Sunday, September 30, 2007

Louisville Game Photos

Louisville @ NC State

Not much this week, as I didn't bring the camera back in for the second half. (I almost didn't bring myself back in for the second half.)

Beck Throws To Brown

Louisville 29, NC State 10

Box Score


What can be done about the rash of turnovers?

"We need to hold each other accountable," Evans said. "It can't just be the coaches. It's got to come from within.

"We have to make sure we don't make the same mistakes that the last two or three years would keep us from winning games and keep us out of bowls."

We are on some kind of pace right now:
       TO_Lost   Rk    TO/G
2001 13 3 1.2
2002 24 43 1.7
2003 19 21 1.5
2004 32 113 2.9
2005 24 75 2.0
2006 23 56 1.9
2007 18 116 3.6
As reluctant as I am to give up on Beck at this point, if we're going to slow the bleeding, that's probably the place to start. Beck's averaging an interception thrown for every 16 pass attempts. Evans averaged a pick per 28 attempts last year, and is averaging one per 25 this season.

Three of the four I-A opponents we've faced have averaged more than 5.0 yards per carry, and all four have averaged better than 4.5 YPC.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It may all end tomorrow, or it could go on forever...


Oh, was there a football game?

Brohm Pass

Friday, September 28, 2007

Man, don't say that.

We're still all talk, I see.

"I'm really excited to play against that guy," Sutton said. "I think that we're going to hold him to a lot less than he has been putting up against other people."

That's great, Jimmie. You've insulted Brian Brohm's honor and now he's going to demand satisfaction.

"Ah say, ah say, come out an' get yuh whuppin', Pack."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Louisville Items

-- The Technician asked Louisville receiver Harry Douglas a few questions. Douglas is having a huge season: 38 receptions, 679 yards, 5 TDs. He's had at least 100 receiving yards in each of Louisville's first four games and has gone for 200+ in each of the last two.

-- While Douglas has thrived, his counterpart Mario Urrutia has struggled with drops. He committed a couple of personal fouls against Syracuse, which prompted Steve Kragthorpe to consider replacing him in the starting lineup. The less we see of him, the better, because he is a scary dude to have to match up with (6-6, 220).

-- In a Courier-Journal article about Mike Archer:

"Mike is doing a real nice job," Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe said. "He's mixing different coverages in … and they're very good at that. And they're doing a good job of getting a pretty good rush on the passer."

We... we are?

-- Louisville beat writer Brian Bennett details the beating that the Cardinals have been taking in the media. You might also be interested in clicking over to Card Chronicle.

-- "Glaring bravado"?

-- Membership has its rewards:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Louisville's Incredible Disappearing Secondary

When I was watching the MTSU/Louisville game a few weeks ago, I was shocked at the frequency with which Louisville's defense made mental mistakes, but I chalked it up to a one-game aberration. It's no aberration:

In their three games against Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) opponents, the Cards have surrendered averages of 329 passing yards a game and 16.2 yards per completion. Orange quarterback Andrew Robinson threw for 423 yards on just 17 completions, including pass plays of 79, 60, 48 and 42 yards.

"I've never given up this many deep balls since I was in junior high," Kragthorpe said.

We just have to hope the problems continue:

N.C. State (1-3) hopes to continue several trends that have the Cardinals’ defenders in disarray. In three games against Bowl Subdivision teams, Louisville (2-2) has allowed at least one touchdown pass of more than 50 yards in each and given up a total of 988 yards through the air.


Middle Tennessee State had three scoring plays of at least 35 yards and hung closer than expected. Instate rival Kentucky hit a game-winning 57-yard touchdown pass in the final minute to knock Louisville out of the Top 10.

Take a look at some of these blown coverages. Kentucky's game-winning pass:

An MTSU receiver is completely uncovered in a short-yardage situation:

Watch Syracuse's first play from scrimmage.

Syracuse ranks 114th in total offense; Middle Tennessee, 108th. Yet both posted at least 465 total yards against Louisville (MTSU averaged more than 10 yards per snap), meaning they played like top-25 offenses against the Cardinals--in MTSU's case, a top-five offense.

