J.P. Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer was kind enough to answer a few questions about N.C. State. Some good stuff in here; you should definitely give it a read. You can read his work on the News & Observer blog and you can follow him on Twitter. I am going to try to get something up in the afternoon with a few points about the game. Thanks for reading.
1) Is the N.C. State running game really that bad?
They miss Mustafa Greene, who hurt his foot in spring practice, and hasn’t played yet. James Washington is undersized and Curtis Underwood fumbles too much. Just by the eye test, I’d say redshirt freshman Tony Creecy is the best athlete of the group but the coaches haven’t given him much of a chance yet, either because of a lingering foot injury or his inability to grasp the playbook. I think Creecy will get a look with Underwood out with a knee injury.
2) Coaches at Tech have been talking about the challenge of defending Mike Glennon and his rocket arm. Do they have reason to be so concerned?
Glennon is good and he has been able to make big plays with receivers T.J. Graham and Tobais Palmer. Glennon obviously not Russell Wilson, though, so the protection in front of him has been an issue (see: putrid running game) as has been his ability to use the whole field, and not just hit home runs (five of his 10 touchdown passes have been 60 yards or longer).
3) Who’s a player with an interesting background or story?
Graham’s dad, Trevor, was at the center of the BALCO scandal with Marion Jones and other defrocked track stars.
Glennon’s brother Sean was a punching bag for the Virginia Tech fan base, despite being a productive player.
Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn and kicker Niklas Sade were both born in Germany.
4) There were high hopes for this team in August. What’s happened since then, and can the season be saved?
The injuries, particularly to Greene and defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy, have crippled them. The healthy defenders have been terrible, out of position or both. A pair of I-A teams they beat last year, 30-19 (Cincinnati) and 38-3 (Wake Forest), have beaten them 44-14 and 34-27 this year.
There are eight games left and Tom O’Brien has turned them around from worse before, but if you look at the schedule, there aren’t many obvious wins (Central Michigan is about it) out there. It would take a team-wide epiphany to get to seven wins and another bowl game.
5) How would you assess Tom O’Brien’s job security?
Pretty good, not great, but not DefCon2, either. O’Brien went 9-4 last season, which is actually tied for the second-most wins in school history, and the team ended up in the AP rankings for the first time since Philip Rivers‘ junior year, so he does have some margin of error. He also has another four years on his contract. The school just bought out the basketball coach (who’s on the books for another two years) and is still paying the former AD, so financially, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to make a change after one bad season.
6) Where should Tech fans in town for the game go to eat?
There’s no equivalent of the Varsity in Raleigh but near campus, Mitch’s and Porter’s are both good (and vastly different) spots and downtown you can’t go wrong with the Raleigh Times (good beer) or Tobacco Road Sports Cafe (will have all the games on TV).
You should definitely read Michael Cunningham’s story on Tyler Melton.
N.C. State defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy, who has yet to play this season, is listed as questionable in a hopeful development for the dinged-up Wolfpack in a News & Observer report from J.P. Giglio himself.
It would have been better had I posted this Thursday afternoon, but, still, an update from Michael Carvell on Tech prospect Josh Manley of Milton High, who gives an admirable reason for why he hasn’t been able to make a visit to a game at Bobby Dodd Stadium.