ACC: Harrison Beck

Schad: Ex-FSU receiver Parker to North Alabama

May, 1, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

From ESPN's Joe Schad:

Former Florida State wide receiver Preston Parker said he plans to play this season for North Alabama, a Division II power coached by former Auburn coach Terry Bowden. Parker led Florida State with 40 catches last season and was second on the team with 372 receiving yards. Parker was dismissed in February after being arrested and charged with driving under the influence. It was Parker's third arrest since 2006. Parker has also played running back and kick returner. Former Nebraska and North Carolina State quarterback Harrison Beck committed to transfer to North Alabama in March.

I'm still in D.C. juggling BCS assignments. If I don't get to the mailblog today, I'll give you two next week, promise.

NC State can't escape injuries, or Rutgers

December, 29, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

For two consecutive seasons, injuries have been the story of NC State football under Tom O'Brien, and the Bowl was a microcosm of that frustration.

 Marvin Gentry/US Presswire
 Without Russell Wilson in the second half, the Wolfpack's offense sputtered.

Quarterback Russell Wilson, arguably the most valuable player on NC State's roster and the best quarterback in the ACC, sprained his knee in the first half of a 29-23 loss to Rutgers, and NC State fans once again were left to wonder what might have been.

Those who have been paying attention to NC State this season know how valuable Wilson was to his team -- he was the catalyst behind the Wolfpack's remarkable second-half surge -- but football fans catching him for the first time witnessed the dramatic drop-off in NC State's offense without him. (Mike Glennon should help the position's depth next year).

Wilson entered the bowl game having thrown 226 passes without an interception. His backups, Harrison Beck and Daniel Evans, combined to throw three interceptions in the second half of the Bowl.

It's been a long season for Wilson, who began preseason camp as one of five quarterbacks competing for the starting job. He was also dealing with the illness of his father, who suffered a stroke in early August. Still, Wilson won the starting job, but suffered a concussion in the first game. He missed the following game and was reinjured while leading the Pack to an upset of East Carolina and missed another game.

This is the trend at NC State.

In 2007, O'Brien's first season in Raleigh, 13 starters missed time because of injuries, including six starters who missed multiple games. This year, Wilson was one of 13 starters again who missed multiple games because of injuries. It's a big reason why NC State started the season 2-4.

A healthy NC State, though, is a very good NC State. Just ask Rutgers, who was trailing 17-6 in the first half after Wilson completed 11 of 23 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown. He also finished as the team's leading rusher with eight carries for 46 yards. (And no, that's not necessarily a good thing).

Even when opposing defenses are disciplined against NC State, Wilson gives them headaches with his ability to make things happen with his feet. He is tremendous at improvising outside the pocket, and got his team out of jams against Rutgers on a few third-and-long situations.

NC State's defense did a good job of putting pressure on Mike Teel and mixing up coverages, but Rutgers adjusted in the second half and became more effective as the Wolfpack began to unravel offensively. Even when NC State's defense did its job, though -- like Clem Johnson's interception -- the offense threw it right back to Rutgers.

The four turnovers were the difference in the game, but so was the injury to Wilson. Then again, who knows what might have been?

Had everyone stayed healthy, NC State's entire season might have been different. If Wilson can stay healthy, NC State's 2009 season will be different.

Beck is listed as NC State's starter

September, 29, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

NC State coach Tom O'Brien just told me Harrison Beck is still listed as the starting quarterback heading into this week's game against Boston College. He didn't give an update on how injured starter Russell Wilson is doing. More on this later, still on the teleconference ...

Week 5 predictions: Getting tougher

September, 25, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

This was the toughest week to date. The hardest games to call were Clemson, Virginia Tech and Duke. Last week was my worst performance, going 5-3. Overall, I'm 27-9 heading into this week.

Here's what I've got for Week 5:


Maryland 24, Clemson 21 -- Because of the injuries on their offensive line, the Tigers have to rely on Jacoby Ford, C.J. Spiller and Aaron Kelly. If Maryland can control those three players -- or keep them off the field by running the ball and controlling the clock -- they can win. Because of Clemson's injuries, the Terps should win the battle in the trenches, but their pass defense could bring them down.

Wake Forest 27, Navy 24 -- This could be a trap game for the Deacs. The Midshipmen have the nation's top rushing offense, but Wake has a veteran defense and Cool Hand Luke for their quarterback. Riley Skinner will be throwing into a pass defense that allows 176 yards per game.

