not quite enough to land a bonus game, but it did provide some
momentum for a wayward program that had lost 12 of its previous 13
To be a player in the ACC, NC State knows it
elevate the overall level of skill and talent, particularly under
center. It’s going to take time, meaning fans should be patient with
O’Brien’s blueprint for success at the school. Remember, Boston College
was in shambles when the coach arrived, but when he left, it was a model
of stability and success, especially in the postseason.
Even though patience might be preached, it might not be necessary. Few
coaches do more with less than O’Brien, and he has quickly changed
around the culture and the discipline of the program. While past Pack
teams could come up with a monster win here and there, and then choke
away the gimme, O’Brien should have his team going the other way,
beating everyone it should while hoping to steal a game or two against
the bigger boys.
With O’Brien’s style of coaching, and considering all the other good
programs in the conference, the program might not get the Mario
Williams-type of prospects on a regular basis like it did under Chuck
Amato, but that’s not a big deal. O’Brien will keep getting his guys,
and he’ll keep winning with them.
What to look for on offense: How quickly rookie Mike
Glennon can get up to speed. He’s only a freshman, but he’s also the
eventual savior for an offense that’s been pining for a big-time
quarterback since Philip Rivers graduated. Does he take over in 2009, or
can he actually overcome a huge disadvantage in experience to surpass
four middling veterans? While it’s unlikely Tom O’Brien will give him
the ball for the opener at South Carolina, don’t be shocked if the
Glennon era begins at some point early on.
What to look for on defense: The front four. To make progress on
defense, State needs to keep as many plays as possible from reaching a
suspect back seven. Fortunately, the defensive line has enough quality
to help out its brethren at linebacker and in the secondary. On the
outside, Willie Young has emerged as one of the ACC’s fiercest pass
rushers. On the inside, Alan-Michael Cash is a disruptive run defender
who gets penetration. End Markus Kuhn and tackle Antoine Holmes are
solid supporters, giving the Wolfpack a defensive line capable of
generating a push and limiting the time quarterbacks have to throw.
This team will be much better if… it avoids injuries. A year ago,
NC State was a weekly MASH unit, stifling O’Brien’s ability to develop
any continuity or chemistry within the two-deep. At most positions, the
Wolfpack simply doesn’t have enough depth to endure a repeat of 2007,
needing to stay healthy in order to use last
season as a stepping stone.
The Schedule: It's tough early, not that bad late. Going to South
Carolina and Clemson in the first two weeks is hardly a way to
boost the confidence of a still rebuilding team, and non-conference home
games against East Carolina and South Florida will be interesting, but
the season will be made or broken in a three-week midseason stretch
hosting Boston College and Florida State wrapped around an off-week. A
second half stretch of three road games in four would seem tough, but
the games are against Maryland, Duke and North Carolina along with a
week off to rest up.
Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Jamelle Eugene. At the beginning
of last season, Eugene was a third-stringer, a spare part in a loaded
Wolfpack backfield. By the end of last season, he was the program’s best
offensive weapon, leading the team in rushing and finishing second in
receptions. He topped 100 yards versus Florida State, Virginia, and
North Carolina, no small task considering the lack of support he got up
Best Defensive Player: Junior DE Willie Young. Everyone knew the
physical talent was there, but for Young, the light went on last year. A
physically gifted speed rusher with an explosive first step, he racked
up 48 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, six sacks, and 24 quarterback
hurries. If he continues to work on and off the field, a spot on the
All-ACC team awaits.
Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Daniel Evans.
Or whoever gets the ball from O’Brien. With Jamelle Eugene, Andre Brown,
and Toney Baker back in the fold, the running game should be so much
better than last year. Give them competent play behind center, however,
and they’ll be fantastic. The Pack needs balance and fewer mistakes at
quarterback to begin making strides on offense.
The season will be a success if ... the Pack reaches .500. There
are no delusions of grandeur here, as NC State attempts to create
momentum under O’Brien and his staff. A bowl game would be fantastic,
but not the only measure of success for the program. If the Pack can
improve on last year while being more competitive against the ACC’s
better schools, it’ll qualify as something to build on for 2009.
Key game: Sept. 20 vs. East Carolina. If the Wolfpack has any
hopes of copping a bowl bid, it can ill-afford a repeat of last season’s
1-5 start. With tough road games at South Carolina and Clemson in
September, the visit from the rival Pirates is a game the Pack has to
win. If it fails to hold serve, the season could start circling the
2007 Fun Stats:
- Average yards per carry: Opponents 4.3 – NC State 3.0
- Second quarter scoring: Opponents 125 – NC State 74
- Red zone scoring: Opponents 45 of 54 (83%) – NC State 29 of 41 (71%)