Middle Tennessee scored 42 against Louisville and has scored 31 points in its other three games combined. Ditto Syracuse: 38 against the Cards, 32 total in the other three games.

The breakdown:

MTSU Passing:
Opponent     Comp   Att   Yds   Yds/Att  Comp%   TD  INT
FAU 20 32 199 6.2 62.5 1 2
L'ville 14 26 290 11.2 53.8 2 2
LSU 8 15 81 5.4 53.3 0 0
WKU 14 24 169 7.0 58.3 0 0
MTSU Offense:
Opponent    1stDwn  Plays   Yds   Yds/Play  Pts
FAU 15 64 217 3.4 14
L'ville 20 55 555 10.1 42
LSU 9 52 90 1.7 0
WKU 17 61 288 4.7 17

Syracuse Passing:
Opponent        Comp   Att   Yds   Yds/Att  Comp%   TD  INT
Washington 20 32 199 6.2 62.5 1 0
Iowa 7 20 79 4.0 35.0 0 1
Illinois 19 29 223 7.7 65.5 1 0
L'ville 17 26 423 16.3 65.4 4 0
Syracuse Offense:
Opponent       1stDwn  Plays   Yds   Yds/Play  Pts
Washington 13 61 207 3.4 12
Iowa 5 50 103 2.1 0
Illinois 14 63 286 4.5 20
L'ville 16 61 465 7.6 38

I refuse to be encouraged.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thru 4 Games

Mega Maid's gone from suck to blow.

NCSU Offense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Offense103.3 yds98-12
Passing Offense220.8 yds62-16
Total Offense324 yds94-21
Scoring Offense24.5 pts75-8

NCSU Defense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Defense247 yds115-14
Passing Defense161.3 yds16-5
Total Defense408.3 yds76-30
Scoring Defense30.3 pts78-6

[turns to Archer] "Do something!"

[turns to Bible] "Do something!"

[pleads into headset] "Do something!"

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dear Catastrophe Quarterback

Box Score

I don't have the heart to talk about this game, not that there's much worth mentioning. They's fast, we's slow, end of story. It was evident from the start that Clemson was going to be able to do whatever it wanted to. I thought we might be able to give Harper some problems, but without a pass rush or an ability to stop the run, that wasn't going to happen.

After Beck got hurt, I made a typically sarcastic remark which prompted the woman standing next to me to comment that my friend and I were "the most negative fans" she had ever heard. I should maybe drink less before kickoff.

Beck's Injury

Look Out
I'm sorry that you seem to have the weight of the world over you.

This Happens At Every Football Game

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dropping Money

From the N&O:

Strong safety DaJuan Morgan said the Wolfpack's goal is to pick off one pass for every 22 attempts. Face 400 passes in a season and that's 18 interceptions.

I wondered how often secondaries put up those sorts of numbers...

First let's just have a look at the raw INT totals; here's the list of I-A schools that had 18 or more INTs in 2006:

School         INTs
Western Mich. 24
Wake Forest 22
Boston College 21
California 21
Florida 21
Ohio St. 21
Boise St. 20
Nevada 20
Arkansas St. 19
La.-Monroe 19
Georgia 19
Brigham Young 18
Oklahoma 18
Fla. Atlantic 18
That's 14 schools, or 11.8% (14/119) of division I-A.

One INT per 22 attempts is an interception percentage of 4.5%. The number of schools that had an INT% equal to or better than that last season: 21 (17.6%).

All together, I-A schools averaged one INT thrown for every 29.6 attempts in 2006.

Since we've only picked off one pass in 81 attempts seen thus far, we're well behind the curve, although according to Mike Archer we dropped four picks in the Wofford game alone.

Talking Clemson With Danny Ford Is God

I caught up with the guys from Danny Ford Is God and got their thoughts on CJ Spiller's struggles, the Extreme! awesomeness that is Willy Korn, and the relative hotness of Tommy Bowden's seat. I'd have asked Bowden about his job security myself, but we all know he doesn't blog with the NC States of the world.

