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2007 NC State Preview

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by BoltsFanUK, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. BoltsFanUK
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    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    Money, facilities and a more lenient academic climate led Tom O’Brien to leave Boston College for Raleigh and the opportunity to lead a full-fledged, state-university program. It didn’t seem to matter that he was leaving one conference school for another. O’Brien was somewhat concerned about the ceiling at BC, and he knew there were no such limitations at North Carolina State.

    Head coach: Tom O'Brien
    1st year at NC State
    11th year overall: 76-45
    Returning Lettermen:
    Off. 17, Def. 24, ST 0
    Lettermen Lost: 15
    Ten Best State Players
    1. DT Demario Pressley, Sr.
    2. WR/KR Darrell Blackman, Sr.
    3. DE Martrel Brown, Sr.
    4. RB Toney Baker, Jr.
    5. RB Andre Brown, Jr.
    6. WR John Dunlap, Sr.
    7. SS DaJuan Morgan, Jr.
    8. LB LeRue Rumph, Sr.
    9. RB Jamelle Eugene, Soph.
    10. G Curtis Crouch, Jr.
    2007 Schedule
    CFN Prediction: 5-7

    Sept. 1
    UCF

    Sept. 8
    at Boston College

    Sept. 15
    Wofford

    Sept. 22
    Clemson

    Sept. 29
    Louisville

    Oct. 6
    at Florida State

    Oct. 20
    at East Carolina

    Oct. 27
    Virginia

    Nov. 3
    at Miami

    Nov. 10
    North Carolina

    Nov. 17
    at Wake Forest

    Nov. 24
    Maryland


    2006 Schedule
    CFN Prediction: 6-6
    2006 Record: 3-9
    Preview 2006 predicted wins

    9/2 Appalachian St W 23-10
    9/9 Akron L 20-17
    9/16 at Southern Miss L 37-17
    9/23 Boston College W 17-15
    10/5 Florida State W 24-20
    10/14 Wake Forest L 25-23
    10/21 at Maryland L 26-20
    10/28 at Virginia L 14-7
    11/4 Georgia Tech L 31-23
    11/11 at Clemson L 20-14
    11/18 at North Carolina L 23-9
    11/25 East Carolina L 21-16

    Okay, so maybe there are a few impediments to a flight in the clouds. Like new North Carolina coach Butch Davis, who promises to lock down the Tar Heel State’s recruiting resources and give UNC a gridiron outfit about which the school’s hoop team can brag. Or the fact that N.C. State won just three games in ’06, a performance shoddy enough to earn Chuck Amato a pink slip. No matter. O’Brien wanted to move on to a school with excellent facilities and the opportunity to recruit any player interested in his program, and he has it in Raleigh.

    In O’Brien, State gets a coach who built Boston College into a perennial bowl team, reached the post-season eight straight years, won seven consecutive bowl games and averaged 8.8 wins the past six years. In other words, his program was a model of consistency…the very thing lacking at N.C. State. The Wolfpack is getting a stern disciplinarian who won’t tolerate nonsense and will not be out-worked or out-prepared.

    BC thrived on a sturdy defense and a productive, ground-first attack that didn’t overwhelm but certainly got the job done. O’Brien will be the first to tell you he’d have preferred to open things up a little more, but the skill-position talent wasn’t always on a par with what he wanted to do on offense.

    Is there enough on hand to give O’Brien a chance to go beyond his BC levels? The early answer is no. State lacks playmaking wideouts, and has three quarterbacks (Daniel Evans, Harrison Beck and Justin Burke) who are still devloping. The defense has some potential, but it loses some key performers, most notably defensive tackle Tank Tyler and middle linebacker Pat Lowery.

    The good news is that since N.C. State lost an astounding six games last year by seven or fewer points, the team shouldn’t be too far away from bowl contention. As for the rarified air of double-digit win totals, that’s going to take some time.

    What to look for on offense: Since the quarterback situation is still up in the air, look for O’Brien and coordinator Dana Bible (no hero to many BC fans) to rely heavily on junior backs Andre Brown and Toney Baker, and to use many rollouts and bootlegs in the passing game. The running game will dominate the play calling early on.

