NCF Nation: Daniel Evans

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

For two consecutive seasons, injuries have been the story of NC State football under Tom O'Brien, and the Papajohns.com 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 Papajohns.com 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.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

One day after Randy Shannon's not-so-subtle quote about Urban Meyer's decision to kick a late field goal against the Hurricanes, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has got his coach's back:

"I'll have Coach Meyer's back on anything," Tebow told reporters. "To say something like that about Coach Meyer isn't true at all," Tebow said after Monday's practice. "If you want to talk about him, you should definitely talk about a lot of other coaches before Coach Meyer. You can talk about running the score up, I don't care. They are paid to stop us; [offensive coordinator Dan] Mullen is paid to score. They don't do that, oh well. But you don't have to talk about Coach Meyer as a person and getting into recruits and all that stuff, that's not necessary."

I don't know about you, but I think these guys should play more often.

Elsewhere in the league ...

Posted by ESPN.com'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.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Here are 10 things worth keeping an eye on this weekend:

1. Reputation: Can the ACC improve upon its 2-4 start against FBS teams? The wins were over Baylor and Kent State and the losses were by an average of 27 points. The spotlight is on Miami and Wake Forest to restore some pride.

2. Robert Marve: All eyes will be on the Hurricanes' redshirt freshman as he makes his collegiate debut against the No. 5-ranked Gators. The number of big passing plays have dropped significantly in the past three seasons. Can two rookies reverse that trend?

3. The other quarterbacks: Daniel Evans is taking over at NC State. Chris Turner at Maryland. Christian Ponder at Florida State. And Tyrod Taylor is back in the mix at Virginia Tech. How will these changes affect each team?

4. Clemson's rebound: Yes, this game is against The Citadel, but Tigers' egos and players have been noticeably bruised. Clemson will be without three key defensive linemen and starting offensive guard Barry Humphries.

5. Virginia Tech's tackling: The Hokies missed open field tackles against East Carolina and safety Kam Chancellor told the Virginia Pilot he missed six of 12. It's something Bud Foster has stressed this week in practice, but this game is the final tune-up before the run-happy Yellow Jackets come to town.

6. Dexter McCluster for Ole Miss: Ole Miss was 0-8 in the SEC last season, but this game is going to be more interesting than people might think, and McCluster is a main reason why. He had 125 all-purpose yards in the season opener. Wake needs this win because it needs to go to Tallahassee 2-0.

7. The X's and O's in Chestnut Hill: It's the debut of Paul Johnson's offense against an ACC opponent, but it's nothing the Eagles haven't seen before, as they beat Navy two years ago in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. What wrinkles will we see from Johnson he didn't reveal in the season opener against Jacksonville State?

8. Wake forcing turnovers: The Demon Deacons have earned a reputation for winning with defense and forcing turnovers, and they made Baylor give the ball back four times. Wake turned three of those miscues into touchdowns. Can they do it again?

9. Richmond coach Mike London: Virginia didn't just lose its best player on defense last season, it also lost its defensive coordinator. Now London has 16 starters back from a CAA championship team that reached the national semifinals of the FCS. Can London pull an upset against his former team?

10. Duke: Can the Blue Devils start 2-0 for the first time since 1998, when they beat Northwestern 44-10 in the second game? They've got home-field advantage and a bit of confidence after winning their season opener, but Northwestern has a score to settle and a talented running back in Tyrell Sutton.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

One more member of the Wolfpack just got voted off of Quarterback Island. Freshman Mike Glennon will redshirt this year to learn the offense. What started out as a five-man competition is now down to two -- Russell Wilson and Daniel Evans.

Odds are both play. (Where have we heard that before this summer? Miami, Maryland, Virginia Tech ...)

Smart move, especially considering Glennon has guys in front of him who know the offense better. While I trust Tom O'Brien's judgment on his quarterbacks, the fact that he withheld passing stats from the media (and in turn Steve Spurrier) for the second straight scrimmage is a little much. Either you've got a quarterback or you don't.

FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has three, and he's prepared to wait longer if he has to before he names the Seminoles' starter for the season opener.

Nobody in Tallahassee seems to be willing to wait, though, for late-arriving running back Tavares Pressley to learn the offense. 

The offense isn't the problem for senior wide receiver Richard Goodman -- his knee is.

Here's more from around the league:

* Wake Forest corner Alphonso Smith is trying to fuel the rumor that his team is pretty darn good. One more winning season would certainly help.

Wake Forest fans have been asking about Skylar Jones. Well, he's a heck of an athlete, but barring something crazy happening, he's not going to play this season. Here's further evidence why -- they don't need him to.

* Miami is practicing at 5:30 a.m. on Friday. Wake-up call, anyone?

* Keep an eye out for Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich this season. The NFL certainly is. Not only is he an incredible athlete, but he's also well-spoken and a good guy.

* If Virginia fans are looking for some sort of a sign that everything is going to be OK this season, they might want to look outside the stadium. The university just banned signs at games.

* Clemson beat writer Paul Strelow sat down with the university president and asked some important questions about Tommy Bowden and the football program. Here's a lighter Clemson story with a neat twist on the Alabama game.

* This future Hokie might have earned a scholarship by not following directions, and he couldn't be happier.

* Terence Moore and I are on the same page when it comes to Paul Johnson -- it's only a matter of time. 

* Here's a more extensive breakdown of Deacon Tower, one of the places I got to visit this summer.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Let's start with the Terps, since the news of their latest quarterback, Jordan Steffy, had fans absolutely losing their minds on the message boards Monday.

Chris Turner wasn't available to talk to the media on Monday, which is completely understandable considering his father said the family was "shell-shocked." And no, that's not some clever Terrapin marketing scheme that might suggest team unity.

The staff yesterday spoke about how it had all of the statistical data to name Steffy Maryland's starter for this season, but if you're looking for numbers to compare Steffy and Turner, check out this chart.

Regardless of the numbers, coach Ralph Friedgen wants to make sure he has credibility with his team for rewarding the best practice players.

While the competition is over in Maryland, NC State's trio of quarterbacks have one more scrimmage -- today -- to impress Tom O'Brien. This is nothing new for Daniel Evans.

It is a somewhat unusual situation, though, for Miami, where no matter which quarterback Randy Shannon chooses, none of them will have taken a snap in a college game. So far, all indications are that Robert Marve is the frontrunner. No surprise there.

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden can't remember the last time he had three quarterbacks take reps with the first team during a scrimmage -- until Saturday, that is.

Not only does Drew Weatherford have Christian Ponder pushing him, but it's now official: D'Vontrey Richardson is equally in the mix.

At North Carolina, it's not about the quarterback anymore. It's about T.J. Yates wanting to win the close games this season instead of watching them slip away. Caulton Tudor says this is the first season for Butch Davis to correct the program's past mistakes.

Speaking of past mistakes ... did first-year Virginia defensive coordinator Bob Pruett make a big one? Pruett is being accused of academic fraud and overpayment of players while head coach at Marshall.

Just what Al Groh needs right now ... although it's not like he doesn't have any playmakers. And, Groh might find some help this season in wide receiver Cary Koch.

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer needs all the help he can get at wide receiver after losing Zach Luckett.

Not that Clemson coach Tommy Bowden needs another running back this season, but highly touted freshman Jamie Harper was going to add to this year's offense -- before he put on a walking boot for his low ankle sprain. Will he be ready to go against Alabama?

Miami receiver Jermaine McKenzie is ready to stay healthy and play some football.

Like just about every other coach in the league, Jim Grobe is trying to add depth to his offensive line. And just like O'Brien, he stole a player from the defense to do it.

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