Tuesday, October 6, 2009

O'Brien still drilling Wilson on pocket passing

During his weekly coach’s television show, N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien saw Russell Wilson step forward in the pocket, find a running lane and sprint forward for a 9-yard gain to Wake Forest’s 4-yard line.

On the show, O’Brien said Wilson needs to do that more often. He didn’t mean necessarily running the ball – N.C. State’s staff has been pleased with the way Wilson has looked to get the ball to his receivers this season.

Wilson’s tendency when he feels pressure is to retreat back from the pocket, sprint to the side away from the pressure and throw on the run or scramble for yards.

"He’s got to step up in the pocket a little more,” O’Brien said during his weekly news conference Monday. “There’s been holes up inside, and he’s been going out, back and around. Now he was able to do it with Pittsburgh and he was able to do it at Wake Forest. He wasn’t able to do it with South Carolina. So you have to do it right all the time."

Wilson said stepping up into the pocket might help him see downfield better.

"I’ve just got to keep getting better at it and focusing on it,” Wilson said. “I feel like I hang in there as long as I can for the most part. I feel like there are definitely times I can hang in there a little bit longer."

This work on a basic fundamental of quarterbacking gives a glimpse of the disconnection between how coaches and fans can view a player. After Wilson passed for 322 yards and ran for 91 against Pittsburgh, one fan sent an e-mail to a Charlotte Observer reporter saying Wilson had played a nearly perfect game.

Although the performance was good enough to earn Wilson ACC offensive back of the week honors, N.C. State’s coaches didn’t grade him above 90 percent.

Even though Wilson was voted first-team All-ACC last season as a redshirt freshman, O’Brien had a lot of things he needed Wilson to work on. Although Wilson’s numbers sometimes make him seem like Superman, O’Brien sees that he can get better.

O’Brien admired the way Wake Forest’s Riley Skinner stepped up in the pocket last week. He was sacked six times, but he found enough throwing lanes to pass for 361 yards.

"Those are some of the things that we have to work with him on, and he’s still a young kid,” O’Brien said. “You look at 40-plus starts for Riley Skinner compared to what, 12 or 15 (actually 16) for Russell, there’s a big disparity in maturity level there."

・Wilson, who usually is guarded and unfailingly positive during interviews, appeared to slip up for just a moment Tuesday during his weekly news conference.

He was talking about how Duke was the only ACC school other than N.C. State that offered him a scholarship. He said Duke is “a great school.”

He said he thought when he was in high school that he could change the atmosphere at Duke if he accepted that scholarship.

"It’s a basketball school, to be honest with you,” Wilson said.

Could it be that Wilson was providing bulletin board material to this week’s opponent?


But they’ve got a great football program, now,” he continued. “. . .I liked their academics and stuff, their beautiful campus and everything like that, and the future I would have if I went there. But at the same time, there’s something about N.C. State. I just loved the atmosphere here."

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

OH NO HE DIDN't CALL DUKE A BBALL SCHOOL - ummmmm. Duke's last notable season was in 1994. Since then, they have gone 34 - 137 in the wins vs loses for a .199 winning percentage.

I cannot believe RW would state the facts.... Stick to Bball.

704Champ said...

I don't think Wilson meant anything negative by calling Duke a basketball school. If you want to call UNC and Duke basketball schools and call Miami and VT football schools, I wouldn't disagree with you one bit, because thats what they are.