Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Talking Georgia Tech With Ramblin' Racket

While preparing myself for perhaps the final nail in 2006's coffin, I took a break from drinking long enough to ask Jeff from Ramblin' Racket some Tech-related questions; his answers are below. You can find my responses to Jeff's questions about the Wolfpack here.

1.) With the exception of the Clemson game, Tech's run defense has been stout. Is there anything that NC State can take away from what Clemson did?

Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, the biggest thing Clemson did to Tech was recruit James Davis and C.J. Spiller, whom I still consider superhuman despite VT shutting them down. As far as gameplan, Clemson ran RIGHT AT the Jackets. Blitzing is the ultimate risk-reward technique on defense, and Georgia Tech blitzes as often as anybody. Therefore, Clemson utilized their power running attack to bowl straight into and straight through Tech's line and linebackers. Whether Andre Brown and Toney Baker have the power and moves to domionate similarly, I don't know.

2.) In terms of total offense, Georgia Tech is ranked nationally just about where it was last season. Are you surprised that Tech's offense hasn't been better this season?

I wouldn't go as far as saying we aren't better. Tashard Choice has already more than doubled PJ Daniels's rushing TD total last season (seven versus three), and the team has already had more receiving TDs than last year's total (13 versus 12). So, our offensive yards may be comparable to last year, but we've done a lot more with those yards this year than last.

Patrick Nix (GT's offensive coordinator) is running the whole offense for the first time this year, with Chan Gailey handing over the reigns. Nix is way more willing than Gailey was to design schemes for his players, rather than expect the players to adapt to his system... that works in the NFL, but not in college where players have no more than four years in the system. And Nix's schemes are working pretty well so far.

3.) What's been Tech's biggest problem spot on the defensive side of the ball?

Before the Clemson game, I would not have known what to say. But, as I said earlier, Clemson just bowled over us with the run.

Lack of depth is also a problem. We sucked at preventing third down conversions in the Miami game, and I blame a lot of that on the D getting tired. Many many times, Miami would be at third and nine or worse, and somehow convert. If State can keep GT's defense on the field, that would be huge for the Wolfpack.

4.) Reggie Ball seems to have had a rough go of it the last two weeks. Are you worried about how he'll play in Raleigh?

A bit. Much of his (current) troubles stem from a leg injury sustained in the Maryland game. At Clemson, Reggie looked like utter crap, and never had the composure a senior quarterback should. Against Miami, things picked up a little, but Reggie still threw off the wrong foot a few times, not from lack of fundamentals I think, but rather from favoring the non-injured leg.

To me, the big question is just how well his leg has healed before the Jackets visit Raleigh.

5.) One thing that caught my eye was that the two Johnsons appear to be the only guys catching passes with regularity. Chris Dunlap is third on the team with six receptions. What's the deal? Do the Jackets have depth problems at receiver?

I *would* say yes, except that with a player like Calvin, a solid number two is all you need to avoid "depth problems." Honestly, yes we have a bit of a depth problem, but not a lot. The other receivers suffer because CJ is so good and we're so quick to throw to him (except against Clemson). Last weekend in the Miami game, we threw a few passes to our fullback and tight end, which adds a solid wrinkle to the offense and takes a little attention away from the WRs. For YEARS I have complained about the Jackets never throwing to tight ends. (I also wish we'd run the fullback occasionally, but that's basically irrelevant.)

BlogPoll Ballot -- Week 10

Last week's ballot is located here.

1Ohio State--
3Florida 3
6Texas 1
7Southern Cal 4
8West Virginia 1
9California 1
10Louisville 1
11Notre Dame 1
12LSU 1
13Boston College 1
14Clemson 6
19Georgia Tech--
20Virginia Tech 6
21Texas A&M 1
22Oregon 2
23Brigham Young 3
24Washington State 2
25Boise State--

Dropped Out: Nebraska (#21), Missouri (#23), Wake Forest (#24).