Miami 31, North Carolina 10 -- Considering this is the season opener for UNC's backup quarterback tandem and it's a home game for the rapidly improving Hurricanes, the odds are stacked against the Tar Heels. Bill Young's defense will force UNC into turnovers and create a short field for OC Patrick Nix.

Duke 21, Virginia 20 -- The Cavaliers might have better athletes on their roster, but the Blue Devils have the better quarterback. What they probably don't have is much confidence against ACC opponents, but considering the sorry state of both programs, I'm going with the home team and the one with the better record.

Boston College 38, Rhode Island 3 -- The Eagles' defense should have no problem containing an FCS school that ranks 113th in rushing offense with 49 yards per game and Chris Crane should pass the test against a defense that has allowed 450 yards per game. URI has three straight losses.

Florida State 28, Colorado 10 -- The Buffaloes have to travel 1,488 miles just to be smothered by the Seminoles' defense in Jacksonville. The return of tight end Caz Piurowski will help the offensive line, and freshman running back Jermaine Thomas should help against a defense that held West Virginia to 3 of 13 third-down conversions.

South Florida 31, NC State 7 -- The Wolfpack will be without their top playmakers on both sides of the ball. Backup quarterback Harrison Beck has thrown three interceptions and two touchdowns this season while USF quarterback Matt Grothe is leading the Big East with 267 yards of total offense per game.

Virginia Tech 20, Nebraska 17 -- That's right, ANOTHER 20-17 win for the Hokies. Only because this is the Huskers' first true test of the season, and Virginia Tech has already proved it's a scrappy come-from-behind team. Plus, the Hokies have the veteran coaching staff.

OFF: Georgia Tech

No lack of drama in the state of North Carolina

September, 24, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

NC State beat writer Ken Tysiac reported that Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson is out with an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder.

And Butch Davis has opened up the starting job again at North Carolina, where Cam Sexton and Mike Paulus are taking equal reps with the first team.

NC State's situation is what it is. We've all seen enough of Daniel Evans and Harrison Beck to know what they can (and can't) do. The situation in Chapel Hill, though, is a little bit different. Sexton hasn't seen any significant time since 2006, and Paulus hasn't gotten his shot yet. (It's not really fair to use his time against Virginia Tech as a true assessment).

Here's the thing, though. You'd think Davis would know who his No. 2 guy is by now. Paulus and Sexton have been going back and forth for it since the spring. And even Davis admitted there's no competitive advantage to keeping it a secret in this case:

"When you think about there's mystery and intrigue as to who the starting quarterback is going to be, if one of these guys was Michael Vick and one was a classic drop-back passer ... [then] there'd be an advantage," Davis told the News & Observer. "Whoever starts, we're going to run the same offense. It really doesn't make any difference."

Funny, that's exactly what Randy Shannon said he's expecting.

Very bad news for NC State

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The news that both quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Nate Irving will miss Saturday's game against South Florida with injuries is devastating for the Wolfpack -- not just from an Xs and Os perspective, but perhaps even moreso from a morale standpoint.

NC State coach Tom O'Brien did not specify the injuries, other than Irving sustained a lower leg injury in the Wolfpack's upset of East Carolina last weekend. Freshman Dwayne Maddox, who took over for Irving against ECU, will start on Saturday. Harrison Beck will start in place of Wilson.

These are the top playmakers on both sides of the ball. Wilson was just named the offensive back of the week, and deservedly so. All three of his touchdown passes tied the game. He took such an important step in assuming leadership of an offense in desperate need of it.

And Irving has been a hard-hitting, interception-grabbing beast on defense.

Beck is the third starting quarterback in five games. That now makes 11 starters or key contributors who have missed at least one game this year.

NC State deserves a break, and not the kind it has been getting.

NC State makes a statement with win

September, 20, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

For four quarters, militant-mannered NC State coach Tom O'Brien remained stoic, not a single change in his demeanor as his team gave the ball away and stole it back.

Only once did O'Brien let his emotions overcome his poker face -- on the last play of the game when Greenville, N.C. native Andre Brown bullied his way into the end zone for a 10-yard, overtime, game-winning touchdown run.

O'Brien threw his hands in the air, signaling a touchdown, and broke into a huge smile. Well-deserved.

NC State's 30-24 upset of No. 15-ranked rival East Carolina might turn out to be the best ACC game of the day. The Wolfpack found an answer at quarterback in Russell Wilson, and they got a group effort from their defense in the absence of top playmaker Nate Irving.

What does all this mean for the Wolfpack?

