Sunday, August 1, 2010
ACC 2010-North Carolina State Wolfpack
North Carolina State Wolfpack
2009 Record: 5-7 (2-6)
Head Coach: Tom O'Brien (16-21 4th season, 91-66 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dana Bible (4th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Archer (4th season)
2009 Bowl Game: None
Offense: QB is certainly not a problem position at NC State. Russell Wilson passed for 3287 yards (3rd highest total in NCSU history) and 31 TDs (4th nationally). He spent the entire spring playing baseball, which opened up some reps for Mike Glennon. Should Wilson go down to injury, the Pack won't die with him. RB is a bigger question coming into fall ball, as Curtis Underwood, who was supposed to win the job, got hurt. His backup on the depth chart, Brandon Barnes, also got hurt. He busted up his ankle, and because of surgery, may not be ready to start the season. UNderwood should be ready, but James Washington and Travis Leggett (a walk on freshman) will push for playing time. Two of the three starting WR spots seem locked up, as Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer both return from last season, giving Wilson two experienced targets. They combined to catch 17 TDs and piled up 1312 yards receiving in 2009. George Bryan was slated to be the top TE, but was arrested in the offseason, and looks to be off of the team, leaving that slot open. Bryan was second on the team in receptions last season. There are real issues on the O-Line. Only two starters return from a year ago, which will make some problems for a potentially inexpereinced RB corps, and also for QB Wilson as he needs to get time in the pocket to unleash the rocket.
Defense: While the offense has the potential to be somewhat explosive, the defense has the potential to allow opponent offenses to be the same. Only 4 starters return on a defense that allowed 27 points or more in 8 games in 2009. LB Nate Irving injured himself in a car wreck a year ago, and hwile a lot of people blame the defensive woes on his loss last year, one has to wonder what happened to the rest of the guys? Irving returns this season, and will join Audie Cole and Dwayne Maddox at the LB spots.The secondary brings the other two returning starters. CB CJ Wilson and FS Brandon Bishop come back after starting as freshmen. The two new starters, CB Rashard Smith and SS Earl Wulff, are both sophomores as well. I would not be very comfortable with 4 sophomores starting in my backfield, especially considering that all four D-Linemen will be new starters in 2010. There are three seniors in that group, led by David Akinnyi, who transferred from Northeastern after the Huskies dropped their program after last season.
Special Teams: Josh Czajkowski will return to his PK spot as a senior. He is 4 PATs shy from converting on 76 consecutive, which would tie a school record. The punting duties will be handed off to redshirt freshman Chris Ward, and he has a spring behind him as the starter. TJ Graham will handle the return duties, and he is one of the best in the ACC at that spot.
Wins: 9/4 Western Carolina, 10/16 @ East Carolina, 11/13 Wake Forest, 11/27 @ Maryland
Toss Up Games: 9/11 @ Central Florida, 10/28 Florida State 11/6 @ Clemson, 11/20 @ North Carolina
Losses: 9/16 Cincinnati, 9/25 @ Georgia Tech, 10/2 Virginia Tech, 10/9 Boston College
This schedule is not built for success. The losses can all be construed as automatic, leaving only 8 chances for victory. The Pack will have to win 2 of the 4 toss games to be bowl eligible, and while it is possible, I wouldn't call it likely. I see a potential 1-3 run against that group, but not even the game against UCF is a given. 5 wins looks realistic again.
Outlook: Oh boy...this can get sloppy. O'Brien has not exactly caught the world on fire since his mercenary like departure from Boston College. The grass was supposed to be greener in Raleigh than at the Heights, and ever since he has been gone, BC has been better than they were when he was there. I don't see improvement with this roster, even though Wilson is a star QB., and O'Brien should feel some heat after this season.