Games Watched: Clemson vs. VPI, NC State vs. UVA, USC vs. Oregon State, Georgia vs. Florida, GT vs. Miami, Tennessee vs. Souf Klina, Texas vs. Texas Tech


-- Our game against Wake was the first time I'd seen the Deacs, and afterwards I kinda felt like they weren't rankworthy. Having to fend off Carolina with an INT in the endzone at the last second definitely means you aren't rankworthy. So they gone.

-- Brigham Young is a team that I think should be getting more credit. The Cougars have two losses and both occurred on the road (at Arizona to open the season and in overtime at Boston College). They won easily at TCU and completely drubbed Tulsa; Tulsa's getting more votes in both major polls, which doesn't seem right.

-- I wave dismissively in your direction, Boise State.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Thru 8 Games

NCSU Offense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Offense126.6 yds72-10
Passing Offense172 yds89+5
Total Offense298.6 yds95+1
Scoring Offense18.5 pts97-7

NCSU Defense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Defense142.75 yds71+6
Passing Defense160.25 yds18+5
Total Defense303 yds40+3
Scoring Defense20.9 pts52+7

118th in turnover margin (-1.25)...right ahead of the Tar Heels. I'm convinced that the following play will inevitably occur during the State/Carolina game: a player on one team picks off a pass, only to fumble the ball back to the other team during the return.

Only one team in the nation has fewer takeaways than we do: Fresno State. Freakin' Louisiana-Monroe has 25 turnovers gained, and we're stuck on six. Why do you torture us so, football gods? I beseech you! What have we done to deserve such a paucity of takeaways?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Trestman's System Peaked In Its Very First Game

I don't mean to pile on Marc Trestman with this, because I'm not sure he deserves all the criticism he's getting, but I was thinking about his system after the game yesterday and it occurred to me that the offense has never looked better than it did in the 2005 opener against Virginia Tech. NC State piled up over 400 total yards against a Hokies defense that would finish the year ranked #1 in total defense.

The Pack's first possession of the game--and Trestman's first series calling plays in college--was a fantastic 14 play, 83 yard drive that ate up six minutes and was capped by a 25-yard Darrell Blackman touchdown run. Though we ended up losing, I remember being excited about the offense's marked improvement.

I spent the rest of 2005 wondering where that offense went. Now we're two-thirds through 2006 and I'm still wondering.

OpponentTotal Offense (yds)Pts ScoredOpp Total Def Rank
Virginia Tech438161
EKU (I-AA)47554n\a
Georgia Tech2861722
Wake Forest3031969
Southern Miss4252173
Florida State2812014
Middle Tenn State2382428
Boston College3061016
South Florida 3001417

OpponentTotal Offense (yds)Pts ScoredOpp Total Def Rank
App State (I-AA)24223n/a
Southern Miss2741772
Boston College3201745
Florida State3402416
Wake Forest3342348

New name emerges in UNC coaching search?

We have to do something - NC State hired Ed O'Neill.
(from CollegeHumor)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Goodbye, Bowl Hopes

Box Score

I have reviewed the tape and I've got nothing to add. What we did this week, we've done many times before. I actually thought we'd play well today.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Let's Give Georgia A Call

From the AJC:

Oregon State backed out of what would have been a three-game series starting next season, leaving Georgia without an opening-game opponent for 2007.

As of now, coach Mark Richt said just about anything could happen.

What would the Georgia players like to do? We asked a few:

Quarterback Joe Cox:
"N.C. State. I would love to play a team from North Carolina because that is where I am from [Charlotte] and I know a lot of the guys, so that would be cool."

That would indeed be way cool. I don't know if we even have an open date next season, and if we don't, surely there's some cupcake we could drop from the schedule.