    What to look for on defense: The Wolfpack wasn’t bad last year, allowing a respectable 317.2 yards/game. This should be a physical 4-3 outfit that limits big plays and keeps the pressure off its offense by rarely surrendering scads of points. It’ll be sound in all phases, and better at getting into the backfield.

    This team will be much better if… it reverses its turnover margin. The Pack was minus-11 last year, a function of the quarterbacks’ mistakes and a defense that came up with only one takeaway per game. O’Brien teams thrive on other team’s errors, and on not screwing up. This one, in time, should be no different.

    The Schedule: There's no reason to use the schedule as an excuse if the season is average. O'Brien has a few big landmines, but it's not that bad overall. The toughest ACC games are on the road, with a return to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College early, plus Florida State, Miami and Wake Forest later on. Games against Clemson and Louisville in late September will show just how quickly the new coaching staff has been able to turn things around.

    Best Offensive Player: Senior WR Darrell Blackman. A home-run hitting threat from anywhere on the field, Blackman is a weapon as a runner, receiver and kick returner. On what should be a pounding offense, he'll need to be a bolt of lightning.

    Best Defensive Player: Senior DT DeMario Pressley. With Tank Tyler, John McCargo, Mario Williams and Manny Lawson in the pros, the time has arrived for Pressley to break through and make a national splash befitting his enormous talents. He’s the NFL prototype at the position, with the size and strength to occupy multiple blockers and the agility to make stops far away from the trenches.

    Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Daniel Evans. While Nebraska transfer Harrison Beck and redshirt freshman Justin Burke will each get long looks over the off-season, it’ll be up to Evans to make the offense sink or swim. O’Brien loves to rely on steady passers who don’t make mistakes, but Evans flies by the seat of his pants and does what he can to make things happen. His job will be to hit his third-down passes and keep the interceptions to a minimum.

    The season will be a success if ... the Wolfpack gets to a bowl game. That might seem like a lock considering Tom O’Brien’s history, but nothing’s a lock when you have Boston College, Clemson, Louisville, Florida State and Miami on a schedule. The rest of the games are winnable, even though many are tough, so it could take two wins against the really big boys, and no slips against teams like East Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, to get a 13th game.

    http://cfn.scout.com/2/639677.html
  2. BoltsFanUK
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    What you need to know: This won't be a bombs away attack under Dana Bible, but it could be with a big, fast, experienced receiving corps that should be able to spread the field. The trio of running backs, Toney Baker, Andre Brown and Jamelle Eugene, should be a major plus, but the line has to be far better and needs to replace the starting tackles. It'll be a three-man race for the starting quarterback job between Daniel Evans, Nebraska transfer Harrison Beck, and Justin Burke, with the one of them needing to be able to move the offense consistently, something that wasn't done this spring. This will be a running offense that will eventually grow into a 50/50 balance.

    Returning Leaders
    Passing: Daniel Evans
    163-307, 1,843 yds, 6 TD, 11 INT
    Rushing: Toney Baker
    157 carries, 688 yds, 6 TD
    Receiving: Anthony Hill INJ.
    45 catches, 478 yds

    Star of the offense: Senior WR/KR Darrell Blackman
    Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB Daniel Evans
    Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman QB Justin Burke
    Best pro prospect: Hill
    Top three all-star candidates: 1) Blackman, 2) RB Toney Baker, 3) WR John Dunlap
    Strength of the offense: Running back, receiver size and speed
    Weakness of the offense: Tackle, quarterback

    Quarterbacks

    Projected Starter: On experience alone, junior Daniel Evans will likely be the opening day starter. However, he might not be the best of the three options. He took over for an ineffective Marcus Stone and started the last nine games of the year, and while his stats weren't awful, completing 53% of his passes for 1,843 yards and six touchdowns, he threw 11 interceptions and only threw one touchdown pass in the final seven games. Masking the rough finish were magical performances early on, with a last-second touchdown pass to beat Boston College and a three-touchdown game in the win over Florida State, but he had a hard time once defenses started to force him to throw. He's 6-2 and 191 pounds with a decent arm, but little in the way of mobility.

