2010 Record: (9-4, 5-3 in ACC)
Head Coach: Tom O'Brien (25-25 at NCSU, 100-70 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 2010 Champs Sports Bowl (beat West Virginia 23-7)
CFBZ NC State Links
9/10: at Wake Forest
9/17: South Alabama (2010 result: won 21-16)
9/22: at Cincinnati
10/1: Georgia Tech (2010 result: won 23-13)
10/8: Central Michigan (2010 result: won 16-10)
10/22: at Virginia (2010 result: lost 19-0)
10/29: at FSU (2010 result: lost 24-21)
11/5: UNC (2010 result: won 24-19)
11/12: at Boston College (2010 result: lost 44-17)
11/19: Clemson (2010 result: lost 31-13)
2010 Offensive Statistics:
Scoring: 31.8 ppg (3rd in ACC, 32nd in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 122.31 yds/game (11th in ACC, 95th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 281.2 yds/game (1st in ACC, 18th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 403.5 yds/game (4th in ACC, 39th in Nation)
2010 Defensive Statistics:
Scoring: 21.3 ppg (6th in ACC, 29th in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 114.31 yds/game (2nd in ACC, 14th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 225.1 yds/game (8th in ACC, 72nd in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 339.4 yds/game (5th in ACC, 31st in Nation)
2010 Misc Stats:
Turnover Margin: +0.27 per game (4th in ACC, 22nd in Nation)
Penalties: 35.4 yds/game (1st in ACC, 4th in Nation)
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
Passing: QB Mike Glennon, Jr (9 of 13 for 78 yds)
Rushing: RB Mustafa Greene, Soph (134 for 597 yds, 4 TD)
Receiving: TE George Bryan, Sr (35 rec for 369 yds, 3 TD)
Tackles: SS Earl Wolf, Jr (95)
Sacks: DT JR Sweezy, Sr (5.5)
Interceptions: FS Brandan Bishop, Jr (4)
Athlon Sports: Belk (vs Pitt)
Phil Steele: Belk (vs West Virginia)
After four consecutive losing seasons, the Wolfpack made great strides last year improving from 5-7 to 9-4. They had some great wins last year over West Virginia, FSU, and UNC and they had some games that they would like to have back (ECU, Clemson, Maryland). One thing that impressed me about the Wolfpack last year is that they were in every game (their biggest losing margin was 11 points against Virginia Tech). This year coach Tom O'Brien has bid adieu to starting QB Russell Wilson. O'Brien had grown tired of Wilson's minor league baseball career and has turned the offense over to junior Mike Glennon. How good the Wolfpack are this year could ride on the shoulders of their new young QB. The ACC Atlantic should be very interesting this year. Florida State is everybody's darling this season but the three teams right behind them (NCSU, BC and Clemson) all have enough talent to compete for the Atlantic division crown. This should be a very interesting year for the Wolfpack as they try for their first back-to-back winning seasons since the 2002/2003 seasons and they try to improve on their 9 wins last season (which was the most since they went 11-3 in 2002). We caught up with the NC State blog Riddick & Reynolds to gain some insight on the 2011 North Carolina State Wolfpack. Make sure you follow them on Twitter @RnR_NCSU.
In our 2010 Season Exit Survey you said that the player you were most excited about watching this year was Mike Glennon. Now that Russell Wilson is gone and Glennon is clearly the choice tell us a little about what he brings to the Wolfpack offense.
It's tough to imagine finding a more different style of quarterback to replace Russell Wilson than what you find in Mike Glennon. Where Wilson was a barely-six-foot speedster who could make plays with his feet outside of the pocket, Glennon is a towering pure pocket passer. He has a very strong arm and the height to see over his linemen, and is one of the highest-rated quarterback prospects State has ever signed.
The big question is, after waiting patiently three years for the chance to show his stuff, can he live up to all the expectations? I think Tom O'Brien made the move to name Glennon the 2011 starter prior to spring practice to ensure every possible moment of the offseason was utilized gelling the wide receivers and Glennon as a unit as quickly as possible. The spring game performance of the first-string passing attack was less than stellar, hinting at just how much work O'Brien knew lies ahead of this crew before the first game arrives.
