ACC: Art Norman

NC State Wolfpack season preview

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
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Previewing the 2014 season for the NC State Wolfpack:

Key returners: RB Shadrach Thornton (768 yards, 4 TD), WR Bryan Underwood (32 catches, 382 yards), OT Joe Thuney, DE Art Norman (9 TFL, 4.5 sacks), DT Thomas Teal (10.5 TFL, 3 sacks), S Hakim Jones (61 tackles, 2 INT), LB Brandon Pittman (63 tackles, 8 TFL, 3 sacks)

Key losses: WR Rashard Smith, WR Quintin Payton, DB Dontae Johnson, LB D.J. Green, LB Robert Caldwell

Most important games: Sept. 27 versus FSU, Oct. 4 at Clemson, Oct. 18 at Louisville, Nov. 29 at North Carolina

Projected win percentage: .479

Vegas over/under: 5.5 wins

[+] EnlargeShadrach Thornton
MCT via Getty ImagesShadrach Thornton rushed for 768 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Instant impact newcomers: Jacoby Brissett sat out 2013 after transferring from Florida. He’ll now be counted on not just as the team’s starting quarterback, but as its offensive leader and, in many ways, the program’s savior. Freshman wideout Bo Hines had a huge spring game and has quickly emerged as one of Brissett’s favorite targets. Defensive end Kentavius Street and tackle Justin Jones could add some serious physicality to a defensive line that was often boom-or-bust in 2013.

Biggest question mark: For a team that went winless in ACC play last year, there are plenty of question marks. Brissett’s emergence is chief among them, but coach Dave Doeren seems more than pleased with his QB. Who will emerge among the young receivers for Brissett to throw to? Can the offensive line protect better than it did a year ago? Can the defensive line be more consistently disruptive? Can injured veterans like Underwood, Rob Crisp and Jarvis Byrd come back to make an impact? The list goes on and on, but there’s certainly hope that the Wolfpack have far more answers than they did a year ago.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Brissett proves to be the answer to many of last year’s offensive woes and instantly transforms the Wolfpack into a more dynamic team. The running game proves a strength and the defensive line routinely disrupts the opposition’s game plan. Injured veterans return and young depth emerges. NC State improves as the season progresses, pulls off an upset or two, and returns to postseason play with seven or eight wins.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Brissett isn’t the answer State’s fans had hoped for, and he struggles with a shaky supporting cast. The offensive line never comes together and the defensive front can’t stop the run. Early tests against FSU and Clemson sink the season, and the Wolfpack limp to another lowly finish in an increasingly difficult division.

Number to know: 100, 100, 100. State tailback Matt Dayes is one of just four returning ACC players to accumulate 100 yards rushing, receiving and in the return game last year. He’s not exactly entrenched atop the Wolfpack’s depth chart now, but Doeren did show a propensity for utilizing his most versatile talent last season, when Rashard Smith topped 100 yards rushing (121), receiving (530), on kick returns (310) and punt returns (240). Dayes could easily fill a similar all-purpose role this year.

They said it: “He wants to win, and it's personal. He's got to go do it. We've got to get players around him to help him and all those things, but he has the skill set and the intangibles that you look for when you recruit that position.” - Doeren on Brissett’s role as the team’s leader

Player list for ACC media days

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
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The 2014 college football season is inching ever so closer, with ACC media days set to take place in less than two weeks.

The league released its list of players who will be attending the July 20-21 event at The Grandover Resort in Greensboro, North Carolina. Here they are:

BOSTON COLLEGE
C Andy Gallik, R-Sr.
DB Dominique Williams, R-Sr.

CLEMSON
QB Cole Stoudt, Sr.
DE Vic Beasley, R-Sr.

DUKE
OG Laken Tomlinson, R-Sr.
LB Kelby Brown, R-Sr.

FLORIDA STATE
QB Jameis Winston, R-So.
CB P.J. Williams, Jr.

GEORGIA TECH
OG Shaquille Mason, Sr.
LB Quayshawn Nealy, R-Sr.

LOUISVILLE
WR DeVante Parker, Sr.
DE Lorenzo Mauldin, Sr.

MIAMI
RB Duke Johnson, Jr.
LB Denzel Perryman, Sr.

NORTH CAROLINA
QB Marquise Williams, Jr.
LB Norkeithus Otis, Sr.

NC STATE
RB Tony Creecy, R-Sr.
DE Art Norman, R-Sr.