    Projected Top Reserves: 6-2, 213-pound sophomore Harrison Beck came over from Nebraska and didn't do much of anything this spring to make a claim for the starting job. He has the strongest arm of all the quarterback options, but he struggles with his accuracy. With decent mobility and good potential, he'll likely be more of a factor next year.

    The wild-card is 6-3, 210-pound redshirt freshman Justin Burke, who has the most talent of any of the quarterbacks and simply needs a little bit of seasoning. A top recruit, he has a live, accurate arm and good running skills. He didn't display much this spring, but in time, he has the biggest upside and should be the starter sooner than later.

    Watch Out For ... Burke. It's just a question of time before the job is his. He has to prove he's ready, and the other quarterbacks will have to fall flat, but that might come early on.
    Strength: Three decent options. The new coaching staff can have an honest, open competition and let the cream rise to the top. The job is there for the taking by whoever plays the best this fall.
    Weakness: Evans might be the starter by default. Harrison and Burke struggled way too much in spring ball, while Evans had a far better command of the offense and made better, smarter reads. That was expected because of his experience, but in a perfect world, it all clicks for Burke at some point.
    Outlook: Evans is a pure baller who has a way of making things interesting late. Now he has to be more consistent and he has to prove he's a winner. Beck is likely the number three when all is said and done, and the team will sink or swim with Burke if needed.
    Rating: 6

    Running Backs

    Projected Starters: The Pack will use a steady rotation of three backs, with 5-10, 225-pound junior Toney Baker the first to get the call after leading the team with 688 yards and six touchdowns to go along with 21 catches for 177 yards. The main man over the second half of the season, he ran for 95 yards against Maryland and was brilliant against Clemson with 34 carries for 174 yards. Concentration and hanging on to the ball has always been an issue, and he hasn't proven he can be a top producer for a full season, but with the other backs in the mix, he won't have to be.

    In to block, and only block, will be 6-0, 239-pound senior Pat Bedics. A big-time special teamer, the former Penn State linebacker will be a major contributor in several ways, even if he doesn't get any passes.

    Projected Top Reserves: Baker might be the starter, but 6-0, 232-pound Andre Brown is No. 1A on the depth chart. He ripped off 113 yards against Florida State and was strong for a stretch in the midseason, and then didn't do much over the final five games. Extremely fast for his size, he can tear off big runs here and there, and was a star for a stretch two years ago with a 248-yard day against Southern Miss and 179 yards against Florida State. He's a great talent who'll be used more.

    5-10, 195-pound sophomore Jamelle Eugene proved this spring that he has the speed, cutting ability, and talent to potentially be the team's most dangerous runner. He also proved this spring that he has to do a far better job of not putting the ball on the ground. He's a home run hitter who only got 17 carries for 60 yards with a touchdowns, and caught nine passes for 90 yards and a score.

    Watch Out For ... the coaching staff to realize it has a fantastic group of backs. The good runners were underutilized as the offense revolved around the passing attack. That'll change in a big hurry.
    Strength: Size/speed ratio. Baker and Brown are big backs who can move, Eugene is a smaller back who can fly. They can all tear off yards in chunks.
    Weakness: Finding the right combination. The old coaching staff never quite juggled the backs the right way. All three can carry the workload, and it might take a few games before O'Brien and his staff realize exactly what they want to do to get everyone involved.
    Outlook: O'Brien did a good job over the last three years of using L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender in a dual role at BC. Each was productive, able to see time and keep the other fresh. The talent is there to be far, far better 79th in the nation in rushing, and the staff will do a tremendous job of getting everyone to play up to their potential.
    Rating: 7.5

    Receivers

    Projected Starters: The strength of the offense, and maybe the team, the top two receivers are back, but things could've been so much better. Senior Anthony Hill, who caught 45 passes for 478 yards, was the league's premier tight end, but he was lost in the summer to a torn ACL and will be out for the year. That means 6-2, 239-pound senior Marcus Stone, a former star quarterback prospect who struggled mightily when he finally got his shot, has to step up. He completed a mere 48% of his passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions, and now he'll be tried out as a full-time receiver after catching four passes for 68 yards.

