We're back at it again folks and as I typed the number "twenty" into the box at the post editor I thought wow, twenty weeks of bringing the fetch and that includes our awesome Royal Wedding coverage that was the second week of this party. We're not nearly as fancy today but we are so super awesome it makes up for it.
Kicking your Friday off with some super serious podcasting thanks to the friend Chris Bahn who joined me to talk Hogs vs Tide on this special Bonus Edition of the ITB Podcast. Yes, that means the sound from "Baby Mama" is in there. Chris is the editor of Arkansas Sports 360 and so we really attack this game for 20 minutes. No fluff, no cute storylines talk. Just the nuts and bolts of the match ups from an offensive and defensive standpoint. How the Hogs will handle Alabama's exotic pressures that we know are coming. How the Tide defense will respond to Bobby Petrino finally opening up the playbook. Basically all your football talk that you need is right here and you will get no better break down as we talk scripts, the way both teams have been vanilla in early contests, the subtle issue of Petrino needing to finally beat Saban and, to this bloggers delight, SPECIAL TEAMS!!
If the box doesn't work for you folks download the podcast by clicking here and get this show in your earholes. WOOO PIG SOOIE folks. In keeping with the Allman Brothers roll that we've been on enjoy this classic:
Now it is time to get into a little discussion of what All Russell Wilson Everything is about and the NC State Wolfpack after their embarrassing performance last night against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
People of #AllRussellWilsonEverything nation, I am your captain, your leader, the originator of the phrase and the movement and it is time that I speak. People have, in the words of my second favorite comedy movie of all time Celtic Pride, "taken something pure and twisted it around." They're using All Russell Wilson Everything for evil and personal game and not the pure joyous celebration that it was created to be.
Let me explain. I'm a Tar Heel. Born and bred people. The hateweek we had at practice when we were going to play State was rivaled by only UVA's week and even then State was far and away "the week" for us. We had wolf sounds playing, we had block "S" taped on scout team helmets we had more fights than normal. Coaches had us amped up. We hated them sumbitches and they hated us back. They were friends we took recruiting visits with. Guys we played against in high school. We wanted to thump them oh so bad.
That feeling was so real. The win over NC State in 2004 is my single favorite moment in time as a college football. Elation after losing to Philip Rivers in ugly fashion the year before.
Fast forward to now. That hate that was so palpable when I played has mellowed. I want us to beat State when we play them just like I did back then but that's where it starts and stops. For the ACC to have any sort of a modicum of success the NC State Wolfpack have to be a decent to above average football team, just like everyone else in the league. I like a lot of the players they have and aside from when they suit up against my guys I'm really just hoping they don't go out and embarrass the ACC.
I say that to say this; Russell Wilson is the NC State football player I've liked the most, ever. More than Torry Holt when I was kid. More than Philip Rivers when I was a recruit and a player. More than a guy I thought was awesome and said I'd take first in the draft during daily debates on it in the Kenan Football Center Players' Lounge, Mario Williams.
Problem is I couldn't exactly cheer openly for Russell Wilson for the last three seasons. Not the way he absolutely demolished my boys starting on a bitter cold November day when we were 11 point favorites and ended up getting dumped on to the tune of 41-10. Not the way he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with his helter skelter mix of scrambling for back breaking first downs and buying time to hit receivers for chunks yards the next two years to win 28-27 and 29-25. I just couldn't root for the kid outloud after the way he did my boys, guys I care about, so dirty.
Then he left. I got opportunity to actively root for a guy I've enjoyed watching for three seasons. Normally this happens when they leave for the league; love all the guys I mentioned two paragraphs ago in the NFL. This time though, I got the rare opportunity to root for a player I really like in the sport I enjoy the most. I was pumped. That's where "All Russell Wilson Everything" came from people.
