Friday, September 24, 2010

Bagels with Russell Wilson, and a 'huge' opportunity for State

If it’s Friday morning and you’re looking for N.C. State quarterback, where would you look? Bruegger’s bagels at North Hills, right?

Well, that’s correct. The Capital Sports Report was having a bagel and pondering the State-Georgia Tech game in a cozy corner of Bruegger’s when in walked Russell Wilson. Cool guy, by the way. If you’ve never met him, he’s much more muscular up close than you’d think, and just as well-spoken as on camera. Impressive guy.

So, on to Saturday. We expect Wilson to play well, but the difference in this game will be N.C. State’s defense.
State can score on Tech, just like North Carolina did. But Tech kills teams with big plays. The difference in that game in Chapel Hill was one Tech pitch to Orwin Smith that turned into a 73-yard touchdown. On that play, Smith burst through the left side quickly and Carolina’s inexperienced secondary was nowhere to close the gap.

State faces Georgia Tech with a defense featuring  similar personnel. Both State and Carolina have some talent, though inexperienced, on the defensive front backed by tremendous linebackers. But the secondary is more questionable, with UNC missing all four starters because of NCAA and academic issues and State having a young secondary.

The Wolfpack has two significant advantages going in. One is that it gets to look at vide of the UNC game and show its players where Carolina broke down. The other is the defense, with coordinator Mike Archer and new linebackers coach Jon Tenuta, has showed a knack for coming up with aggressive, but controlled, blitzes that snuff out offenses.

Asked about Tenuta, O’Brien said, “I think he’s contributed, how much I’m not sure. But certainly one of the things we talked about when I hired him was to help with our third-down defense. Our third-down defense is much better through first three games of the year.

“He’s helped us get off the field, which we had tremendous problems with a year ago.”

State allowed rivals to convert 42 percent of their third downs last year. This year, that number has dropped to 23.7 percent, by far the best number in the ACC.

O’Brien said State was running some blitz packages last year, but has been more successful this year in part because the defense is more familiar with it.

All that has put State in position to go 4-0 and win its ACC opener for the first time under O’Brien.

A win Saturday, O’Brien said, “I think it would be huge for this football team.”

No comments:

Post a Comment