    Back at the Z is 6-1, 218-pound senior John Dunlap after catching 30 passes for 392 yards and a team-leading four scores. He's now more than a year removed from a torn ACL he suffered while playing basketball, and now he needs to be more of a deep threat. He has the speed along with the size to be far more dangerous

    http://cfn.scout.com/2/639679.html
  3. BoltsFanUK
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    2007 NC State Preview - Defense

    What you need to know: This will be a solid defense, but it won't be spectacular. It could be fantastic in 2008 when all the promising young prospects are ready to shine, but for now, this will be a good, sound D that should be far more consistent than last year. Demario Pressley and Martrel Brown lead a strong line that should be the strength, while three senior linebackers will keep the mistakes to a minimum. The secondary has to come up with more big plays after helping the Pack pick off just seven passes.

    Returning Leaders
    Tackles: DaJuan Morgan, 82
    Sacks: Martel Brown, 7
    Interceptions: DaJuan Morgan, 2

    Star of the defense: Senior DT Demario Pressley
    Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore DT Alan Michael Cash
    Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore DE Willie Young
    Best pro prospect: Pressley
    Top three all-star candidates: 1) Pressley, 2) DE Martrel Brown, 3) SS DaJuan Morgan
    Strength of the defense: Line, experienced linebacker
    Weakness of the defense: Playmaking corners

    Defensive Line

    Projected Starters: The line should be good if the two returning starters play up to their talent. 6-3, 295-pound senior Demario Pressley was a superstar recruit a few years ago and started to live up to the hype last year with 46 tackles, two sacks and seven tackles for loss as an every game starter at right tackle. He has the potential to be a first day draft pick with another big season, and he'll get every chance to show off what he can do as the anchor and main man on the inside. Quick enough to play end at times, he'll start at tackle.

    The other returning starter is 6-2, 290-pound senior Martrel Brown, who's built like a tackle but has next-level pass rushing skills making seven sacks and eight tackles for loss to go along with 49 tackles. A tough run defender, he moved outside after mostly playing tackle as a sophomore and flourished in the full-time role. He had a few problems with a slight knee injury, but fought through it and finished the year.

    The biggest hole to fill is at left tackle, where second-leading tackler Tank Tyler is gone. 6-1, 291-pound sophomore Alan Michael Cash isn't Tyler, but he's a quick, active defender who can hold his own against the run. Little used as a reserve, he finally got a starting spot in the season finale when Pressley was dinged up, and finished the year with 13 tackles and a sack.

    Taking over for on the left end will be 6-6, 244-pound senior Littleton Wright, who'll be a part of a steady rotation. The former top JUCO transfer didn't do much in his first season, seeing time in just eight games and making 14 tackles with a sack, but he has the size and the athleticism to become a good pass rusher, and he's tough to throw over with four batted down passes.

    Projected Top Reserves: Even if Wright gets the start, 6-5, 230-pound sophomore Willie Young will see plenty of action, if not take over the job on the left side after starting three of the final four games. With tremendous speed, he's a promising pass rusher who cranked out 15 quarterback pressures and three tackles for loss. Now he has to do a better job of closing after not making a sack. He also proved he can make plays against the run with 60 tackles.

    Playing inside behind Pressley, and possibly moving to the other spot to see a little starting time, is 6-2, 272-pound sophomore Ted Larsen, who had a nice first season with 30 tackles, two sacks and four tackles for loss. While he's a bit undersized, he has a non-stop motor.

