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Monday, June 1, 2009

Preview Of The State/USC Game At Tomahawknation.com

An interesting breakdown on crucial out-of-conference games for the ACC this year, starting with State's tilt against the Gamecocks.

I like reading third-party previews of State's games because there's no rooting interest one way or the other. The State/South Carolina game figures to go either way--State fans think State will win easily at home; South Carolina fans think there's no way they lose to a team they beat last year 38-0.

So an opportunity to read an outsider's view on the game is a welcome change of pace. This one is pretty solid, with a breakdown of returning starter numbers on both sides of the ball for both teams and other useful tidbits of information.

I do have to raise an objection to their closing sentence, however:
If Carolina can find a running game and limit their turnovers, they can win this game. If no solution can be found for the ground attack, however, this one could get ugly quickly as the Wolfpack's defensive personnel are heavily skewed to playing the pass.
Two things make this assertion a bit suspect: One, Mike Archer's zone scheme gives up a ton of passing yards, and two, our defensive secondary is one of the identified question marks heading into the season.

Nevertheless, a solid writeup and worth your time if you're tired (like I am) of looking for anything worth reading during the dead period between spring and fall sports.


  1. It's not much justification that NC State had by far the wost run defense in the conference last year (and didn't even play GTech), but had only the 2nd worst pass defense, source: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/varsity-numbers/2008/varsity-numbers-conference-breakdowns but In watching NCST, and knowing Ray Michel (HS Teammate), It seems that guys like Cash and Young Jr. are very pass rush minded. They really get up the field.

    I know NCST did give up a lot of passing yards last year, but their run defense was much worse. I too would play a zone heavy scheme if I worried about my DB's covering guys. My comment was came from stylistic observations of the personnel. Some defenses are okay playing the run, some play the run on the way to the passer. I believe NCST is the latter.

  2. No doubt our run defense is an area of concern, looking at those numbers.

    I had a question about the definition of the Passing S&P from the link you posted:

    Passing S&P+ (offense and defense): A comparison of a team's passing output to the output expected based on the number of passes against the team's opponents.What defines "passing output?" Yards? Passing touchdowns? Some combination of both?

    Because the skeptic in me says that if a team has no need to pass the football (b/c the opponent can't stop the run), then they won't. So while teams were running roughshod over us they neglected the pass, perhaps artificially inflating our S&P numbers. I'm not sure how the defensive passing S&P is broken down, though, so perhaps it accounts for that.

    Bottom line: With the addition of Nathan Mageo at DT, along with Cash and (hopefully) a healthy Nate Irving and the addition of redshirt stud Terrel Manning at MLB, the ability to stop the run from our front seven should be improved. But State will be relying on more unproven players at the safety and cornerback positions than ever in the O'Brien era, and so inexperience and depth could become an issue.

    I hope I'm wrong and you're right. I hope State's secondary IS the strongest unit on our defense. That'll force teams to go one dimensional against an improved area of our defense.

  3. TN again--

    I believe Bill (the author of the linked stats) uses per play data only, so State would be judged on a per rush/ per pass basis, to avoid skewing the data when a team passes a lot or runs a lot. The most likely factor he'd use is Yards Per Attempt (not per completion), which is widely accepted as a great indicator.

    Who is this Mageo kid?

  4. Nathan Mageo, a three-star (though likely underrated) Samoan junior college transfer from New Mexico Military Institute:


    He originally committed to play for Hawaii, but decommitted and signed with State after visiting the campus.

    Tim Peeler from GoPack.com had a nice writeup about him in April:


    He's a certified stud in the middle. He lloked good at the spring game and should play quality minutes from day one. I think he's either got three years-to-play-two or two-to-play-two. A definite solid addition at a position of need. Keep your eye on him.

  5. I'd expect to see quite a shift in those rushing-yds-against numbers if you split out the games by ones with Nate Irving and ones without.