2008 NC State Wolfpack Football Preview
2007 Record: (5-7, 3-5 ACC)
2007 Bowl: none
Coach: Tom O’Brien (5-7 at North Carolina State, 80-52 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dana Bible
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Archer
Returning Leaders for NC State:
Other Key North Carolina State Returnees: G Curtis Crouch, OT Meares Green, CB DeAndre Morgan, OT Julian Williams
Key Losses for North Carolina State: WR Darrell Blackman, DE Martrel Brown, WR John Dunlap, LB Ernest Jones, LB James Martin, S DaJuan Morgan, DT DeMario Pressley, LB Lerue Rumph, S Miguel Scott, TE Marcus Stone
Last year North Carolina State had one of the worst rushing offenses in the nation and one of the worst rushing defenses. Fixing the running game on both sides of the ball is a major priority for Coach Tom O’Brien, but so is finding a quarterback, replacing safety DaJuan Morgan and finding an entirely new group of linebackers.
NC State's Strengths:
Luckily, one of those issues will take care of itself. Jamelle Eugene is back after rushing for a team high 667 yards last season, but more importantly so are Andre Brown and Toney Baker after missing much of last season with injuries. Add sophomore Curtis Underwood to that list and the Wolfpack suddenly have four quality runners. However, it was not the running backs fault that the team could not run last year. It was the offensive line. The line does return Curtis Crouch and Julian Williams, but that does not mean too much. In an effort to at least bolster the depth of the o-line, John Bedics and Ted Larsen will move over from the defensive line, but the unit will have to make drastic improvements if the team’s best strength at running back is going to be utilized.
North Carolina State's Weaknesses:
At least the front four returns some experienced players. Tackle Alan-Michael Cash and end Willie Young were both starters last year. Senior Antoine Holmes and transfer Keith Willis, Jr. are experienced players who will fill in at tackle and Markus Kuhn earned freshman All-America honors last year and could be starting at the other end spot this season after starting out his young career at tackle. The group might not sound as impressive as last year’s, but there is nowhere to go but up as far as stopping the run is concerned. The biggest problem might be at linebacker where NC State lost all three starters. Nate Irving is the only experienced linebacker on the team and upperclassmen like Ray Michel and Robbie Leonard will have to step up.
The Bottom Line for the Wolfpack:
The good news is that Coach O’Brien will have this program turned around soon. The bad news is that soon does not mean 2008. There are just so many holes to fill and none are more important than at quarterback. Daniel Evans took a majority of the snaps last year, but his 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions did not endear him to anybody. Harrison Beck is in the mix, but he threw nine picks and just two touchdowns last season. Justin Burke, Russell Wilson and incoming freshman Mike Glennon are not giving up either. Through the spring, in which Evans was injured and Glennon was not yet on campus, nobody really rose to the top of the pack.
2007 NC State Wolfpack Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 89.25 (110th in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 245.67 (44, 2)
Total Offense: 334.92 (98, 7)
Scoring Offense: 20.75 (99, 10)
Rushing Defense: 186.42 (91, 12)
Pass Defense: 207.50 (28, 3)
Total Defense: 393.92 (66, 11)
Scoring Defense: 28.25 (65, 11)
Turnover Margin: -1.33 (116, 12)
Sacks: 2.25 (45, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 2.33 (79, 6)
By Joel Welser
Check out all of the 2008 college football previews online through College Sports Fans.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.