* They have an offense when Wilson is running the show. Harrison Beck is no longer needed on third downs. Both Wilson and ECU quarterback Patrick Pinkney threw for 210 yards, but Wilson had three touchdown passes to Pinkney's one. * This team does not quit. After the plethora of injuries to key players -- including the one to Irving during the game -- the Wolfpack had every reason to hang their heads. Instead, they're still playing for something.

* Young players gained some confidence. George Bryan, a redshirt freshman and the last healthy tight end available, caught the game-tying touchdown pass with 1:12 left to play in regulation. And sophomore Jarvis Williams, who missed a deep pass right to him earlier in the third quarter, redeemed himself with a 26-yard reception in the fourth.

* The future is bright. Can they go on a four-game winning streak like they did last year after beating ECU? It's not going to be easy. This is still a young team, and schedule is unforgiving, starting with South Florida. But give this team time to heal and whether it's this year or next, the Wolfpack will eventually be a consistently good football team.

ACC overview

September, 20, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

For the most part, the ACC is doing what it was supposed to do as the first few games are either at halftime or into their third quarter. Here's a look at what's going on in the early games:


Clemson: The Tigers are doing what they're supposed to against South Carolina State -- run all over them. James Davis has accounted for three touchdowns and Clemson has outgained SC State 116 to minus-7 on the ground.

Maryland: No surprise the Terps are keeping things interesting with Eastern Michigan, as the Terps are up 24-14 at the half. Quarterback Chris Turner has thrown the ball just 12 times and has one touchdown and one interception. Eastern Michigan's passing game has been more effective in the first half.


Russell Wilson: We're finally seeing what Russell Wilson can do when he is healthy and left in the game long enough to show us. Wilson has helped compensate for Harrison Beck's mistakes, and under Wilson, the Wolfpack is finally showing it has the ability to score. He has already thrown two touchdown passes and probably would have had another had one of his receivers grabbed a perfect deep ball thrown right to him. Wilson is a major reason NC State is still in this game in the fourth quarter, trailing 21-17.

Jaybo Shaw: He is managing the offense effectively in the absence of injured starter Josh Nesbitt. Shaw has only thrown the ball seven times and the Yellow Jackets are up 31-0 in the third. So much for Mississippi State's vaunted SEC D. Georgia Tech is averaging 9.3 yards per rush.


Boston College: The one thing coach Jeff Jagodzinski said his team needed to do was score points, and so far the Eagles have three. And UCF has seven. Jagodzinski seems ready to jump off the Crane Train.

NCSU hanging in at the half 14-7

September, 20, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

NC State caught a break on Justin Byers' interception when the official review determined he was down before ECU stripped the football from him, but the Wolfpack lost a key member of their defense when Nate Irving left the game with a leg injury. A school spokesman told me Irving's return in the second half is questionable.

The biggest question in this game is why Harrison Beck keeps coming in and interrupting Russell Wilson's rhythm. Beck had an interception returned for a touchdown -- the play that was the difference in the first half -- and Beck also fumbled. I'm not sure why the staff is using the quarterbacks like this, or why they're using its backup at all.

Last year, this game was a turning point in NC State's season, and the Wolfpack were in a similar situation with injuries. But a talented South Florida team is next on the schedule, and no breaks after that. Losing Irving would be another huge blow, as he has been arguably their best playmaker on both sides of the ball so far. Without him, they lose their identity on defense. And by continuing to switch quarterbacks, the staff isn't helping the team find one on offense.

Congrats to NC State: Tied at 7 with ECU

September, 20, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Finally. NC State has managed an offensive touchdown against an FBS school. It's an impressive accomplishment considering they did it against No. 15-ranked East Carolina, an in-state rival that took the field in Carter-Finley Stadium mocking the Wolfpack with their wolf signal.

NC State's touchdown is its first offensive TD against an FBS team since Jamelle Eugene scored in the 3rd quarter against Wake Forest on Nov. 17, 2007.

It helps to leave starting quarterback Russell Wilson in the game, as opposed to switching him in and out with Harrison Beck.

And Nate Irving delivered one of the biggest ACC hits of the season, when he flipped the ECU ball carrier right over. The Wolfpack came to play today.

NC State coach Tom O'Brien candid with QBs

September, 11, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The blunt honesty of NC State coach Tom O'Brien might not always be what his players want to hear, but there's no question they're going to get the truth from this guy.

O'Brien didn't dance around his quarterback competition this summer, and he's not two-stepping around it now. When he tried to cut his options from five to two last month, one of the first to go was Harrison Beck.

"As we went through preseason camp, I told him he wasn't in our plans at this point and if he had any indication that he wanted to transfer or anything we would certainly help him," O'Brien said. "But as a one-time transfer, he couldn't transfer again out of here which actually proved a stroke of luck for us that he was available."

