Monday, September 7, 2009

No lineup changes for Pack

N.C. State did not make any lineup changes after Thursday night's 7-3, season-opening loss to South Carolina, according to the depth chart released Monday.

Coach Tom O'Brien said at his weekly news conference Monday that he feels confident he has the right players at the right positions on the offensive line even though the Wolfpack gave up six sacks to the Gamecocks.

N.C. State plays host to Murray State at 6 p.m. Saturday.

O'Brien said losing left offensive tackle Jake Vermiglio to a calf injury early in the game hurt N.C. State. The Wolfpack moved left guard Julian Williams to tackle and played redshirt freshman Andrew Wallace at left guard.

N.C. State was penalized just four times in the game, and Wallace was called for three of them. His fouls wiped out a deep reception by Owen Spencer and a run for a first down by Toney Baker.

Citing the ACC’s injury policy, which calls for status updates on players only on Thursdays unless they are out for the season or have had surgery, O’Brien refused to discuss Vermiglio’s status for Saturday’s game. He also wouldn’t talk about cornerback DeAndre Morgan, a returning starter who didn’t play against the Gamecocks because of an ankle injury.

O’Brien tipped his hand a bit on running back Jamelle Eugene, who missed the late stages of Thursday’s game because of injury. O’Brien said freshman James Washington, who took Eugene’s place against South Carolina, will play in a backup role behind Toney Baker if Eugene is unable to practice this week.

Sophomore quarterback Russell Wilson was the subject of much of the hype entering N.C. State’s preseason opener against South Carolina.

Even though Wilson failed to direct the Wolfpack to a touchdown in a 7-3 loss Thursday night, the demands for improvement are largely being directed at his supporting cast.

O'Brien said the offensive line didn’t protect Wilson well, as he was sacked six times. O’Brien also expressed frustration at five dropped passes.

Three of Wilson’s final four throws could have been caught – two of them in the end zone.
"We can’t be dropping five balls against a defense like that,” O’Brien said. “And the other thing that cost us on offense is two penalties that took away, 50, 60 yards of gain for us.”

Ken Tysiac