Monday, October 17, 2005

Wolfpack prepares for a trip to Winston-Salem

It's a break-slightly-less or break game for the Pack. If we hope to entertain any thoughts of a crappy bowl, we have to beat the Deacs. A couple of weeks ago I felt like NC State should definitely win this game, but now I'm feeling more like we'll be lucky to do so. Since Jim Grobe replaced QB Ben Mauk with Cory Randolph, Wake has played much better; they've actually looked like a Grobe-coached team.

NC State, on the other hand, is clearly trending in the other direction:

Wolfpack 2005
vs. Virginia Techvs. E. Kentuckyvs. UNC-CHvs. Georgia Techvs. Clemson
Yards Gained438475270286267
Yards Allowed232228321443489

The offense is in a terrible funk right now, and the defense has been sliding for several weeks. I think the yardage given up to GT is because of the discrepancy in the number of plays run by each team (50+ by NCSU, 90+ by GT) more than anything else. They were worn out by the 4th quarter (meaning I'm willing to give them a pass). The performance against Clemson was simply a pathetic effort.

Where is the team that played Virginia Tech?! Despite their faults, those guys had promise.

The rankings continue to slip along with the team: NC State ranks 78th in total offense and 40th (yikes) in total defense.

But the Wolfpack does lead the nation in yards per kickoff return, so that's something.

After the loss on Thursday, people couldn't wait to start pointing fingers. Fire Chuck. Fire the offensive coordinator. Fire the defensive coordinator. Bench Jay Davis. Fire Herb.

And as is often the case in tough times, rumors about internal unrest are starting. Amato's lost the players, the players don't care any more, etc.

I try to remind myself that things are never as bad as they seem. Don't get me wrong--things are bad right now. But suggestions of player mutiny are almost certainly false. Just typical, baseless "the sky is falling!" talk. It's a bit early for that, if you ask me.

Even as I try to calm my own fears, I have to admit that Thursday's loss was disturbing in more than one way. Charlie Whitehurst regarding State's defense:

"They really weren't a factor," Clemson senior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said of the N.C. State defensive line. "They really weren't. I'm amazed, because they are such great players."

Poor scheme/gameplan? Lack of effort (My sense from the game, though admittedly it's unprovable; I could be in denial.)?
"Up and at them?"

Essentially, we have no freakin' idea what is going to happen against Wake Forest. Will the guys play hard and play confidently? How will they react to falling behind? Shrug.

This is probably the least optimistic I've ever been preceding a football game against Wake Forest, which doesn't speak too highly for our current state of affairs. I am hopeful, though.

Ever the sucker, I'm even planning on being in attendance.