It sure did. Beck came off the bench this past weekend to replace Daniel Evans and threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns.

"It certainly meant a lot for him and it meant a lot for our football team," O'Brien said. "We needed the jolt he gave us at that point.

"When (Russell) Wilson went in, we're trying to redshirt (Mike) Glennon and Evans was ineffective at six or seven three-and-outs, and it was time to make a change and Harrison came in and did a wonderful job for us."

(Again with that honesty ...)

Beck has been more reliable as a bench player than he has a starter. In the four games he's come off the bench, Beck has thrown for 525 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. In his four starts, he has 624 yards, eight interceptions and no touchdowns.

"He's the backup right now," O'Brien said. "The one thing that happened Saturday night is between Evans and Beck. We decided that Beck would now be the backup. Wilson is going to be the starter and hopefully we can get back to where we were in the second quarter, moving the ball against South Carolina."

There's no telling, though, how Russell Wilson will fare against Clemson in his first game back since suffering a severe concussion in the season opener against South Carolina. He was just 1-of-5 passing for 12 yards with seven yards rushing in his collegiate debut before he got hurt.

Even though he was cleared to play against William & Mary, Wilson was in on just one special teams play as the holder on an extra point.

"Russell is still pretty much an unknown quantity," O'Brien said. "This almost going to be like the season opener for him. We'll see how it goes and hopefully he can perform to the level we think he can."

And that's pretty good. Honestly.

Bowden looking for more from Clemson defense

September, 8, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Clemson opens its conference play on Saturday against NC State, and before it does, coach Tommy Bowden said his defense needs to put more pressure on quarterbacks. The Tigers didn't have any sacks against Alabama and just one against the Citadel. After just two weeks of football, the Tigers rank last in the conference in total defense, allowing 423 yards per game.

NC State quarterback Russell Wilson is expected to return for the Wolfpack after suffering a concussion in the season opener against South Carolina, and he should be able to run the ball out of the read-option scheme better than Daniel Evans or Harrison Beck.

"We're still playing too high -- linebackers, defensive ends, defensive line -- are all playing too high," Bowden said. "We're not a very fundamentally sound football team right now up there at those three positions. We've got to work hard on that as we get into conference play."

Bowden said he wants to see more from his veteran players, but has been pleased with freshman standout Da'Quan Bowers, who was credited with the Tigers' lone sack for a loss of eight yards against the Citadel.

Bowden said Bowers is closing the gap with veteran Kevin Alexander at the strongside end position.

"He's the best pass rusher we've got," Bowden said of Bowers.

Bowden is expecting a report on injured defensive end Ricky Sapp (knee) today.

What we learned in the ACC: Week 2

September, 7, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The ACC didn't do too much to hurt itself this week (7-2 against nonconference opponents), but then again, it's not like Saturday was filled with highlight-worthy performances, either (See: Virginia, Maryland, NC State -- they booed Daniel Evans for crying out loud and third-stringer Harrison Beck had to beat William & Mary).

Here's a look at what Week 2 revealed:

1. Miami is close but not quite: Randy Shannon has a talented, young team that's headed in the right direction, as evidenced by the first half against Florida. Youth and inexperience were factors in this game, but it was closer than the score indicated. If it weren't for two errors on special teams, Florida might not have scored in the first half. Miami's 16-play drive that took 8:42 off the clock and ended in a field goal is evidence this team can move the ball on anyone. This could be a foreshadowing of a surprise team in the Coastal Division, but the Canes will obviously have to earn more than 1.6 yards per carry and do a better job of protecting Marve. Otherwise, look out for No. 2.

2. Once modest expectations are growing for Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets got their first ACC road win and helped Wake Forest and Clemson in the process by knocking off Atlantic Division foe Boston College. With its 2-0 start, Georgia Tech is in the lead and should only get better. It will have to, because the Eagles won't always be able to get away with three fumbles. These were two similar teams, both in transitions on offense and depending on defense. The difference was Georgia Tech's front four, and the grit and determination the offense showed. As long as those factors don't disappear, the coaching should take care of the rest.

3. Florida State has two quarterbacks: And neither of them are named Drew Weatherford. The veteran threw the ball just twice while the future of the program stole the show. Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson accounted for six total touchdowns and no interceptions. Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher made the right call with Ponder, who played nearly flawless in his debut. But Richardson will make it difficult to keep him off the field. His 68 yards rushing on four carries added another dimension to the game. (The quarterbacks probably got a little help, though, from their offensive line, which didn't allow a sack all night). Yes, it was against Western Carolina, but how many ACC teams have we seen handle a weak nonconference opponent the way they're supposed to -- with ease?