An Updated Look At NC State's Offensive Tendencies

You might remember this post from a few weeks ago, in which I examined each ACC team's yards/pass attempt and yards/rush attempt numbers and found that only NC State was averaging more yardage per rush than per pass. Since then, NC State has played three more games, so here's an update (with Clemson included just for the hell of it):

TeamAdj Pass AttAdj Yds/PaAdj Rush AttAdj Yds/Ru
NC State2335.11874.8

Not surprisingly, the passing game has shown improvement with Evans under center, and we've now at least got the yards per attempt above five. NC State passed the ball 58.2% of the time over the first four games and 52.1% over the last three.

While we have run the ball more (as I'd hoped we would) lately, the additional carries have gone to Toney Baker:

Carries/Game -- First Four Games

Baker: 9.3
Brown: 11

Carries/Game -- Last Three Games

Baker: 15
Brown: 12

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You know, I could use a little more bad news.

I know we've all been riding high in the wake of State's stunning and dramatic bass fishing national championship, but the fates have decided it is time to wash off the lingering scent of champagne and come back to reality.

Confirmed by posters at Pack Pride and by SFN: Atsur has a foot injury.

Player / % Of Team Min Played In 05-06

1) Atsur / 81.3%
2) Grant / 55.6%
3) McCauley / 14.3%
4) Fells / 10%

I'll be interested to see how the roster situation and the new offense affect Atsur's numbers (assuming he's healthy by the start of the season). Atsur is used to playing a lot of minutes, but he's never been a high-usage guy (i.e., he typically has a low %Poss number). An average player uses 20% of his team's possessions while on the court; in three years, Atsur has never eclipsed 20%: 15.8% (FR), 15.0% (SO), 17.6% (JR).

This is why Gavin Grant has to play better this season. We simply have no alternatives; someone's got to take a higher than average chunk of possessions. One of the inexperienced guys may be up to the challenge, but right now it's impossible to know who that might be. Plus, we already know Grant is going to use a lot of possessions; that's just the kind of player he is. My guess is that he'll step up to 27-28% in the usage category this year, which is Julius Hodge/Anthony Grundy territory. In his first two seasons, Grant has been inefficient (high turnover rate, meh shooting) in a secondary role. How he handles his newfound primary role will go a long way in determining if we can surprise people or if we will assume the spot that's been reserved for us at the bottom of the conference standings.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Let me know how it turns out.

How do you cope with your pre-game anxiety? The nice thing about attending games in person is that the stadium provides an easy outlet for nervous energy. You can stand up and yell for three hours and you aren't out of place. Watching games on television is a different story. Out of all of the NCAA tournament games the basketball team has played in the last five years, I think I managed to make it all the way through maybe one or two of them. The rest I saw in small chunks, if at all. (One unfortunate example: I avoided the Vandy game, then decided to sneak a peek at the score while I was online, saw we were up double-digits with like 3:00 left, and then turned the game on. Oops.) If it's a close game on TV, forget it. I can't handle it. I have no idea how I made it through last year's double-OT win at Miami. Maybe I just need to start smoking; they always look relaxed, those smokers.

Nervousness hasn't been too much of a problem during the last few football seasons because we have not played in many meaningful games (i.e., with major bowl or conference title implications). This weekend's affair doesn't qualify, either (though it is critically important to NC State's Muffler Bowl hopes), but I think I'll take the coward's way out despite the low stakes. The problem with this self-imposed blackout is that I can't watch any of the other games on television, lest the Wolfpack score flash across the bottom of the screen. I can't even watch ESPN Classic.

BlogPoll Ballot -- Week 9

Last week's ballot is located here.

1Ohio State--
3Southern Cal--
8Clemson 4
9West Virginia 1
10California 1
11Louisville 1
12Notre Dame 1
13LSU 1
14Boston College 5
15Oklahoma 1
16Arkansas 2
17Wisconsin 3
18Rutgers 3
19Georgia Tech 6
20Oregon 5
21Nebraska 4
22Texas A&M--
24Wake Forest 1
25Boise State 1

Dropped Out: Iowa (#24).