PITT
WR Tyler Boyd, So.
DB Ray Vinopal, R-Sr.

SYRACUSE
OT Sean Hickey, Sr.
LB Cameron Lynch, Sr.

VIRGINIA
RB Kevin Parks, Sr.
SS Anthony Harris, Sr.

VIRGINIA TECH
WR Willie Byrn, R-Sr.
DT Luther Maddy, DT

WAKE FOREST
FB Jordan Garside, R-Sr.
CB Kevin Johnson, R-Sr.

Midseason report: NC State

October, 15, 2013
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NC State may very well have been a close call away from possibly upsetting Clemson in its ACC opener. It came back and routed Central Michigan to get to 3-1, and things looked bright for first-year coach Dave Doeren and his squad with a favorable schedule awaiting it. Instead, the Wolfpack dropped games at Wake Forest and against Syracuse. They enter a bye, and the midway point of their season, at 3-3 overall but 0-3 in ACC play, and Florida State is awaiting them Oct. 26 in Tallahassee.

Many winnable games are left on the schedule, so the postseason does not appear to be in jeopardy. But the Wolfpack could certainly use a boost offensively, one they are likely to receive next time out from quarterback Brandon Mitchell, who was on the brink of a return from a broken bone in his left foot this past Saturday but ultimately sat out against the Orange.

Pete Thomas, who replaced Mitchell in Week 1 and has started since, has completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 1,314 yards with three touchdowns and eight picks. NC State has averaged just 12.3 points in its three conference games, and its 24.7 points per game on the season has the Pack ranked 91st nationally in that department.

The Wolfpack have gotten help from the run game, which has been solid but not great, and the defense has allowed just 21.2 points per contest, 28th nationally.

The opportunities are there for Doeren and the Pack to have a successful Year 1 together, and perhaps a bye week is coming at the perfect time. But they need to get better and take care of business down the stretch against a lineup that features the likes of struggling North Carolina and nonconference foe East Carolina.

Offensive MVP: Joe Thuney, OG/OT. Talk about versatility: The right guard filled in at right tackle in the opener in place of Tyson Chandler, replaced an injured Rob Crisp at left tackle in the Clemson game and, last year, was the No. 2 center. He has played every offensive line position but left guard so far for the Wolfpack, proving to be an invaluable piece to the unit.

Defensive MVP: Art Norman, DE. The redshirt junior has been a force, tallying a team-best three sacks and six tackles for loss while generating three quarterback hurries. He also has a forced fumble and has a fumble recovery.

NC State season preview

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
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Today, we're looking at NC State, which changed coaches in spite of a third straight bowl appearance last year and is now entering a season of transition.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Coach: Dave Doeren (first year at NC State, 23-4 overall)

2012 record: 7-6 (4-4 ACC)

Key losses: QB Mike Glennon, LG R.J. Mattes, WR Tobais Palmer, LB Rickey Dowdy, S Earl Wolff, CB David Amerson

Key returnees: WR Bryan Underwood, WR Quintin Payton, RB Tony Creecy, DT T.Y. McGill, DE Darryl Cato-Bishop, CB Dontae Johnson

Newcomer to watch: QB Pete Thomas. The redshirt junior sat out all of last season after transferring from Colorado State, but he may be the answer to NC State's gaping need at quarterback this year. A two-year starter before transferring, he threw for 18 touchdowns and completed better than 63 percent of his passes to establish his credentials, then outplayed Manny Stocker this spring to gain an edge on the starting job with the Wolfpack.

Biggest games in 2013: vs. Clemson, Sept. 19; at Florida State, Oct. 26; vs. North Carolina, Nov. 2

[+] EnlargeDave Doeren
Andrew Weber/USA Today SportsCan Dave Doeren lead NC State to a fourth straight bowl game despite losing numerous key members from the 2012 squad?
Biggest question mark heading into 2013: It would be easy enough to look at Miami's dismantling of NC State's secondary to the tune of an ACC record 566 passing yards and assume there was nowhere to go but up. But the truth is, in spite of its notable missteps last season, there was a ton of talent in the defensive backfield, and much of it has moved on for 2013. Gone are longtime stalwarts Amerson, Wolff and Brandan Bishop, meaning a massive overhaul is in store. Johnson is the lone returning regular from last season, and Hakim Jones and Jarvis Byrd will need to step up into bigger roles.

