Monday, December 27, 2010

Pack mixes business, pleasure at Champs Bowl

ORLANDO - When coach Tom O'Brien learned N.C. State was headed for the Champs Sports Bowl, he turned to a former staff member for advice on how to handle the week.

The Wolfpack (8-4) will meet No. 22 West Virginia (9-3) in the bowl game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Three years ago, Boston College edged Michigan State 24-21 in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Frank Spaziani, who's now Boston College's head coach, coordinated the Eagles' defense for Jeff Jagodzinski in that game and previously was O'Brien's defensive coordinator at Boston College. Spaziani advised O'Brien to have his players take their amusement park trips early in the week because the walking the players do at the parks can take a toll on their legs.

So N.C. State visited Universal Studios on Dec. 23 after arriving in Orlando, and took a trip to Disney World on Dec. 24 after practicing in the morning.

"They got to experience a lot of the theme parks and had fun that way," O'Brien said this morning at the final news conference before the bowl game. "I think they’ve done a good job focusing when we’ve been in meetings and when we’ve been on the practice field on the task at hand. This team has been pretty businesslike all year. I think they’ve appreciated the opportunity to have some fun, but at the same time understand that this is a very important football game."

Ken Tysiac