4. Virginia Tech might just have one quarterback: Sean Glennon said "a red flag went off" in his mind as he watched Tyrod Taylor play drive after drive from the sideline in the second half against Furman. We already knew Taylor could help this team out with his mobility, but weren't quite sure how well it would sit with Glennon or how they two would be used. Turns out they used Taylor more. He got 39 snaps to Glennon's 22. Better late than never, right? Unfortunately for Glennon, it might be too late. Coach Frank Beamer said he's not ready to talk about how he might use both of them against Georgia Tech, but the fact Glennon was used less against a Division I-AA opponent should give him every reason to be "a little concerned."

5. Maryland's not a sleeper: It's asleep: The Terps were the ACC's lone embarrassment on Saturday, as they fell to Middle Tennessee State. (Hey, at least UVA won). There were missed assignments, the quarterbacks couldn't hit open receivers, and the defense was on the field for too long because it couldn't stop the 5-yard short patterns. (Maryland's time of possession was 20:11, its lowest since 2002 against Notre Dame). Maryland has something to fix in every phase of the game. Kicker Obi Egekeze is now 0-for-4 on his field goals this season and has missed five straight dating back to the 2007 Emerald Bowl. The Terps finally have a 100-yard rusher and a backup and only carried the ball 19 times.

Update on NC State's Wilson

September, 1, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

NC State coach Tom O'Brien said he is preparing for William & Mary with Daniel Evans as his starting quarterback and Harrison Beck as his backup because the status of Russell Wilson remains uncertain.

Wilson suffered a Grade 3 concussion (the worst you can have) against South Carolina.

"Russell's back and he's back into his regular daily routine, will be going to class and everything," O'Brien said at his press conference today. "We'll see how he progresses here in the next week or so."

When asked if Wilson could practice, O'Brien said, "We'll do whatever the doctors say that he's able to do. We'll take it day by day.

"We don't have any idea what Russell's situation is. We're going to prepare to play Evans and backup with Beck."

Equally as devastating to the Pack is the news that tight end Anthony Hill will miss the home opener with a chest injury.

The lone good news on offense is that running back Jamelle Eugene might return.

"We will see how he does this week," O'Brien said. "If he can get out there and practice, then maybe he can get some playing time this week."

Wolfpack QBs: And then there were three

August, 16, 2008

Posted by's Heather Dinich

 Kevin C. Cox/
 Daniel Evans' experience gives him an edge in the Wolfpack's quarterback derby.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It was the first question coach Tom O'Brien got today: Who's your starting quarterback?

"I don't know," he said. "Flip a coin. You need three coins. We'll figure it out. We still have another scrimmage to go so we're working towards that end. Hopefully it will clear itself up by Wednesday."

O'Brien has at least made progress in that he's narrowed his choices from five to three. Harrison Beck and Justin Burke are no longer in the mix. Now O'Brien has to make the final call.

Age is not a factor. The schedule is not a factor.

Talent is.

None of the three remaining quarterbacks though -- Daniel Evans, Russell Wilson or Mike Glennon -- has separated himself.

"Whenever you do this you always hope that somebody would stand out and grab the situation and run away from the other person, but that really hasn't happened right now," O'Brien said. "It's not the most ideal thing. It's always better if you have somebody that takes control of the position."

All three of the quarterbacks said the right things today: They're all friends. They all help each other out. They're not wrapped up in the competition like the media is. They all bring positive things to the game. It was like walking into Playerspeak 101.

"All of the quarterbacks are great," said Wilson. "I think we're all just trying to work together. We really want to push each other. You want to help the team grow each and every day. I'm not worried about losing the starting job or winning it. When I get my chance, I just have to be ready to play. We're all good friends. We all work together; we all help each other."

Clearly, though, Evans has a bit of an edge because of his experience. Glennon is only 18 years old, and Wilson is a redshirt freshman.

"[Evans] has a much better knowledge of the offense than the other two young kids because he's been in it," O'Brien said. "You can see in his execution and his drops and his delivering the ball on time what he's been doing looks like a guy who's played the game of football in our system, where the other two kids, they're young and very talented but they're maybe looking right when they should be looking left."

In less than two weeks, one of them will be looking at South Carolina.

"I've been through the quarterback battle for three years now, so being down to three now ... last year it was starting with three," Evans said. "It's not really anything new."

And that's been part of the problem.



Monday, 12/22
Saturday, 12/20
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12