Part of N.C. State week ...
To get a jump on previewing this year's Boston College vs. N.C. State game, we welcome back the boys at Backing the Pack back to the blog for Five Good Minutes.
Backing The Pack: Depends on who you ask, of course, but I would say that the majority of NC State fans are on board with Tom O'Brien's decision, which is a little surprising to me. A couple different factors made this offseason different. We're replacing several starters at wide receiver, so it was more important for our quarterback to be around for spring practice and build rapport with the new guys. And we'd gotten to a critical point where uncertainty could have resulted in Mike Glennon deciding to transfer. He's a junior, so for his future it was sort of a now or never situation. It came down to one year of Russell Wilson vs. two years of Mike Glennon, and O'Brien decided on the latter.
I'd have brought Russell Wilson back and gone all-in on this season, but it isn't my coaching career at stake.
BCI: If O'Brien was confident enough to ditch a successful QB for a younger recruit, there must be a ton of pressure on Glennon to succeed this season. Can you talk about what expectations are for your signal caller?
BTP: There will be a lot of pressure, no doubt, because like you said, this is THE story. Glennon's results will be compared to Wilson's results at Wisconsin every week, fair or not. It's a difficult situation for Glennon, but I think he can handle it. I know the coaches believe he will.
As far as ballparking Glennon's performance, that's not something I'm comfortable doing. I think most of us expect that he'll be an effective quarterback, and by that I mean he'll play well enough to avoid becoming a liability. Really going out on a limb there, I know.
BCI: The Wolfpack had a very underrated defense last season (29th in scoring). Who are some of the stars on defense that Eagles fans should know?
BTP: That was the big surprise a year ago, and the primary reason why O'Brien finally broke through with a winning season, as the offense performed pretty much as it had in 2009. The defense returns eight starters and I expect that side of the ball to be a strength once again.
While Nate Irving is gone, Audie Cole should be a fine replacment at MLB--he had a breakout season at outside linebacker in 2010 and shouldn't be troubled by a move to the middle. Between Cole and Terrell Manning, in general I don't think the linebacking corps is going to be too bothered by Irving's departure. I feel better about that group than I have in a long time. Now they just need to stay healthy.
In the secondary, safety Earl Wolff emerged as one of the better defensive backs in the league and could be poised for an all-ACC season. Thanks to Wolff's efforts and the maturation of the corners, State's secondary went from embarrassment in 2009 to reliable in 2010. A big reason why the defense was better as a whole.
BCI: Are Wolfpack fans experiencing some schaudenfreude from all the negative attention the Tar Heels are getting?
BTP: Are you kidding? You should see the message boards. Hell, some message board posters have actually affected the investigation by researching documents that were made available to the public. One dude found an instance of plagiarism that had eluded UNC administrators. It's fair to say that schadenfreude is at an all-time high in Raleigh.
BCI: Tom O'Brien never has won at Alumni Stadium with the 'Pack. Think that changes this season?
BTP: I lean towards no, mainly because I figure BC's defense could be overwhelming for a first-year starter like Mike Glennon. It feels like a tossup game that could go either way, but I'll give the Eagles the edge at home.
For more information on the NC State Wolfpack, head over SB Nation's Backing the Pack.