Forecast: The Wolfpack won 24 games in the past three seasons, but it wasn't enough to save Tom O'Brien's job. He was fired before a bowl loss to Vanderbilt, and Doeren, the former Northern Illinois coach, was brought in to right the ship. It's a tall order for the new coach.

It's a year of transition across the board for NC State. Not only has Doeren revamped the coaching staff, but the Wolfpack will be looking for a new starting quarterback after sending Glennon to the NFL. They also must replace four offensive linemen and overhaul a significant portion of the defense. That's a lot of transition, but there is room for optimism.

NC State returns ample talent at the skill positions on offense, including its two top rushers from last season in Creecy and Shadrach Thornton, who combined for nearly 1,200 yards rushing in 2012. Doeren has a strong track record of running the football with success, and after finishing 111th nationally in that department last season, there's plenty of room for improvement.

The secondary is a concern defensively, but NC State does return some serious talent on the line of scrimmage -- including all four starters from a year ago. McGill is a rising star, and Cato-Bishop and Art Norman should disrupt plenty of opposing quarterbacks. Whether it's enough to overcome the questionable defensive backfield, however, remains to be seen.

Of course, the swing vote on the season is likely to be Thomas. NC State's schedule is manageable and there are plenty of weapons on offense if Doeren can find a quarterback capable of exploiting them. It's a new era at NC State, but a fourth straight bowl game isn't out of the question.

Weak and strong: NC State

June, 24, 2013
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We move on in our series looking at the weakest and strongest positions on each team in the ACC with NC State.

Strongest position: Defensive line

Considering the returning starters here, this position is the Wolfpack's most experienced headed into the season. And when you have a veteran line with the ability to get into the opponent's backfield, you can make up for weaknesses on other parts of the defense (we'll get there in a minute). The Wolfpack return T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal in the middle of the line, along with Darryl Cato-Bishop and Art Norman at defensive end. Cato-Bishop (6.5), Norman (5.5) and McGill (5) accounted for 17 of the team's 33 sacks a year ago. But Cato-Bishop and Norman are not quite locks to start opening day. Cato-Bishop was challenged this spring by rising talent Mike Rose, and that position remains open for competition headed into the fall. Forrest West is pushing Norman as well. Defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable does have some concerns over depth at end, but there is a veteran group returning that has proven it can hold its own up front.

Weakest position: Defensive back

There are a number of spots we could have chosen here, as the Wolfpack have major concerns at quarterback, receiver and the offensive line as well. But defensive back has the most questions of all because only one starter returns, and there are some depth concerns here as well. NC State has to replace starting cornerback David Amerson and starting safeties Earl Wolff and Brandan Bishop -- both Amerson and Wolff were selected in the NFL draft this past April. Though Amerson did not have the year everybody expected in 2012, he did start 35 games in his Wolfpack career. Juston Burris, slated to replace him, had a great spring but only has five career starts, all at nickel back. Dontae Johnson, the lone returning starter from a year ago, will be expected to provide leadership for the entire secondary. As for safety, Huxtable also has depth concerns here though coach Dave Doeren was encouraged by the way Jarvis Byrd performed this spring after knee injuries have had a major impact on his career. Sophomore Hakim Jones is ahead of Tim Buckley at the other safety spot. Both are sophomores. Of the eight players listed on the post-spring depth chart, Byrd and Johnson were the only seniors. The other six? Freshmen or sophomores.

More in this series here.
NC State announced its leadership council for 2013 on Friday, a group of 20 players voted on by the team that represents each position on the field.

They are:
Since coach Dave Doeren became head coach, he has had meetings every two weeks to discuss the importance of leadership.

“In each meeting, we have discussed the ‘Wolfpack Commandments,’ which are the qualities and characteristics that I want our team to display," Doeren said in a statement. "In spring practice and in our offseason conditioning program, the team was able to identify which players best display these qualities.”

The “Wolfpack Commandments” are: accountability, hard work, family, faith, detail, loyalty, pride, discipline, urgency, focus, perseverance and “the three P’s” -- preparation, practice, playing to win.