Games Watched: NC State vs. Maryland, GT vs. Clemson, UCLA vs. Notre Dame, Bama vs. Tennessee, BC vs. FSU, Washington vs. Cal, WVU vs. UConn, UNC vs. UVa

Monday, October 23, 2006

Thru 7 Games

NCSU Offense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Offense134.7 yds62+4
Passing Offense165.1 yds94-3
Total Offense299.8 yds96-2
Scoring Offense20.1 pts90-4

NCSU Defense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Defense145.3 yds77-2
Passing Defense164.4 yds23+8
Total Defense309.7 yds43+5
Scoring Defense21.9 pts59-2

114th in turnover margin (-1.29). UNC is dead last.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We'll miss ya, Buntcakes.

He gone!

John Bunting will not return as head coach of the University of North Carolina football program in 2007, Director of Athletics Dick Baddour announced this evening. Bunting, a 1972 UNC graduate, is in his sixth year as the Tar Heels' head coach. Bunting will continue to coach the Tar Heels through the rest of this season.

Bunting and Baddour met on Sunday at which time Baddour informed Bunting that he would be relieved of his duties at the end of this season. The team was told Sunday evening at a meeting after the players returned from Fall Break.

I guess I will have to retire my gameday t-shirt:

Marshawn Lynch's Joyride

Bless those Cal fans for their prompt video uploading. Right after the Washington/Cal game yesterday, Marshawn Lynch decided the best way to celebrate was to commandeer one of those carts they use to take injured players off the field.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

You Could Die (Or This Might End)

More than one Ted Leo song title is applicable today. Also considered: "First to Finish, Last to Start."

First half drives:

4 plays, 20 yards, ends at NCSU 36
6 plays, 18 yards, ends at NCSU 39
6 plays, 5 yards, ends at NCSU 29
8 plays, 43 yards, ends at UMD 40
6 plays, 13 yards, ends at NCSU 41

One of these is not like the others. One of these had some coherence, looked like a legitimate drive. So guess which one the coaches decided to throw a "wrinkle" into.

After State had picked up three first downs and moved into Maryland territory for the first time all half, the Pack ended up in a 3rd-and-6 situation at the Terps 43. Suddenly, Marcus Stone was in at quarterback, taking the snap out of the shotgun. He handed the ball to Toney Baker, who ran around the left side for three yards. The Pack punted the ball, it went into the endzone for a touchback, and the Terps were no worse for wear. My immediate thought after I saw Stone in the game was that Evans had hurt himself. No way they'd willingly bring in Stone to run a play in this situation.

The call to put Stone into the game was so perplexing, Steve Martin had to go down to Mike Hogewood for an explanation. Teams have so much film on you by this time of the season, Hogewood said, that you have to throw some wrinkles in there to give opponents something they haven't seen. So NC State decided to call an option play and have Stone run it. Stone saw the defensive end to his right coming straight at him, which didn't give him the chance to run the option with Brown to that side, as I assume was intended (this assessment based on re-watching the play). Instead, he had to give it to Baker quickly. Maryland was so stunned by this wrinkle, they completely blew it up.

If Trestman wants to give Maryland some different looks, that's great. But why, on a 3rd-and-6, do you decide that this is the appropriate time to put Marcus Stone into the game, and not only that, but to call a running play? Why not find a better situation for that particular play? We ran the ball effectively all day, and that gave us plenty of mid-range second down situations which would be much better suited for Stone's option. Besides, Evans had already hit several passes on the drive--those completions were what had made it successful. We got away from what had worked up to that point.

At least John L. Smith can admit it when the coaches are blowing it for the players.

The Stone play was just a microcosm, an indicator of things to come. The team may not have been there for the first half, but neither were the coaches, and the latter is far more damning than the former. In no way, in no facet of the game, did we appear prepared. Maryland was there for the taking. Its run defense was as soft as advertised. It was a game with huge bowl and division title implications. And we blew it, utterly and completely.

