Coach Tom O’Brien enters his fourth season (16-21, 91-66 overall) leading an NC State Wolfpack football program that has been in a constant rebuilding mode for the past three years due to recurring player injuries and roster changes. Though the Pack earned a spot in the Papajohns.com Bowl in 2008, it seems that only incremental progress has been made each year by the end of the season. The 2010 edition of the Wolfpack must be prepared to play every game during this “get it done” season to determine if O’Brien’s staff is capable of making the Pack a significant player in the ACC and on the national scene. Add into the mix the arrival of a new athletic director (Debbie Yow), who has incorporated the culture of “Wolfpack Unlimited: refuse to accept the status quo”, and it is clear that this season must be a success for NC State football.
Leadership on the field is established
The return of quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Nate Irving provides hope for a successful season for the Wolfpack. Both upperclassmen were selected as team captains and will be the leaders on both sides of the ball. In finishing second in the ACC in red zone offense and third in third-down conversions in 2009, Wilson knows how to finish the play and score. Under Irving’s leadership, if the defense and the team overall can play with more discipline and not lead the ACC in total penalties, they will go a long way in making it more difficult for their opponents to score and creating better opportunities to win.
Defense must help the offense
Off-season issues for some key returnees on the defense have been resolved and will hopefully allow the team to establish stability in its conduct on and off the field. It will not only be up to the coaching staff to perform and get results in preparing the team, but the players will need to focus and step up in order to achieve success. In being ranked tied for last in the ACC last season in scoring defense, the Pack defenders must solidify their efforts every game in order to provide Wilson and the offense the opportunity to put points on the board.
Players to Watch: Russell Wilson (QB), Nate Irving (LB), George Bryan (TE), Audie Cole (LB)
2010 NC State Wolfpack Football Schedule
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