    Watch Out For ... a big year from the front four. The defensive scheme will stick with a 4-3 and put more emphasis on making plays at the line. Pressley and Brown have All-ACC potential.
    Strength: Getting into the backfield. This is a quick front four that can get to the backfield from each spot. The ends aren't the only good pass rushers, Cash, Pressley and Larsen will make their share of plays.
    Weakness: Replacing the Tank. There's a reason DeMarcus Tyler was a third round draft pick. Pressley has the potential to be even better, but finding that second tackle, hoping for Cash, Larsen or John Bedics to step in, will be vital.
    Outlook: The line will be the strength of the defense, as long as Pressley and Brown are healthy. It'll be a tough overall group to pound the ball on with decent size at all four spots, but there aren't mammoth space-eaters on the inside. That's not a big deal; overall quickness will make up for it.
    Rating: 7.5

    Linebackers

    Projected Starters: Only one starter returns to the linebacking corps, but he's a solid veteran. 6-1, 223-pound senior LeRue Rumph has been great for the last few years making 61 tackles in 2005 after moving over from safety, and 69 last year with two sacks and six tackles for loss. Always a solid tackler, he turned into a more disruptive force over the second half of the season after being turned loose into the backfield. Now he'll be the one everyone works around on the strongside.

    Taking over in the middle for heart-and-soul star Pat Lowery will be 6-1, 236-pound senior James Martin, who made 12 tackles as the starter in the first four games on the strongside before suffering a dislocated wrist, knocking him out for the year. He came back from a torn ACL to see a little time as a backup defensive end, and he started to come on as a linebacker before the wrist problem. He should be tough on the inside.

    On the weakside, in place of Reggie Davis, will be 6-2, 225-pound senior Ernest Jones, who made 68 stops and two sacks in a reserve role with one start against Wake Forest. While he's solid and doesn't miss many stops, he doesn't do nearly enough against the pass. Even so, he makes a lot of plays and should be one of the team's leading tacklers.

    Projected Top Reserves: The seniors dominate the initial starting lineup, but it could be a sophomore, 6-0, 224-pound Ray Michael, who changes all that in the middle. A potentially dynamic defender, he's a huge hitter who was a great special teamer and did a decent job in the little time he got on defense, making 15 tackles.

    A smaller, quicker option on the strongside behind Rumph will be 6-1, 207-pound redshirt freshman Nate Irving, a good prospect who should be good in pass coverage and has good open field hitting skills. Irving and fellow redshirt freshman, 5-11, 210-pound John Ware, could be the ones who make a decent corps more dangerous.

    Watch Out For ... Rumph to have an All-ACC caliber season. He battled for the starting strongside job last year, lost, and then took over once Martin got hurt. He was great, and now he should be special. If he can come up with a few splashy plays here and there, he'll get all-star recognition.
    Strength: Veterans. Martin might have gotten hurt and Jones might have mostly been a backup, but the starting trio are all seniors and they've all logged plenty of minutes.
    Weakness: Big plays. The starting three is great at getting to the ball and coming up with the tackle, but it isn't great at forcing turnovers or scaring anyone. Michael, Ware and Irving have to use their speed to be the disruptive forces when they're in the game.
    Outlook: It's a very good, very sound linebacking corps, but it's not special. It won't do enough to help out the pass defense, and it'll do just enough to clean up everything the line misses. It's not a weakness by any stretch, but it's also not going to be a dominant strength.
    Rating: 6.5

    Defensive Backs

    Projected Starters: Senior free safety Miguel Scott has been a regular for the last few seasons making 53 tackles in 2005 and 63 stops last year. Now he has to show he can do more against the pass with only two interceptions in the last two seasons and a mere five broken up passes. A great athlete and a good hitter, being physical isn't the problem.

    While Scott struggles to come up with the big play when the ball is in the air, 6-1, 200-pound junior DaJuan Morgan is a ball-hawker who finished fourth on the team with 82 tackles with a team-leading two interceptions. A part-time starter who also starred on special teams, he makes things happen whenever he's on the field. Now he has the starting strong safety job to himself.

    The right cornerback job is the most competitive on the defense with 6-0, 191-pound junior J.C. Neal listed first on the depth chart going into the fall. A backup last year who came up with 18 tackles and four broken up passes at free safety, he was a playmaker at corner throughout spring and should be physical.