It isn't born out of hate or rubbing it in State's faces. You're bastardizing my ideal when you do that. Personally I was on board with Tom O'Brien's move because it was a two year plan versus a one year hope. TOB had gone against his better wishes a couple times before when he let Wilson play baseball, all but skip the spring and then comeback and play ball. That's not what the guy is about and when he was presented with the ultimatum of "make a choice coach or we're leaving" by the Glennon's he pulled the trigger on the guy he wanted to be his starting quarterback all along.
Which brings us to the issue; freaking let it go people. It started after the loss to Wake Forest as people quietly uttered the "I wonder what would have happened if they had Russell Wilson" line. After last night it was quite loud. Mike Glennon threw two early interceptions and the calls of "I bet Tom O'Brien is regretting his decision now" got ridiculously loud. Annoying. Frustrating.
Did you people even watch the game or are you just picking the low hanging fruit?
Russell Wilson is not winning last nights football game for the Wolfpack. Mike Glennon went 25-36 for 334 yards and had a 2:2 touchdown to interception ratio. He did get confused on a couple plays and those cost the Wolfpack dearly including a pick that gave the Bearcats the football in prime scoring position. The kid should be humbled and back to the drawing board, his head in the playbook and his eyeballs on the film watching how teams mix coverages to take advantage of him locking on to targets at times and not getting through his progressions quickly.
Now back to this Russell Wilson thing, what the hell do you people think this kid plays? All Russell Wilson Everything is not some magical cure all as you posture. He's a hell of a quarterback but that's all he is, a quarterback. The Wolfpack gave up six sacks last night and Glennon was under incredible duress; perhaps Wilson's legs cut that in half, you've still got three sacks and a quarterback running for his life.
Point here is Russell Wilson is just a quarterback. He masked much of NC State's offensive line woes but he didn't solve those problems, he got sacked a lot too. He threw his fare share of interceptions as well. He's not some sort of mystical elixir. When your football team has ONE rusher in the positive yardage realm, Curtis Underwood Jr. with a whopping SIX yards, your team has bigger issues than a quarterback.
Another thing Wilson doesn't do? Play freaking defense. The Wolfpack surrendered 24 first downs and allowed Cincinnati to convert 9 of 16 third downs, including third downs of 17 yards, 13 yards and 11 yards. This team could not get off the field. I don't care if you're Oklahoma or Wisconsin, if your defense can't get off the field then your offense cannot do a damn thing. They gave up 503 total yards, 240 on the ground at a 5.2 per carry clip.
Please tell me how Russell Wilson is fixing that all you beautiful geniuses out there.
You force just three punts in the game and that means you are not doing your job on the defensive side of the football. Mike Archer and Jon Tenuta need to get to the grease board. Draw something different up for these kids to do. Get on the practice fields and work on their technique and rules. If I see the Dwayne Maddox kid lose contain, bite on some JV ass head fake and dive in on the quarterback or running back to let the ball carrier get to the edge I'm going to rip my hair out. As a guy who loves defense that is one of the more frustrating things to watch on a play in and play out basis.
The Wolfpack dialed up plenty of pressures, they got one sack. They let Zach Collaros get out of the pocket, he shook defenders out of their shoes and his offensive line made the NC State defenders look pitiful as they could not get off blocks, cold not diagnose run vs pass and were totally incapable of disrupting Cincinnati's flow. They made Mike Bajakian, who is a good offensive coordinator, look like some sort of sick Bill Walsh-90's Steve Spurrier-WVU Rich Rodriguez offensive mastermind.
Fact is NC State has bigger issues than their quarterback; the offensive line is dreadful, they have no running game to speak of and the defense ugh. Injuries are easy to point at but the issue is they just are not getting it done from a schematic, responsibility and intensity standpoint. Calling dogs is great but if you're not getting to the quarterback all blitzes do is take players out of coverage. Give a guy all day to throw the football, lose contain and have lapses in coverage and you end up with what we saw last night, a 44-14 beat down.
That's not what NC State needs. That's most definitely not what the ACC needs.