By Paxton Delany
The Wolfpack’s 2011 season went 4-4 in the ACC and 8-5 overall. The ACC wins came against UVa (28-14), UNC (13-0), Clemson (37-13) and Maryland (56-41). NC State went to the Belk Bowl and topped Louisville (31-24). Led by coach Tom O’Brien since 2007, NCSU will be looking to do better this season.
Coach O’Brien added new faces to his coaching staff this offseason. Corey Edmond becomes the new strength and conditioning coach. Desmond Kitchings comes over from the Air Force Academy as the new running backs coach. Finally, Troy Walters made the move from Texas A&M to take over as wide receivers coach.
Several key players stepped away from the Pack; five were drafted into the NFL. Wide receiver T.J. Graham went to the Buffalo Bills. Linebacker Terrell Manning went to Green Bay. Linebacker Audie Cole went to the Minnesota Vikings. Defensive ends J.R. Sweezy and Markus Kuhn went to the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants, respectively.
Still, many key players return for the 2012 season. That includes senior quarterback Mike Glennon and senior running back James Washington. Many of the returning players have been named to various watch lists. Junior cornerback David Amerson and Glennon are the most often recognized on those lists.
Spring training means basics, O’Brien says. Coach O’Brien also put his Wolfpack through a “judgment day workout” to develop leaders and bond his team together. “I think that the biggest thing our players take from this is for each man to realize that the guy on his left and the guy on his right is more important than he is, to realize that to be successful as individuals, they have to help their teammates be successful,” O’Brien said about his motives for administering a Marine program to his team.
On March 21, the 4th annual Kay Yow Spring Game was played in which the black team (1st string defense & 2nd team offense) defeated the white team (1st team offense & 2nd team defense) 32-7. Glennon completed 15 of 20 passes for 154 four yards. His QB counterpart Tyler Brosius hit 15 of 27 passes for 184 yards. Key player Tony Creecy had 16 rushes for 45 yards, while Bryan Underwood had 6 rushes for 109 yards. Asa Watson gained 74 receiving yards. Amerson picked off a Glennon pass; Earl Wolff did the same with an interception and 46-yard touchdown return.
NC State is predicted to fall third in the ACC’s Atlantic Division by Athlon. The Wolfpack open the season on Aug. 31 against Tennessee. Other games include Connecticut (Sept. 8), South Alabama (Sept. 15), Miami (Sept. 29), Florida State (Oct. 6), UNC (Oct. 27), UVa (Nov. 3), and Clemson (Nov. 17).