    The other corner job will likely go to 6-2, 186-pound junior Jeremy Gray, who made 18 tackles and broke up seven passes. He was solid throughout spring ball showing good tackling skills along with the potential to become a number one cover corner. He doesn't miss open field tackles.

    Projected Top Reserves: If Neal isn't the starter at right corner, it might be 5-11, 181-pound senior Jimmie Sutton, who started at times throughout last year making 49 tackles, but he wasn't fantastic when it came to making game-changing plays when the bal was in the air. A good, experienced athlete, he'll find time somewhere
    http://cfn.scout.com/2/639681.html
  4. BoltsFanUK
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    2007 NC State Preview - Depth Chart

    OFFENSE Returning Starters: 8

    QB 7 Daniel Evans 6-2 191 Jr. OR
    12 Harrison Beck 6-2 213 So. OR
    10 Justin Burke 6-3 210 RFr.

    HB 22 Toney Baker 5-10 225 Jr.
    24 Andre Brown 6-0 232 Jr.
    29 Jamelle Eugene 5-10 195 So.

    FB 46 Pat Bedics 6-0 239 Sr.
    26 Ced Hickman 6-1 245 RFr.

    WR (X) 2 Darrell Blackman 5-10 205 Sr.
    80 Donald Bowens 6-3 200 So.
    15 Darrell Davis 6-4 200 RFr.

    WR (Z) 1 John Dunlap 6-1 218 Sr.
    5 Jarvis Williams 6-4 205 RFr.
    13 Owen Spencer 6-3 180 Fr.

    TE 9 Marcus Stone 6-2 239 Sr.
    89 Matt Kushner 6-4 256 So.
    83 Anthony Hill 6-6 265 Sr. INJURED

    LT 73 Julian Williams 6-5 292 So.
    60 Meares Green 6-4 295 Jr.

    LG 69 Kalani Heppe 6-4 300 Sr.
    66 Yomi Ojo 6-3 310 Sr.

    C 72 Luke Lathan 6-4 292 Sr.
    74 Andy Barbee 6-3 303 So.

    RG 76 Curtis Crouch 6-5 335 Jr.
    71 Gary Gregory 6-4 305 RFr.

    RT 50 Jerrail McCuller 6-7 330 So.
    63 Garret Kline 6-6 315 Sr.

    DEFENSE Returning Starters: 5

    LE 98 Littleton Wright 6-6 244 Sr.
    97 Willie Young 6-5 230 So

    LT 49 Alan Michael Cash 6-1 291 So.
    93 John Bedics 6-4 283 Jr.

    RT 92 DeMario Pressley 6-3 295 Sr.
    91 Ted Larsen 6-2 272 So.

    RE 41 Martrel Brown 6-2 290 Sr.
    11 Audi Augustin 6-2 250 RFr.

    SLB 52 LeRue Rumph 6-1 223 Sr.
    56 Nate Irving 6-1 207 RFr.

    MLB 93 James Martin, II 6-1 236 Sr.
    44 Ray Michel 6-0 224 So.

    WLB 5 Ernest Jones 6-2 225 Sr.
    45 John Ware 5-11 210 RFr.

    LCB 30 Jeremy Gray 6-2 186 Jr.
    6 Levin Neal 5-11 191 Jr.

    SS 7 DaJuan Morgan 6-1 200 Jr.
    4 Javon Walker 6-0 188 RFr.

    S 25 Miguel Scott 6-0 195 Sr.
    34 Robbie Leonard 6-0 190 Jr.

    RCB 14 J.C. Neal 6-0 191 Jr.
    24 Phillip Holloman 5-11 194 Sr.
    8 Jimmie Sutton, III 5-11 181 Sr.

    SPECIALISTS
    PK 36 Josh Czajkowski 5-9 178 RFr.
    33 Nate Franklin 6-0 165 RFr.
    P Jeff Ruiz 6-2 185 Jr.
    33 Nate Franklin 6-0 165 RFr.

    http://cfn.scout.com/2/639682.html

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