The Wolfpack...

>> Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tom O'Brien inherited a team that was in the gutter , but has seen his win total increase each of his first three years. Last season wasn't expected to include a bowl appearance, but the breakthrough performance of freshman Russell Wilson changed those expectations.

Wilson showed maturity well beyond his years during his freshman campaign, which included an insane 17 touchdowns compared to 1 interception. Wilson has an opportunity to improve on other aspects of his game this season, because he has an improved receiving core. Owen Spencer leads a trio of wide receivers who are capable of putting up big numbers, including sophomore T.J. Graham who has big play ability. The running back position is a different story. O'Brien had a difficult time finding a consistent backfield mate for Wilson last season, and that problem hasn't been alleviated. Jamelle Eugene and Tony Baker will both attempt to steal the starting position, but keep an eye on freshman James Washington. Whomever wins the running back battle will have a solid offensive line to run behind, including tackles Jeraill McCuller and Jake Vermiglio. If the offense can score enough points, N.C. State's defense will help them win games.

Mike Archer's defense returns seven starters from a solid squad last season and is lead by linebacker Nate Irving and defensive end Willie young. Archer's defense also returns defensive tackle, Alan-Michael Cash and the majority of his secondary. DeAndre Morgan is an extremely talented cornerback and can basically shut down his side of the field. If the Wolfpack defense makes the same strides this season as last, they could really do some damage within the ACC.

The recruiting haul was not something to be extremely proud of this season. O'Brien brought in the 52nd ranked class ( in the country. His class was filled with players from across the country, including 6'6", 344 pound, Tyson Chandler. Chandler is a huge body that has the ability to play on either side of the ball. He'll be joined by Jarvis Byrd, a defensive back from the state of Florida.

September 3rd-South Carolina-Loss
September 12th-Murray State-Win
September 19th-Gardner-Webb-Win
September 26th-Pittsburgh-Win
October 3rd-@Wake Forest-Loss
October 10th-Duke-Win
October 17th-@Boston College-Win
October 31st-@Florida State-Loss
November 7th-Maryland-Win
November 14th-Clemson-Win
November 21st-@Virginia Tech-Loss
November 28th-North Carolina-Win

Season Projection: 8-4 (5-3 ACC)