Our thanks to Section Six for answers to questions that Nole fans want to know about this years N.C. State team.
Why is State's run game underperforming this year, what with studs like Andre Brown and Toney Baker?
Andre has been fine, actually, (4.3 yards/carry) but circumstances have conspired to keep the ball out of his hands. (We really need to cut this falling-way-behind thing out.) Toney, unfortunately, is done for the season.
More generally, it's the same crap, different season, with an unreliable and increasingly banged up offensive line being the main problem. We're
utilizing a spread offense to try to keep teams from stacking the box, but that has allowed for limited improvement at best.
Has N.C. State's offense turned the corner after a good showing by QB Russell Wilson in the B.C. game?
To say they've turned a corner would be generous, but I think that as long as Russell Wilson stays healthy, we're going to see the offense move in the right direction (which is forward. They forget this sometimes).
I've been impressed with Wilson's decision making skills in the pocket; he'll throw the ball away rather than force it, and he makes good things happen with his legs while managing not to rely on that part of his game more than he should. He knows we aren't good enough to afford much risk, and that's an encouragingsign, especially from a redshirt freshman. Seems a simple lesson, but it's one that Harrison Beck will never learn. Wilson's been a smart player from the get-go, and it's only in the last couple of games that he's started to match that intelligence with efficiency. I like where that trend is going.
You've said it's time for N.C. State to start mixing up defensive schemes. What've they been doing wrong, and what do you think they should do?
After going back and reviewing some things, we've been mixing it up more than I gave us credit for (turns out that intoxication makes it harder to catch the game's finer points); if anything, a little more man-to-man might be worth a try, but considering our personnel limitations, that probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference, and it presents a whole different set of problems. We gave South Florida and Boston College a number of different looks--the base 4-3, the 4-2-5, the 3-3-5--mostly to no avail. We haven't gotten much pressure on the quarterback since Alan-Michael Cash (DT) got hurt, and the defense's back seven just isn't equipped for even a modest amount of success under those circumstances. Some would suggest that we blitz more, but I suspect that they simply don't notice when we do blitz because those blitzes aren't working.
Nate Irving (LB) has probably left the most glaring hole in the defense, as we've not come close to replacing his knack for making plays.
Over the last couple of weeks, we've seen teams spread it out and throw the ball with great success; those teams knew their quarterbacks would have time in the pocket, and they knew an Irving-less linebacking corps was an easy target. The result has been a disaster for the Wolfpack.
Is the Pack getting back any key players from injury?
It's been rumored that the aforementioned Irving and Cash could be ready for Thursday, although neither was on the depth chart released last week. I'm not holding my breath.
Will State fans stick it to Amato Thursday, or are they over it?
We're over it, not that there was a lot of ill will over the split to begin with. We ended the relationship, after all.