Other "highlights":

-- When we got the ball back with 2:00 left in the first half, we couldn't decide if we wanted to try to score or not. Evans was sacked on first down, then we ran the ball twice and managed to move the sticks. After Baker's third down run (and conversion), he fumbled the ball but was officially ruled down. Amato, looking to get some points before the half, began to motion for a timeout, only to have a coach run up to him and point out that we didn't want the TO because we didn't want to give the officials time to review the last play. You'd think that, what with Amato being right there on the field watching the play, seeing that the officials were not sure about the play and huddled before calling Baker down, he'd recognize that this probably wouldn't be the best time to stop play.

-- Darrell Blackman breaks free on a punt return, then dives into the endzone, bringing an immediate flag. That the flag isn't thrown when other teams do it is not the point--Blackman should know better. Why is it so difficult for the players to keep their emotions in check? An unsportsmanlike penalty killed us against Akron, and it would have given Maryland the ball near midfield had they not miraculously turned the ball over on the return.

-- The offensive line did a terrible job protecting Evans. Embarrassingly bad. I noticed that in the second half, Maryland's ends were lining up way outside because they knew they could just use their speed to beat the tackles. By the late stages, our running backs were standing next to the tackles on each passing play, there to hopefully get a hand on the Maryland defenders after the tackles whiffed.

-- Timeouts were mismanaged in the second half, typically. When Maryland got the ball back after Evans' fourth-quarter INT (about 6:00 left), it took them three plays to get into a 1st-and-goal situation. They had 1st-and-goal with 4:17 on the clock. If we use our three timeouts on the next three plays, we probably have 3:45 instead of the 1:55 we ended up with. When you don't use your timeouts in this situation, still down two scores, you are definitely putting your team in a position where it must get the onside kick to win. That is, you don't have time to score, kick it deep, play defense and use your timeouts. Really, whether we used the timeouts there or not, we were going to need the onside kick. So Maryland getting the ball back doesn't even factor into your strategy. If they do get it back, you lose. You have to operate as though this is Maryland's last possession and use your timeouts where they can save the most time.


Liveblog! NC State @ Maryland -- Second Half

[1:29PM] Amato can save his halftime yelling for his own damn staff. This is ridiculous. The performance by the team could not have been any more frustrating, and when it looks like the coaches have their heads up their collective sphincters, it doesn't make the game easier to bear. Marcus Stone...an option play...needing like six yards? What, was Stone looking sad in practice? Did he throw a temper tantrum? Let's throw him a bone and kill our only half-decent drive of the game. That's a great idea.

[1:38PM] 118 total yards for State, 149 for UMD. Pack only has 25 yards passing.

[1:42PM] Chuck told the team "it's a thirty minute game" at halftime. Which is also what he tells them prior to the game, apparently.

[1:45PM] Brown, perhaps because of the shoulder, fumbles away a nice run. It's not our day.

[1:49PM] Screen pass for the Maryland TD. Naturally. 13-0.

[1:52PM] This is where the alcohol comes in handy.

[1:54PM] So...do we fold up the tent at this point? Probably, as it would require good coaching to keep the team from quitting.

[1:59PM] Let's go for-ward! Clap clap clap-clap-clap.

[2:02PM] The sad thing about this is Maryland's run defense is definitely soft. If we were up--or just playing decently--we could really be taking advantage.

[2:07PM] This is a must-TD drive, obviously. Hopefully the coaches are aware of this and don't end up kicking a field goal should we have a fourth down.

[2:09PM] There's a fade pass, and it worked! Finally.

[2:09PM] A terrible first down run is bailed out by a facemask call.

[2:11PM] Maybe we could take a little longer to score. That would really help.

[2:12PM] Touchdown. Deraney has his PAT blocked...

[2:15PM] Come on turnover! Just one. Maryland's been handing them out like Sweet Tarts on Halloween, but of course they've been plenty secure with the ball today. And there's a personal foul call, putting UMD right up near midfield. Idiotball is back.

[2:17PM] Turnover, damn you! Turnover! Maryland back in the red zone.