You can find my answers to their questions over at their place.

1.) I noticed that Clemson gave up a good chunk of yardage to Louisiana Monroe and Furman; how concerned are you about the defense at this point? Is there something NC State can/should exploit?

With our defense, it's hit or miss. The only reason that they gave up so many yards is they kept the second and third stringers in for as long as possible to get them as much playing experience as they can. The main problems we have with our defense are the awareness of the cornerbacks and the side to side speed of our outside linebackers. If there is anything you should exploit is rolling out and passing. If you give your QB plenty of time, or a chance to scramble and throw it away, you should have an advantage there. Furman, you gotta give it to them, they're not bad for a I-AA team. They had fast and smart quarterbacks and extremely smart and aware receivers. They also had two talented tight ends.

2.) Is there a particular reason why CJ Spiller has been ineffective on the ground (3.3 YPC)? James Davis doesn't seem to be having any problems.

Honestly, I (Willy Mac) think that CJ has his mind elsewhere. He hasn't been running effectively and he's just been making terrible decisions. He's been running stupid, so to speak. James Davis is always consistently good. It seems that he just tries harder and has better down field vision. CJ is just too fast for his own good and I think teams are trying to concentrate on him more because of that and thats another key reason he's having a bit of trouble. Plus the coaching staff is throwing a lot of stuff at him right now and they're trying to run this cutesy direct snap stuff with CJ as QB. If they're not going to let him do what McFadden did last year by passing it, they don't need to screw around with him.

Chili: CJ has said it himself that he isn't being patient enough when rushing this year. He said this week that he changed the way he practiced to look for holes opening up on the line instead of just trying to break off a big highlight reel run. Statistically, he has had more carries and more yards through 3 games this year than he did through 3 games the last. I consider our last two games an aberration as we know we focused on the pass way more than the run to get ready for teams crowding the line against us, so his numbers are a little more excusable in that context.

3.) Cullen Harper is off to a rather amazing start: a completion percentage above 70%, 10 TDs, 0 INTs. I haven't really had a chance to watch him play, though; what are his strengths/weaknesses? And how come he didn't see more time last season?

He's not bad at all. Certainly a step up from Proctor. He can read the field well and get the ball off quickly. His young offensive line tends to hang him out to dry quite a bit and he doesn't make stupid decisions and get rattled with four big guys trying to rip his head off. He's also hard to rattle in the sense that he can take a hit and focus his attention to the next play. The only reason Cullen didn't see more playing time last year is because Bowden has his head up his own ass. He really dropped the ball by not getting Harper more snaps.

4.) So, despite the way Harper has played, there are a lot of folks who want to see freshman phenom Willy Korn, right?

There's an adage that everyone's favorite player on their team is the backup quarterback and that's certainly the case this year with Clemson. Korn was a megastar at a local football factory who committed to Clemson his junior year and enrolled early to practice in spring with the team. His hype has been building for years and it doesn't hurt that he scored a rushing touchdown his first game and a passing touchdown his second game in the cleanup role. While we think it's important that he gets plenty of playing time, Cullen is doing everything you could ask of a quarterback and doesn't look like he'll lose his starting spot any time soon, barring injury. So far, Korn has seen some tired defenses against some schools not on par with Clemson and he's played like an outright stud. He's good, but we need to ease him into the starting position. Also, why change a good thing like Cullen Harper destroying defenses?

5.) I thought Clemson was going to cruise to a division title after the Tigers crushed Georgia Tech last season, but the team faded down the stretch. If they falter in similar fashion this year, is Tommy Bowden gone?