One name that stood out to me: Brissett, who transferred in from Florida and must sit out this season because of NCAA rules. Brissett has only been in Raleigh since January, so he clearly has made a mark on his teammates and coaches with all the hard work he has done in a short period of time, all while knowing he cannot play this season.
2011 overall record: 8-5

2011 conference record: 4-4 (4th, Atlantic)

Returning starters

Offense: 7; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

LT R.J. Mattes, LG Duran Christophe, RG Zach Allen, C Camden Wentz, QB Mike Glennon, RB James Washington, WR Tobais Palmer, DE Brian Slay, DE Art Norman, DE Darryl Cato-Bishop, CB C.J. Wilson, CB David Amerson, S Brandan Bishop, S Earl Wolff

Key losses

WR T.J. Graham, WR Jay Smith, TE George Bryan, RT Mikel Overgaard, DT Markus Kuhn, LB Terrell Manning, LB Audie Cole, LB D.J. Green

2011 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: James Washington* (897 yards)
Passing: Mike Glennon* (3,054 yards)
Receiving: T.J. Graham (757 yards)
Tackles: Audie Cole (108)
Sacks: Audie Cole/Terrell Manning/Art Norman*/Darryl Cato-Bishop* (5.5)
Interceptions: David Amerson* (13)

Spring answers

1. Good luck passing against these DBs. All four starters are back, headed by the record-setting David Amerson, whose 13 picks last season were the most in ACC history. Amerson added another in the spring game. Playing keep-away won't be so easy for opposing quarterbacks, who also have to worry about corner C.J. Wilson, who has returned all three of his career picks for scores.

2. Mike Glennon ready to improve. It wasn't always easy playing in the shadow of Russell Wilson, but Glennon had a strong finish to the 2011 season and had the benefit (or is it horror?) of facing his own secondary this spring. Look for him to build off his 3,000-yard debut season.

3. Glennon's targets should be fine. Despite the loss of T.J. Graham, the Wolfpack figure to be OK at wide receiver. Tobais Palmer had five touchdowns last season and should lead a group that, like Glennon, had its work cut out for it this spring going up against a talented secondary.

Fall questions

1. How will the LBs fare? Graduations, early draft departures and suspensions have hurt the unit. Dontae Johnson is the only returner with extensive playing time, but that came at free safety, a position he left behind this spring. Fifth-year senior Sterling Lucas figures to enter camp as the starter in the middle.

2. How will Rodman Noel transition? The athletic Noel has moved from safety to outside linebacker, and a strong jump from him could provide a big boost to the young unit. Look for him to be used all over the field in a hybrid-like role for the Wolfpack.

3. Can Mustafa Greene emerge? Legal problems and injuries have hurt the running back, who would be returning to play behind an experienced offensive line if he can work his way back into playing time. Greene totaled 869 yards and six touchdowns during his true freshman campaign of 2010.

ACC's players of the week

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
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Here are the ACC's players of the week, as announced and written by the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.

OFFENSIVE BACK – Mike Glennon, NC State, Sr., QB, 6-6, 232, Centreville, Va.

Glennon completed 19 of 29 pass attempts for 253 yards and three touchdowns and did not throw an interception. Glennon got more and more prolific as the game went along, completing 8 of 10 pass attempts for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter as the Wolfpack scored 27 points in the period, then completing 6 of 9 attempts for 138 yards in the third quarter, including a 43-yard touchdown pass to Tobias Palmer and three other passes of 19 yards or longer.

RECEIVER – Chris Givens, Wake Forest, Jr., WR, 6-0, 195, Wylie, Tex.

Givens tied his career-high with eight receptions and set a career-high with 191 receiving yards in Wake Forest’s 31-10 win over Maryland. Givens added a 35-yard touchdown catch from QB Tanner Price. In the process, Givens set the school record for receiving yards in a season with 1,207. That also ranks as the sixth-best season receiving total in ACC history.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Blake DeChristopher, Virginia Tech, Sr., OT, 6-5, 311, Midlothian, Va.

Playing in his last game at Lane Stadium, DeChristopher played all 74 offensive snaps, grading out at 86 percent with a team-high seven knockdown blocks. He had a key push on Logan Thomas on a 4th-and-1 sneak for a first down and sprung David Wilson for several big runs. He has graded out at 91 percent for the season with a team-high 100 knockdown blocks.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Brandon Jenkins, Florida State, Jr., DE, 6-3, 265, Tallahassee, Fla.

