College Football: Offensive outburst promising for Wolfpack

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Associated Press
RALEIGH ó N.C. State took a giant step forward last week by scoring 65 points.
The opponent may have been a Football Championship Subdivision team, but that didn’t stop coach Tom O’Brien from seeing improvement beyond the boxscore.
“You can tell if a guy’s in a good blocking position or good tackling position or backpedaling properly,” O’Brien said. “That’s why we talk all the time, it doesn’t matter what it says on the jersey or the helmet, you have to respect the game and play the game.”
The Wolfpack’s offense ó neutralized during a season-opening 7-3 loss to South Carolina ó is feeling much more confident after a 65-7 rout of Murray State last week. Now comes Gardner-Webb, which visits Raleigh on Saturday.
N.C. State (1-1) found the end zone just 87 seconds in against the Racers and led 45-0 at halftime. Two running backs scored three TDs each, and dropped passes ó a critical part of the loss to South Carolina ó were almost nonexistent.
“We had to get better pass protection, we had to get better at throwing and catching, doing a lot of things,” O’Brien said. “We did (get better). From a technical standpoint, we were in a good position, running routes the right way, and the quarterback was throwing the ball on time.”
Russell Wilson ran his school-record streak of passes without an interception to 293. Among college quarterbacks, he trails only Kentucky’s Andre Woodson, who threw 325 passes without an interception in 2006 and 2007.
N.C. State teammate Julian Williams said the streak shows how far the redshirt sophomore has come in a short time.
“The quarterback position is so hectic,” said Williams, the starting left tackle. “I think the things he does as far as studying the game, he’s just so comfortable with the offense. It’s mind-blowing how good he is, not just his athletic ability but his understanding of what we’re trying to do.”
N.C. State’s defense seemingly has a firm grip on its opponents after two weeks, having allowed 14 total points.
However, O’Brien said pursuit to the ball was a problem that was addressed in practice last week. He wants the players to prepare the same way every week, whether the opponent is Gardner-Webb or South Carolina or any of the Wolfpack’s ACC rivals.
“We had too many loafs the first game. That’s coaching, and that’s effort on their part,” O’Brien said. “We coached ’em a little better, and they ran a little better.”