NCSU staffer has leukemia
RALEIGH ó N.C. State offensive coordinator Dana Bible has been diagnosed with leukemia and won’t coach the Wolfpack’s season finale against No. 23 North Carolina.
Head coach Tom O’Brien said Bible will remain in a Chapel Hill cancer center for 30 days of treatment. The school said Bible has been diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia.
“It’s shocking to everybody,” O’Brien said. “They’re still doing tests.”
Bible, 56, didn’t travel with the Wolfpack in last weekend’s loss at Virginia Tech. O’Brien said Bible became ill last week and sought medical attention Thursday, then learned Friday he would have to skip the trip and was hospitalized that night.
“He’s a tough old guy, and he’ll fight,” O’Brien said. “Prayers would be welcome, and they’re definitely needed.”
O’Brien said the team will handle play-calling duties “by committee” against the Tar Heels. Last week, running backs coach Jason Swepson filled in during the 38-10 loss to the Hokies.
The Wolfpack will bring back Jay Civetti to help against the Tar Heels. Civetti was a graduate assistant on offense at N.C. State in 2007 and has spent the past two years as offensive coordinator at Division III Tufts, which has concluded its season.
CHAPEL HILL ó North Carolina ranks in the top 12 nationally in four major defensive categories, including fifth in total defense (261.6 yards) and 11th in scoring (15.9 points). They’ve become more opportunistic with takeaways in the Tar Heels’ four-game winning streak and have even scored four touchdowns in the past two weeks heading into the finale at N.C. State.
“Defense is the one thing that can be consistent,” coach Butch Davis said. “You may not catch the ball or throw the ball as well. There’s a lot of variables that may happen, and you can’t control the weather.
“There’s been some games where we’ve played well offensively, but certainly the defense has been the one rock we’ve been able to count on.”
The Tar Heels are playing with a chance to earn nine wins in a season for the first time since Mack Brown’s last team at UNC went 11-1 and finished sixth in the country a dozen years ago.
Everyone on the roster knows where much of the credit for that goes.
“They know that they’re obviously carrying us an extreme amount, because they’re getting turnovers and scoring touchdowns for us,” quarterback T.J. Yates said. “I really respect the defense and everything they do. When we’re struggling, they’re out there getting us points and when we’re sputtering on offense, they’re not ones to point fingers.”
GREENVILLE ó For all the firsts East Carolina experienced during its rapid rise to prominence last season, there’s one thing that group didn’t do.
The Pirates (7-4, 6-1) can take care of that nagging detail ó home-field advantage for the Conference USA championship game ó by beating Southern Mississippi this weekend. Last year’s bunch had to go on the road to win its first league title.
“I’m not going to talk to them Friday night about, ‘Look at everything riding on this game,’ ” coach Skip Holtz said. “The last thing you want to do is mount more pressure on them so they go out there all tense and tight.
“I want them to understand what’s on the table, what we’re playing for … but I don’t want to turn and put those things on the table Friday night before they run out on the field. I’d like to put it out early in the week … and then let’s turn and put that stuff behind us and now let’s just talk about Southern Miss.”
The Golden Eagles (7-4, 5-2) have just as much to lose in what amounts to a winner-take-all game for the East Division title. A win by Southern Miss ó which has dominated the rivalry ó would send coach Larry Fedora’s team to next week’s C-USA title game.
The Golden Eagles have won 11 of 13 meetings in the series and haven’t lost in Greenville since 1994.
The Southern Miss-ECU winner will face the West champion ó No. 25 Houston or SMU ó on Dec. 5 with a spot in the Liberty Bowl on the line.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ó Virginia’s finale against No. 14 Virginia Tech will likely be the last for coach Al Groh at his alma mater after nine up-and-down seasons.
Groh isn’t interested in discussing his job status just yet.
“It’s really not about me. It’s about the team, and it’s about the players,” he said Monday. “You know, that’s all I’m really thinking about, so I don’t really have any thoughts on it.”
BATON ROUGE, La. ó Les Miles said he understands the criticism and accepts the blame for a series of gaffes that resulted in the Tigers’ 25-23 loss at Ole Miss.
“As part of the process, I evaluate everything we do ó players and coaches,” Miles said. “I’m part of that process. I’m no different than anybody in this team room. I mismanaged the back end of the Ole Miss game. I’m responsible. I’m the head coach.”NORTHEASTERN
BOSTON ó Northeastern is ending its football program after 74 seasons because the investment required to make it competitive was too high.