He's not on the hot seat yet because he's too much of a yes man. If he goes 7 wins and a bowl loss on the year, our fans will be pissed. 6 wins and he's a goner. The team just seemed to lose focus. Tommy is too much like his daddy in the fact that he likes to hire coaches, and then manage them. He needs to get his hands dirty too. Hiring coaches, recruiting a few kids, and giving a speech or two won't cut it in college football these days. You have to bring more to the table. If he wins 8, he gets to stick around and if he doesn't get over the hump next year, he's definitely gone. Tommy will do enough to not get fired. Not intentionally, we really think he works his ass off and cares about the program. We just don't think he's good enough to take the program up another notch. In terms of facilities and recruiting, he's done wonders, but the titles aren't there. Several talking heads say that Clemson tanks at the end of every year. Not true. We tanked last year, and in 2000, but in other years we started off slow and built up to a satisfying finish. Other years we were consistently mediocre. The one constant - and you should expect it to continue - is that each year we beat a team we probably shouldn't and lose to a team we also probably shouldn't have.

6.) Our quarterbacks like to give the gift of points to our opponents, just to let them know we appreciate them. Just smile and try to look surprised when Harrison Beck gives it to you, okay?

Uh, okay. *Winces in anticipation of being shanked.*

Thursday, September 20, 2007

TOB wants you back, baby.

SMQ brings us another missive from Tom O'Brien:

I won't lie to you, baby: I'm disappointed.

Not that I blame you. But I have to say, I'm surprised that you've moved on so quickly, and hurt. I thought our time together meant more than that. I take a little time to clear my head, to rediscover myself, and that's it? I know I said I was gone for good, that we just couldn't be together anymore, but I've found myself asking over and over again these past nine months: what do I really want? Who is Tom O'Brien? And after all that time, I keep coming back to same answer: Tom O'Brien is the coach of the Boston College Eagles. I choose you, BC. When I walked out that door, you didn't really think I meant it, did you?

Elsewhere, Mickey Plyler spends a heck of a lot of words trying to decide if NC State is one of Clemson's rivals.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

About Those Kickoffs

The latest on the impact of kicking off from the 30:

So far, the new kickoff rule’s impact on the game has not been as significant as many thought before the season. The biggest change has been an increase in the number of kickoffs returned. The average return on kickoffs from the 30 yard line in 2007 has not been significantly longer than the average on kickoffs from the 35 in 2005-2006.

Kicks are landing roughly 2.5 yards farther from the goal line and returns are about 1.4 yards longer.

Darrell Blackman's average kickoff return this season is 20.7 yards, down from 28.9 a year ago. He is getting more opportunities (he's on pace to double the 19 kickoff returns he got last year), as was to be expected, so there is that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

BlogPoll Ballot -- Week 4

(Deltas are all messed up since I didn't submit a ballot last week. Catch the BlogPoll at mgoblog on Wednesday.)

1 LSU 25
2 Southern Cal 24
3 Oklahoma 23
4 Florida 22
5 West Virginia 21
6 Ohio State 20
7 California 19
8 Oregon 18
9 Wisconsin 17
10 Penn State 16
11 Texas 15
12 Boston College 14
13 Rutgers 13
14 Kentucky 12
15 Clemson 11
16 Louisville 10
17 South Carolina 9
18 Alabama 8
19 South Florida 7
20 Arkansas 6
21 Georgia 5
22 Virginia Tech 4
23 Nebraska 3
24 Missouri 2
25 Cincinnati 1

Dropped Out:

Avert Thy Mortal Gaze From Willy Korn

This (and the above photo) comes from the guys at Danny Ford Is God:


*crowd explodes in applause, panties thrown on field*

Defense: Oh Man, it’s WILLY KORN, I heard that dude melts faces.

WILLY KORN: Yeah, Ima melt ya FACE OFF. The last thing you’re going to see before you die is my BURNING FACE OF DEATH.

Defense: *face melts off* AGGGGGGG! BURNING KORN HEAD OF DEATH! *dies*

WILLY KORN: I’m dedicating this touchdown pass to the memories of those whose faces I melted with my swagger. DEDICATIONNNN TOUCHDOWNNNNNN. *touchdown* [KORN wills in an extra point.]

Wofford Game Photos

Wofford @ NC State

Flyover II

Option Toss

Up The Middle

Over The Middle To Dunlap

You Take It

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'd say this set the tone for the evening.

Watch how badly UCF Girl out-chugs NCSU Guy.

Oh, schadenfreude.

Carolina would like a review of a review.