[2:20PM] I just saw a bee flying around Amato's head, and I kinda wanted that bee to sting him.

[2:22PM] Ennis hits the field goal and it's a three-possession game again.


[2:27PM] Must go faster. Must go faster. Doc Walker has tiny binoculars.

[2:29PM] Evans threw the "old school post," according to Walker, whatever the hell that is. So at least we're kickin' it old school, y'all.

[2:32PM] Our offensive tackles are useless. Tiny binoculars! That's what she said.

[2:34PM] John Deraney only punts the ball 40+ yards when he's trying not to. If the Maryland return man hadn't caught the ball inside the ten, it's a touchback.

[2:38PM] Three-and-out for Maryland. Shoot yourselves in the foot, Terps, it's our only hope.

[2:40PM] Every time we do something good, there is a flag. We have to do something moronic so there's a "but" to every positive outcome. Pointless dive into endzone! Alright! So we kickoff from the 20, giving Maryland the ball at midfield again. Great. Just freakin' great.

[2:43PM] There's the turnover! YES.

[2:45PM] We promptly start going backwards. Come on, guys.

[2:47PM] Wow, did the offensive line ever kill that opportunity.

[2:50PM] Beautiful call on third down by Friedgen.

[2:51PM] So let's not call timeout or anything. Amato can't use them unless they are made necessary by his unpreparedness.

[2:54PM] WTF? CALL TIMEOUT. STOP CHEWING YOUR GUM AND PAY ATTENTION. Unbelievable. We lost at least a minute, and then, after Maryland's huddled and over 20 seconds have elapsed since the last play, we FINALLY CALL TIMEOUT. Is anyone paying attention? Did Amato start drinking at halftime like I did?

[3:02PM] Onside kick time. It's gonna take another huge break.

[3:14PM] This one's official. :(

Liveblog! NC State @ Maryland -- First Half

[12:00PM] We're just about ready to go, now that another exciting episode of WRAL's Brain Game is over. I'm feeling about as nervous as I have all season.

[12:04PM] Dang, we're going with the white top/red pants combo. I like the all-white on the road.

[12:05PM] By the way, Lincoln Financial's musical intro is worse than College Gameday's. Yikes.

[12:06PM] Martin just called Demarcus Tyler "Demetrius."

[12:08PM] Martin says that every game between these teams over the last five years have been decided by five points or less, which isn't true, right? Didn't we win 13-3 in '04?

[12:12PM] Okay, Maryland with the ball first. Let's see how the run defense looks early. And... twelve yard run for Lance Ball right off the bat. D'oh.

[12:15PM] Three runs so far. Great play by Ray Brooks on second down, setting up third and long. Screen on third down is sniffed out pretty well by the Pack...Maryland must punt. Good work, fellas.

[12:17PM] Andre Brown with a big run on first down! Not quite as much success on the next play.

[12:18PM] False start makes third-and-middle a third-and-long instead. We especially can't afford to do that to ourselves on third down. And we run a safe play on third like Maryland did, netting us absolutely nothing.

[12:20PM] When was the last time we had a good punter?

[12:21PM] Plenty of seats available in College Park.

[12:23PM] Maryland fumbles a reverse but they get it back. Maybe a good omen there?

[12:24PM] More very conservative playcalling on third down for UMD. Hollenbach hasn't been allowed to throw downfield yet.

[12:28PM] Toney Baker is on the field for the second series, gets about six on a pair of runs. Run, run, pass. Blackman makes the catch on third, and should have it with a proper spot.

[12:29PM] And he does...first down. One for two on third downs. Toney Baker is not gettin' much so far.

[12:30PM] Timeout NC State. And we almost made it through the entire quarter without having to call one.

[12:33PM] My favorite running play brings up another third-and-middle. Sure would be nice if we could get first downs without having to go to third all the time.

[12:34PM] Passing game is teh suck so far. Hooray two-yard pass on third-and-four.

