Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ESPN's Palmer: Pack-SC 'different' in '09

ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer made his Thursday night broadcasting debut last season during South Carolina’s 34-0 defeat of N.C. State in Columbia.

Palmer, who will work the teams’ rematch on Sept. 3 in Raleigh, shared his pre-game thoughts in a telephone interview this week:

On the significance of last season’s rout: "Last year, both these teams met in the first game of the season and it was certainly very one-sided in favor of South Carolina. This year, I think, is different because the game is at N.C. State. I think you look at the way Tom O’Brien’s team played down the stretch last year. Even though they lost to Rutgers in the Bowl, this team really matured down the stretch. And looking back on last year if you had told me after that South Carolina game that Russell Wilson was going to be offensive rookie of the year and throw 17 touchdowns and only one interception, I probably would have told you, you were crazy. But you look at the way he developed down the stretch, it was so impressive. And there are so many playmakers on that side of the football.”

On the N.C. State skill players who complement QB Russell Wilson: "Jamelle Eugene, I know is a guy they’re very excited about. Toney Baker is back healthy at running back and Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer were two guys at receiver that came on down the stretch. George Bryan was a guy they found out was a good player midway through the season. So I’m really excited. I think this N.C. State team, I don’t know that they’re necessarily going to creep up on anybody this year because of the way they finished down the stretch and winning games against Wake Forest, UNC and Miami."

On the Gamecocks: "South Carolina, we know about the athleticism and the speed. I think the big question offensively is two things. One, Stephen Garcia and his ability to really take control of Spurrier’s offense and make plays. There were a lot of turnovers last year from the quarterback position, and that’s something that really needs to get shored up on that side of the football or it’s just going to be another so-so year at South Carolina. They were last in the SEC at running the football, so they have to get more physical up front. And they have to be willing to do that. I think defensively, we’ve seen the last couple years South Carolina has been good on defense. Under Ellis Johnson, the defensive coordinator, we expect them to be good again on that side of the football."

On N.C. State’s outlook for the season: "This is a completely different N.C. State team this year. Now they started off very slowly last year, but that was because they had a lot of inexperience. I’m really excited to see if Tom O’Brien’s unit can get off to a quick start and hit the ground running. Because who knows what can happen? The ACC in a lot of people’s minds is an up-for-grabs conference, so I’m really excited about this first game."

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

IF Jesse is excited then I am excited.