Thursday, November 13, 2008

N.C. State, Wake share many similarities

When coaches Tom O’Brien and Jim Grobe look across the field to the opposite sideline on Saturday, in some respects it will be like looking in the mirror.

Yes, O’Brien is a lot taller than Grobe.

And Grobe’s Wake Forest program is much more established than O’Brien’s in his second season at N.C. State.

But the similarities between the programs are obvious.

Start with recruiting. Both coaches gravitate toward tough-minded, high-character, high-GPA types who might not be at the absolute top of the recruiting rankings.

Both coaches redshirt most of their freshmen. Both like to play bruising, physical football that lacks razzle dazzle but is reliably, consistently efficient.

“That would be a real compliment to me if people felt like our program was similar to the way Tom runs his,” Grobe said. “We’ve admired what he’s done certainly at Boston College, and I know what he’s doing at N.C. State is going to pay dividends.”

Grobe listed some traits of O’Brien’s teams. Grobe said they’re disciplined, play hard every snap and don’t beat themselves.

He was told it sounded like he had just described a Wake Forest team, too.

“That’s the goal,” Grobe said, laughing. “I wish I could say we do that all the time. The goal is certainly to be able to go out and have kids play hard and hopefully look like they’ve been coached.”

Scheme-wise, there are significant differences between Grobe and O’Brien, although Wake Forest’s new emphasis on downhill running makes the Deacons look a bit more like an O’Brien team than in the past.

Grobe also is more open with the media in terms of allowing reporters to attend practice and talk to players. But these differences are minor.

Bottom line, perennial ACC title contender Grobe and O’Brien are speaking the same language. As N.C. State struggles to improve on a 3-6 start this season, that’s a comforting thing for restless Wolfpack fans hoping things will get better in the future.

– Ken Tysiac


patrick said...

Thank you so much KEN for writing good articles on the pack. Everyone else seems to be so far up the tarholes holes that they cant write about any other school. Wake Forest deserves some hype as well. Thanks for all you do and keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!