ACC Football: N.C. State to shake up defense

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 5, 2009

Associated Press
RALEIGH ó North Carolina State is shaking up its defense after being unable to get the stops it needed in the weekend loss at Wake Forest.
Coach Tom O’Brien said Monday that redshirt freshman Terrell Manning will likely start at linebacker against Duke this week. In addition, the secondary that gave up 361 yards passing to Riley Skinner could have four new starters against the Blue Devils, who boast their own four-year starter at quarterback in Thad Lewis.
“We’ve made (mistakes) the last couple of weeks back there (in the secondary) that I don’t think we can afford anymore,” O’Brien said. “Hopefully we can get it settled down. Until they step up or someone steps up and grabs the job and takes hold of it, we’ll keep looking until we find the right combination.”
Statistically, the Wolfpack (3-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) boasted the nation’s top defense (201 yards) heading into Winston-Salem. But those numbers were inflated by wins against a pair of overmatched Championship Subdivision teams, somewhat masking the Wolfpack’s ups and downs in the secondary.
Against the Demon Deacons, the Wolfpack allowed Skinner to throw for a career-high passing total. So O’Brien plans to start seniors Bobby Floyd and Clem Johnson at the safety positions against Duke to add some experience, replacing redshirt freshman Earl Wolff and freshman Brandon Bishop.
Wolff had started the past four games, while Bishop had started the past three.
The depth chart also shows former safety Justin Byers starting over Koyal George at one cornerback. Junior DeAndre Morgan, who has two starts, is listed as a possible starter along with redshirt freshman C.J. Wilson at the other corner.
Those struggles in the secondary have undermined the strong play up front, where the Wolfpack sacked Skinner six times and is holding opponents to 67 yards rushing per game.
“The thing is you really can’t get outside the scheme and try to do too much,” end Willie Young said.