Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ex-Pack coach Holtz: Few positives in '08 team

Lou Holtz said he will never forget seeing offensive guard Bill Yoest spouting off in the N.C. State locker room after a practice during Holtz’s first spring as the Wolfpack’s coach.

Yoest, who didn’t realize Holtz was in the locker room, was complaining about the new coach.

The next day, Holtz took Yoest aside. Holtz told him what he’d heard in the locker room. Then Holtz said Yoest was right. The new coach was crazy.

“You’ve really got it figured out,” Holtz said he told Yoest. “These other guys aren’t as smart as you are. You keep it to yourself.”

Holtz said Yoest changed after that conversation. Yoest went on to become a team captain and a consensus All-American in 1973.

He is just one of the players Holtz loves to brag on from the four seasons (1972-75) he spent at N.C. State. During a phone interview Tuesday, Holtz reminisced about playing pickup basketball against the players and getting roughed up by Mike Devine, who made All-ACC as a defensive back in 1974.

“Johnny Evans, Ted Brown,” he said, rattling off the names of some of his favorites. “Good Lord, Pat Hovance, Pat Kenney, the Druschel brothers, Justus Everett. . . .Willie Burden, Charley Young, Roland Hooks, Steve Lester - who couldn’t run but always could get open.”

Holtz, 71, now works as a studio analyst for ESPN. He obviously has fond memories of his time at N.C. State, but doesn’t have much hope for the team this season.

“On paper this year, it looks like they’re going to struggle,” Holtz said.

His notes on the Wolfpack rustled in his hands. He saw that N.C. State returns just four starters on defense and lost all three linebacker starters.

He saw that the team might start a freshman at quarterback and has a new kicker. Holtz makes a nice income as a motivational speaker, but even he found it difficult to paint a positive outlook for the current team despite his fondness for the school.

“There isn’t a whole lot to be optimistic about there,” he said, “except for (coach) Tom O’Brien.”

- Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

This is the same man that in a radio inteview with Mark Packer said that NCSU had issues at running back and that Notre Dame was going to win 10 games. Holtz was great in his prime, but that has was a long time ago. He needs to fade out of the limelight and stop pretending that he knows what he's talking about. State is going to struggle some, but if you listen to Lou, we're going to be one of the worst teams in the country.

Besides, who says only returning 4 starters on an offese that was horrible is a bad thing ...

Michael said...

Umm...ND could EASILY win 10 games. Have you LOOKED at their schedule?