Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bright spot for Wolfpack? Forced turnovers

Two games into the season, the most encouraging statistic for N.C. State might be the number of turnovers the Wolfpack has forced.

You'll recall that in 2007, its first season under defensive coordinator Mike Archer, the Wolfpack forced an ACC-low 16 turnovers. With eight turnovers forced in two games, N.C. State already is halfway to that total from last season.

With six interceptions, the Wolfpack already has 60 percent of last year's total. Coach Tom O'Brien said one reason is that the players understand their zone concepts much better than a year ago.

"We’re seeing the ball thrown," O'Brien said. "We’re in much better position in our drops and in our coverages to make plays on the ball, and the kids are making plays and we’re catching balls this year. Some of them we knocked down last year."

The defensive line is playing an important role, too. In particular, juniors Willie Young at end and Alan-Michael Cash at tackle are getting pressure on the quarterback.

If N.C. State doesn't have to blitz much to bother the passer, more players can drop back into coverage.

"The more guys we can sit back in coverage - it's excellent," said cornerback DeAndre Morgan.
So are N.C. State's early results forcing turnovers.

– Ken Tysiac