Davis said the formal request centered on the procedure of the challenge, and not the end result of the review, which overturned a 48-yard field goal by UVa's Chris Gould.

"We had a list of a couple of things that we would like for them to review and clarify for us," Davis said. "If you saw the TV copy, the TV announcers reported that the challenge didn't come from the coaches."

Davis's mistake is assuming that Steve Martin and Doc Walker, two of the biggest incompetents around, knew what they were talking about. The announcers suggested that the impetus for the review came from a booth with a TV monitor, which was not the case.

While UNC fans were celebrating the apparent miss, the two Virginia managers who retrieved the ball, as well as Gould, insisted to assistant coaches that the kick was good. They convinced Cavs coach Al Groh to use a coach's challenge to review the kick, and the call on the field was reversed.

Is it too late for us to get a review of a review?

Thru 3 Games

NCSU Offense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Offense119.3 yds86+16
Passing Offense245.3 yds46-32
Total Offense364.7 yds73-5
Scoring Offense26 pts67+22

NCSU Defense
CategoryPer GameNat'l RankRank Change
Rushing Defense216 yds1010
Passing Defense125.7 yds11-2
Total Defense341.7 yds46+4
Scoring Defense26.3 pts72+19

More here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

NC State 38, Wofford 17

Box Score

"I never thought a wishbone game would go four hours." -- TOB

This photo captures yesterday's theme nicely:


There's also this one:


Four hours. Twenty-six penalties will do that.

We neither out-gained nor out-first-downed Wofford, yet still won the game comfortably thanks to said penalties and several egregious mistakes committed by the Terriers inside of their own 20. And maybe that's fitting. On far too many occasions during the losing streak, it was the Pack winning the game on paper but losing it where it mattered.

Although Wofford's success on the ground wasn't surprising, I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. O'Brien, however, was pleased:

"I'm ecstatic the way the defense played against these guys," O'Brien said.

The Terriers did, after all, run the ball 57 times; so while the 211 yards allowed looks bad, they got there on less than four yards per carry. That I can live with. We're going to need a huge effort from the front seven in order to have a shot next week, but that's a post for another day.

During the post game press conference, O'Brien noted both the unique challenge presented by the wishbone/flexbone offense and the unique way in which it has to be defended, and commented, "you spend a week not really getting better on defense because you spend all week defending these guys."

Harrison Beck's modest performance (16-32, 113 yards) isn't bothersome to me; he didn't need to do a lot and he didn't try to. He was also hurt by several dropped passes and an illegal touching penalty that nixed a long TD pass.

Even if it did come against an undersized opponent, it was nice to see the offensive line establish itself and block for the run effectively. Andre Brown was fantastic in tandem with the line's efforts, averaging better than six yards per carry. As a team, the Pack averaged 4.8 yards on 45 carries. Controlling the line of scrimmage helps your backs avoid being tackled for losses, and that's crucial to keeping the offense on schedule (a major failure last week).
          Car   TFL   TFL%
vs. UCF 28 5 17.9
vs. BC 24 6 25.0
vs. Wof 45 6 13.3
(So, for example, the Pack ran the ball 45 times against Wofford and was tackled for a loss six times. Sacks are excluded.)

This was to be expected; had the offensive line not imposed its will on the Terriers, I would officially be freaking out.

All else aside, whenever this is written about the other team...

They can blame themselves, not the schedule, for this disaster.

Honestly, the buzz around here all day was that this was going to be a decent game. Wolfpack fans seemed to be expecting a better fight from Wofford and some were genuinely nervous. And it should have been a good game. But the Terriers came out tripping over their own feet and the result was a 38-17 loss at Carter-Finley Stadium.

...and not about us, as it often is, then it's been a good weekend.

A little help, guys?

"Okay, swing pass. Nice and easy."

"Look it into the hands and turn it up. Look it into-- d'oh."

"Oh yeah, wide open, baby."

"I'm gonna get a first down. They may never touch me; I'm unstoppable. I'm unstopp-- aw, nuts."

Jump For Joy

Brown Scores