[12:36PM] Big gain for Maryland on a screen. Pack's run defense continues to look solid. They needed to hold to get a decent gain.

[12:38PM] Maryland converts a short third down and is officially driving.


[12:41PM] Eighty-one total yards for UMD, 43 for us in the first.

[12:43PM] We look a step slow defensively. Hollenbach finally went downfield and got a nice gainer.

[12:45PM] Five wide for Maryland on third down, we finally get some pass rush. Hollenbach fires it into the endzone while getting hit, but no one is there. Field goal attempt is good. 3-0, Terps.

[12:46PM] 'k, a little offense here would be appreciated. Don't make me beg. We've got one 21-yard run and a whole heap o' nothin'. Andre Brown should be back on the field for this next series.

[12:48PM] Never mind...Brown's got a shoulder injury. Wonderful.

[12:49PM] "I don't think so," says Walker. I thought Baker definitely got the first. Which he did.

[12:51PM] Evans sacked on first down. There goes this possession.

[12:52PM] Draw on second-and-17. Let's just forfeit now if we're going to "play not to lose." It's punting time once more.

[12:54PM] Deraney kicks another lame one. Terps with great field position. Sigh.

[12:56PM] Last week, reverses. This week, screens. We do have a defensive coaching staff, right?

[1:00PM] Okay, well, held them to three again. The way they were rolling up yards, it looked like they'd get seven for sure. Could we WAKE UP now?

[1:03PM] Hey, it's first down pass!

[1:05PM] We've strung a couple of first downs together. Keep throwin' it, I say. Un near midfield after an Evans scramble.

[1:07PM] Brown drops a screen pass, probably for the better. Shotgun draw gets four on second down, setting up another third. Marcus Stone was in the game on third down and handed the ball off to Baker...WTF? I hope Evans is okay.

[1:10PM] Evans injured or moronic third-down playcall? Hopefully the latter. Still, it's hard to imagine them wanting to run a play like that on third-and-6.

[1:12PM] Evans is back, so...was the Stone thing just a moronic playcall? Yeah.

[1:14PM] Stone was put in to run an option play, according to Hogewood. Worst. Goddamn. Call. Ever.

[1:16PM] In other news, the offense has a 3rd-and-8 coming up after the UMD timeout. Please throw the ball here.

[1:18PM] And what I meant by that was, of course, run a draw for a first down.

[1:20PM] Yikes...Evans throws it back across his body to the middle of the field. He was also across the line of scrimmage at the time.

[1:22PM] Very confusing calls at the end here. Throw on first down, then a run and we don't stop the clock. Then we throw on the last play of the half when we're too far for the hail mary? Maybe they coulda returned the INT for a score! Glad we gave them a chance.

[1:24PM] Halftime. I am going to go make a stiff drink.

Friday, October 20, 2006

It was supposed to be a secret!

From The Big Lead:

Earlier this month in Tennessee, Titans coach Jeff Fisher proved he has the upper hand over the Nashville media when he demanded newspapers, radio, and TV members who attended practice omit the fact that Vince Young was working out with the first team. The punishment, should anyone not heed Fisher’s warning, was that practices would be closed for the remainder of the season. They adhered to the rules.

Word out of College Park, Maryland, is that King Ralph tried the same trick with media members Wednesday at Terps practice. His leading tackler wore a non-contact jersey, but the Fridge demanded nobody write about it (probably because NC State would use this knowledge to its advantage, and King Ralph doesn’t know who’s banged up on NC State). Except the Baltimore Sun didn’t follow instructions.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Some Points About Greg Paulus

Good stuff from Hoopinion:

Writes Goodman on the heavily-capitalized FOXSports.com:

"As Greg Paulus goes, so do the Duke Blue Devils."

Anybody who has watched Paulus play would assume that Goodman means that Duke is headed toward missed shots (43% eFG), turnovers (32.8 TO Rate), and terrifically ineffective defending (watch the games).

Find more of Paulus' stats (and a link to the stats glossary in case you need it) here.

