20 September 2007


I figured I'd stretch out my success from my "Know Your Noles" bit to some other popular match ups this season... if you can call that a success (Hey, we won didn't we?). This week: the Textile Bowl. We hooked up with NC State's very own Section Six to give you regular Joes some insight on the Wolfpack. I won't lie to you, I didn't know that much about NC State this year. Check out our article on their site. That can be found here.

1) Whats more potent, your run game or your passing game... What makes it dangerous?

I wish I knew how to properly answer this question.

Statistically speaking, it's the passing game, but "potent" and "dangerous" are so not the right words to use here. The ground game has been completely useless against I-A opponents this season, though I feel a little better about what BC did to us after watching them shut down Tashard Choice. It's becoming more evident that they're very good up front. But we also couldn't get anything going against UCF, a team that had one of the worst defenses in the nation last year.

Without question, the offensive line is the weakest part of the entire team, and that's a big limiter despite the talent in the backfield.

Harrison Beck has been incredibly error-prone throwing the ball, but at least when he's under center I feel like the offense actually has a pulse, which is a refreshing departure from years past. When he plays patiently, he's very good, as he showed in the second half against UCF. Problem is, patience goes against his nature; he has a Rex Grossman-like "fuck it, I'm going deep" attitude and he'll force it at times (like, say, five times).

2)Year in and year out, your defense is stacked with future NFL bound players. Are you guys maintaining the status quo of producing Latimer-esque meatballs (think of the movie The Program)?

Beyond DeMario Pressley, who clearly has a future in the NFL (and is, naturally, injured at the moment), it's difficult to say. Most of the rest of the defensive regulars haven't got the established track record necessary to make an assessment.

3) Tom O'Brien is the new head coach of your team. What has he changed offensively that you like? Defensively?

The biggest thing he's done offensively is simplify. Marc Trestman's West Coast-y offense got off to a nice start in 2005, but we never seemed to run it smoothly, and we certainly didn't run it effectively. Dana Bible's offense, just as it was at Boston College, is far more traditional, and it isn't nearly as nuanced as the previous scheme--which is a good thing. The talk during the preseason was that we were going to lean more heavily on the running game than we had in 2006; circumstances, alas, haven't made that feasible. In addition to the ineffective run blocking we've gotten, we've fallen behind big in a couple of games and haven't had the opportunity to run as much as we'd like.

An offensive change that hasn't gone so well: shifting from a zone to man blocking scheme.

On the defensive side, the big change is a shift from Amato's attacking, whirling dervish press-man coverage defense to a more bend-don't-break zone coverage style. This is a welcome change, because while I'm all for an aggressive defense, I felt we played way too much man coverage under Amato. And so far, the returns are pretty good--Matt Ryan had his worst performance of the season against us, and the secondary is in general getting more hands on the ball. That hasn't translated into interceptions just yet, but in terms of limiting the opponent's passing game, the transition is going well.

Eventually, I think defensive coordinator Mike Archer would like to switch to the 3-4; we are not in a position to do that yet.

4) What's your biggest strengths offensively? Defensively?

The offensive strengths lie at the skill positions; even without Toney Baker, the backfield is excellent. You'll see Andre Brown, mostly, but there's also the speedy Jamelle Eugene. Receivers Darrell Blackman and John Dunlap, if not the stars we hoped they'd become, are reliable targets.

The defensive strength, maybe by default, would be the secondary. We're allowing more than 200 rushing yards a game, and the front seven has been banged up, so it's hard to point to anything there. The pass defense, meanwhile, has been stout (if not, BC game excepted, tested much to date).

5) Who stinks it up in the offensive huddle? Defensive huddle? (Really cutting edge questions, I know.)

There are five large fellows in the offensive huddle who aren't carrying their weight. Falling down on the job, you might say. Grounding the offense to a halt. Leaving us at a loss. Okay, I'll stop.

I'm not going to single anyone out defensively, because the only thing that's stunk has been our effort (which was corrected after week one). We haven't effectively pressured opposing quarterbacks, nor have we stopped the run, but that's on the unit as a whole.

6) Pissing in the stands? Throwing away liquor bottles in the toilets? Where do you guys drop rope?

Have you seen us play the last few years? We crap on the field.

Actual photograph inside the restroom at an NC State game... I shit you not. (I had to, sorry.)