My guess is once Glennon settles down and develops a rhythm with his receivers, he'll be a very capable signal caller. Hopefully that time comes closer to game one than game 12.
An opportunity you noted when we last talked was the defensive backfield. Who needs to step up this year to improve this area of the defense?
The 2010 season actually restored a lot of Pack fans' hope in our defensive backfield. The prior season had been more or less a disaster defensively, so expectations for the DBs in 2010 were minimal given so many of the same players returned. But the extra year of experience and the more aggressive scheme of the defensive front seven (under the leadership of linebacking guru Jon Tenuta) saw the DBs take a big leap in effectiveness from their 2009 woes.
As a true freshman in 2010, David Amerson might've been redshirted but he showed too much talent to keep on the sidelines. Guys like Earl Wolff and C.J. Wilson began to consistently make big plays when they mattered. I expect all three to have an impact again this year, and keep an eye on Jarvis Byrd--an extremely talented corner who suffered an ACL tear in 2009 and missed the 2010 season rehabbing the injury. If he's back close to 100%, he could vie for major reps and help comprise one of the more experienced defensive backfields State's had in some time.
The key to their success will once again be the play of the front seven. If Tenuta can continue to keep offensive lines guessing and get Audi Cole to replace a portion of the playmaking ability Nate Irving flashed at the middle linebacker position, opposing quarterbacks should continue to have little time to operate, making the backfield's job that much easier.
Who are some newcomers that can come in and make an instant impact for the Wolfpack?
The 2011 recruiting class didn't contain many stars, but I can say with great certainty that three of the signees will be very significant contributors at their positions: placekicker Niklas Sade, punter Wil Baumann and longsnapper Scott Thompson. That's right, State's ENTIRE kicking team is comprised of true freshmen. All three signees are extremely talented, and both kickers are in the tops of the rankings at their positions, but to say I'm nervous about placing the success or failure of our kicking game into the hands and feet of three true freshmen is an understatement.
I expect most of the class to redshirt this season as they begin growing into players capable of challenging for playing time down the road.
Going into the fall what are the biggest question marks left for the Wolfpack to address?
I think the biggest question mark is can State transition from a pass-happy spread offense to more of a traditional pro-style, run-first offensive unit. If State can establish a consistent, effective running attack led by a talented sophomore in Mustafa Greene running behind a veteran offensive line, that should do wonders for this team and, more specifically, for Glennon. I think O'Brien would prefer to pound teams up the gut than sling the ball all over the yard, and with a receiving corps missing two of its biggest threats from last season (Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams), it makes more sense to lean on the ground game if it's effective.
What do you see as the most pivotal games on the schedule?
I think the Wake Forest game in week #2 could have huge ramifications should State lose it. The front half of the schedule is fairly weak and provides Glennon a decent margin for error to get his legs under him before the season progresses into the more difficult latter stages. But State's had poor luck in Winston-Salem in recent memory (the Pack haven't won at Wake Forest since 2001, Philip Rivers' sophomore season), and I think Jim Grobe's too good of a coach to expect the Deacons will have back-to-back down years. Losing the first conference game of the year--against what is assumed to be a weaker divisional foe, no less--could be damaging to the team's psyche as it adjusts to the post-Wilson era.
What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
I could make a case for State winning anywhere from 7-10 games, given the relatively weak schedule overall and based on the fact three of our tougher games will be played at home at the end of the year (UNC, Clemson, Maryland). I would say the only sure loss on the schedule would be Florida State in Tallahassee, and if you can only pick out one game you don't feel good at all about winning when looking at the schedule, that's not bad. If I have to pick a record, put me down for 8-4, finishing second or third in the Atlantic Division behind FSU. If we can achieve that, hopefully extending our winning streak against the Tar Heels in the process en route to a decent bowl berth, that'll make me happy.
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