This compelled me to dust off my spreadsheet to look at his conference-only numbers... (Hoopinion references his full-season stats)

Paulus -- ACC Games Only

TO Rate: 35.1%
eFG%: 36.3% (37.5% on twos and 22.6% on threes)
O Rtg: 81.1
PPWS: 0.83

Here is a list of other ACC starters who had an O Rtg lower than Paulus' in conference play:

1.) Tunji Soroye (UVA)

And Soroye only played in 45% of his team's minutes, compared to Paulus' 82%.

If You Happen To Be In The Area

Free waffles!

Enjoy Breakfast with the Fridge, Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen at 7 a.m., Oct. 20 at the Marriott Inn and Conference Center, 3501 University Blvd. East in College Park. There is no cost to attend and a continental breakfast will be served. There will be free raffles, sponsored by the Maryland Gridiron Network, the official athletic booster club for Maryland Football. Parking is available at the church and in the garage. Go to www.mdgridiron.umd.edu for more information.

"Why, yes, I will have another cruller."

[Unrelated: When you google waffles, John Kerry's website is the #1 result. Har har.]

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday Items: Nobody loves you like Corso, baby.

-- I am going to do another liveblog this weekend. I enjoyed doing it for the USM game despite the monstrous egg laid by the Wolfpack, and I figure Doc Walker will offer up a lot of nuggets that will require immediate, real-time mockery. Please do stop by if you're in the area on Saturday.

-- To avert brawls, Terps keep eye on fights.

N.C. State will visit Byrd Stadium on Saturday for a noon homecoming kickoff, and the memory of Maryland's last melee on the football field was recalled by a few players yesterday as they shared their thoughts on the brawl this past weekend between Miami and Florida International players.

"There was some fighting on the field, N.C. State fans were throwing stuff at us on the field," said offensive lineman Andrew Crummey, who was a freshman that year. "That's a memory I'll never forget."

I will never forget it either, but it's not for lack of trying. I don't think I have ever felt worse after a game than I did after that one.

-- Kudos to the cross country teams for running well at the Pre-Nationals.

NC State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams both established themselves as legitimate national contenders by running exceptionally strong races Saturday, Oct. 14 at the 2006 NCAA Pre-Nationals. The Wolfpack women, ranked No. 5 in the latest national poll, handily won the Pre-National Women’s White Race by 59 points over third-ranked Michigan. The 13th-ranked NC State men ran in the Pre-National Blue Men’s Race and finished third behind No. 4 Colorado and No. 27 Florida State.

The Pre-Nationals, hosted by Indiana State University at the same site as next month’s NCAA Championships, annually attracts most of the top cross country programs in the nation and is the biggest regular-season race in the college cross country season.

Since that race, the women's team has moved up to #2 in the coaches' poll, while the men are sitting at #9.

-- This is the funniest thing I've heard in a long time: Lee Corso, pop star.

-- From Tom Sorensen's column today (in which he surprisingly doesn't call for anyone to be fired) comes this link. If, like me, you enjoy nerding up your sports with some statistical analysis, I totally recommend their strategy page. Most of the stuff discusses football, but they do hit on other sports as well. There's a piece on bunting strategy (which I'm tempted to email to Avent...), for instance.

BlogPoll Ballot -- Week 8

Last week's ballot is located here. As always, the week's official BlogPoll will appear at mgoblog on Wednesday.

1Ohio State--
3Southern Cal 1
4Tennessee 1
5Auburn 7
6Florida 3
7Texas 1
8West Virginia--
9California 1
10Louisville 3
11Notre Dame 2
12Clemson 1
13Georgia Tech--
15Oregon 1
16Oklahoma 1
17Nebraska 2
18Arkansas 4
19Boston College 4
20Wisconsin 6
21Rutgers 3
22Texas A&M 4
23Missouri 5
24Iowa 9
25Wake Forest 1

Dropped Out: Georgia (#20), Virginia Tech (#21), Boise State (#25).