Jenkins matched his season-high with six tackles including 2.5 sacks of Virginia QB Michael Rocco. The 2.5 sacks matched a career high for the junior and pushed his season total to a team-leading seven. The preseason All-American and All-ACC candidate now has 10 tackles for loss on the season. In addition to applying pressure on the quarterback, Jenkins was instrumental in the Seminoles’ limiting the Cavaliers to a season-low 78 rushing yards – more than 100 under their per-game average – and 316 total yards. FSU’s rushing defense now ranks third nationally and the Seminoles are sixth nationally in sacks per game. Jenkins now ranks seventh in FSU history with 34.5 career tackles for loss and with 20.5 career sacks. He is 10th all-time for the Seminoles.

LINEBACKER – Steve Greer, Virginia, Jr., ILB, 6-2, 225, Solon, Ohio

Greer led the Virginia defense with eight tackles and recorded two sacks and another QB hurry in UVa's 14-13 upset win at Florida State. Greer came up with a key sack in the fourth quarter. With FSU leading 13-7 and at the Cavaliers' 30-yard line, Greer sacked FSU quarterback EJ Manuel for a 14-yard loss, forcing the Seminoles to punt. UVa scored the winning touchdown on its next drive. The Cavalier defense held FSU to just three points in the second half. Florida State entered the game averaging 34.6 points per game. Only Oklahoma (also with 13 points) has held FSU to less than 14 points this year.

DEFENSIVE BACK – Brandan Bishop, NC State, Jr., S, 6-2, 210, Boca Raton, Fla.

Bishop led the Wolfpack with 10 total tackles, including nine first hits, one tackle for a two-yard loss, and his fifth interception of the season.

SPECIALIST – Ryan Quigley, Boston College, Sr., P, 6-3, 188, Little River, S.C.

Downed six (of nine punts in total) inside Notre Dame’s 12-yard line, including five punts inside the 9. Of his six punts inside the 12, three were downed (at the 5, 3 and 12-yard lines) and three were fair caught (at the 6, 8 and 9-yard lines). Quigley finished the game with a season-high nine punts for 369 yards, an average of 41.0 yards per punt, and matched a season-long with a 52-yard punt in the first quarter.

ROOKIE – Art Norman, NC State, Fr., DE, 6-1, 242, Stone Mountain, Ga.

A redshirt freshman defensive end from Stone Mountain, Ga., Norman had four total tackles, including three sacks for 16 yards. He also caused a fumble.

NC State D trying to overcome injuries

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
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Last year was the healthiest NC State has been during Tom O’Brien’s tenure, and it showed in the final results, as the Wolfpack finished with nine wins and ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

This year? It seems like you could field an entire starting lineup with the players who are sidelined, but the defense has been hit the hardest. It could be a factor once again on Thursday night as the Pack prepares to travel to Cincinnati. The Bearcats have the No. 4 scoring offense in the country with 51.33 points per game, but many of the numbers have come against inferior opponents. Still, NC State’s depleted defense will be tested.

[+] EnlargeNC State's Tom O'Brien
Jeremy Brevard/US PRESSWIRE"It's been a tough season to play defense," said NC State coach Tom O'Brien, who has seen several injuries on that side of the ball.
NC State has opened the past two games without two starting defensive linemen and finished the South Alabama game with four starters on the bench. Senior captain J.R. Sweezy suffered a broken foot in preseason practice and is still in a walking boot. Redshirt freshman Thomas Teal took Sweezy’s place, but suffered the exact same injury in the first game and has joined the walking boot club.

Prior to facing Wake Forest, starting end Jeff Rieskamp was sidelined with a shoulder injury. The Cincinnati native has missed the last two games and his status is still unknown for Thursday night. Redshirt freshman Art Norman has been starting in his place, but he left the South Alabama game with an injury and did not return.

NC State’s defense took another big hit in Saturday’s game when weakside linebacker Terrell Manning injured his knee in the first half and did not return. He was operated on earlier this week.

“It’s been a tough season to play defense,” O’Brien said. “We lost a corner to start the year, we lost our captain and best defensive lineman, we lost the next-best defensive lineman, we lost the back-up middle linebacker, lost a corner, lost a linebacker.

“Dwayne Maddox has some experience, he’s been around and is going to have to step up and make some plays right now. Certainly we’re down seven guys off the top 15 that we had going in the first of August. There are 15 left from the top 22. It’s been a difficult year to play defense around here.”

O’Brien said the staff would try to get Rieskamp ready to face his hometown team, but even if he is cleared to play, he won’t have had much practice time.

“We’re trying to get him ready for Cincinnati, but if that doesn’t work then we’ll try for Georgia Tech,” O’Brien said. “It’s week-to-week trying to get guys back and get them healthy.”

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