Monday, October 12, 2009

O'Brien has faith in defensive plan, Archer

N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien said Monday that he has “complete faith” in the Wolfpack’s defensive plan and defensive coordinator Mike Archer.

"He’s got the experience,” O’Brien said. “He’s been through situations like this before. The worst thing you can do is panic and the old, ‘Woe is me,’ and make wholesale changes. We have a plan. We’re confident in our plan. We have to recruit to the plan and get people to do things we want them to do.”

On Saturday, N.C. State’s defense was shredded by quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who went 40-for-50 for 459 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-28 win by Duke at Carter-Finley Stadium. The previous week, the Wolfpack gave up 361 passing yards to Riley Skinner in a 30-24 loss at Wake Forest.

O’Brien complimented both Skinner and Lewis on Monday, raving about their experience and poise as seniors who have been starting since they were freshmen. He said Lewis particularly deserves a lot of credit after what O’Brien said was the best performance he has ever seen by a quarterback.

But O’Brien said N.C. State’s players also aren’t making stops they need to make. On at least a few third-down plays, N.C. State was in position to force a punt or field goal attempt but failed.

The Blue Devils converted 13 of 19 third downs, and O’Brien cited the defense’s failure on the very first third down of the game as an example. On third-and-7, Lewis dumped a short pass to Austin Kelly, who eluded the defense and broke free for a 15-yard gain.

"Kids have got to make plays,” O’Brien said. “It’s not the scheme and it’s not the coaches. Right now we’ve got to make plays. No more great example than the first two third downs in the game where we’re in perfect position to make plays and don’t get the guy on the ground.”

N.C. State (3-3, 0-2 ACC) will try to end a two-game losing skid when it visits Boston College (4-2, 2-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Boston College’s quarterback, David Shinskie, is a 25-year-old freshman who joined the Eagles after spending seven years playing professional baseball.

In the third season since O’Brien left Boston College for N.C. State, the Eagles remain a power running team with a strong offensive line and have a talented sophomore running back in Montel Harris. O’Brien said Shinskie probably will be eager to take his shots against the N.C. State secondary.

Wolfpack free safety Clem Johnson is counting on it.

"We can expect them to attack where we’ve been struggling at the last couple weeks, and that’s been the secondary,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re going to focus on this week, getting better.”

N.C. State did make one personnel change in the secondary, reinstating freshman Rashard Smith as the starting boundary cornerback. Smith, who also started against Murray State and Gardner-Webb, missed two games because of injury before returning against Duke in a reserve role.

O’Brien said that leaves the secondary aligned the way he wants it, with Smith and junior DeAndre Morgan starting at cornerback while senior Johnson and Bobby Floyd play safety.

The Wolfpack lost one possible solution with Monday’s announcement that junior safety Javon Walker needs a third knee surgery and is giving up football. Walker made four productive starts in 2007 before suffering the injury that ended his career.

"He could have helped us a lot,” O’Brien said. “It’s tough for him, but he made the right choice.”

So if the current group can’t get the job done in the secondary, O’Brien said the Wolfpack’s problems will have to be addressed through recruiting and the young players in the program. N.C. State has three scholarship defensive backs – Jarvis Byrd, Dean Haynes and Donald Coleman – in line to redshirt as freshmen this fall.

"We’ve got some guys redshirted,” O’Brien said. “I’d rather not take them up this year. There’s eight freshmen, whether redshirt or true freshmen, in the secondary on this roster right now. So I think the future is bright. But the future is in Boston on Saturday.”

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Archer is shit!

Anonymous said...

TOB is the Sendek of football. Maybe he can join Herb out in the desert.

Tom O'Brien said...

Wrong Anonymous - ARCHER is worse than shit. We have one of the better d-lines in the ACC and still getting racked up for 500 yards per game. Same thing at Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

Herb Sendek is doing better than Lowe. If you think Lowe is better than Sendek and TOB is a good coach then you guys deserve what you get, losses.

Anonymous said...

You all just wish he was Sendek. At least Sendek had winning records! TOB sucks.