Tom O’ Brien heads home
By Aaron Beard
RALEIGH ó Tom OíBrien is taking North Carolina State to his hometown of Cincinnati. The Wolfpack are bringing some new worries with them.
The consensus opinion before the season was that N.C. Stateís defense had to carry the team while new quarterback Mike Glennon and an inexperienced offense found their way.
Three games in, and itís the other way around.
The Wolfpack (2-1) likely will be without at least three defensive starters Thursday night when they visit the Cincinnati Bearcats. Linebacker Terrell Manning is having surgery on his left knee and was replaced by Dwayne Maddox on the depth chart.
OíBrien, one of five members of his coaching staff with ties to Cincinnati, said Monday that the rash of injuries means the coaches ěare the Dutch boy, putting fingers in the dike.î
Defensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Jeff Rieskamp have missed time with injuries, though Rieskamp was back on the depth chart this week. Cornerback Jarvis Byrd (knee) is out for the season.
Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn said the younger defenders have to grow up quickly.
ěItís always bad if we have one of the starters going down,î the senior said. ěDwayne stepped in at the end of the last game and did pretty good. Now he has to do it against Cincinnati.î
Rieskamp is one of seven Cincinnati natives on the team.
OíBrien and offensive coordinator Dana Bible attended high school in Cincinnati, Bible played and was an assistant coach for the Bearcats and was the Cincinnati Bengalsí quarterbacks coach for three seasons. Three other assistants also have Cincinnati-area connections.
Tight ends coach Don Horton ěgrew up in the city and went to Wittenberg and has a lot of great ties,î OíBrien said. ěWhen I was growing up, the Catholic league in Cincinnati was as good as any league there was in the nation and still is.î
One bright spot on his current team has been Glennon, who replaced Russell Wilson after the former all-Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback transferred to Wisconsin. Glennon threw a career-high four touchdown passes in a 35-13 win over South Alabama.
ěGlennon has done better than I would have expected,î OíBrien said.
Fullback Taylor Gentry, who caught two short TD passes from him in the South Alabama game, agreed with his coach.
ěThe first ball I caught from him about took the skin off my hands,î Gentry said. ěHeís come a long way. Heís waited patiently. Iím all about Mike. I want him to succeed.î