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The Overall State of the Football Program as Seen by NC State fans

Following the disappointing loss to Wake Forest we put out a tweet asking WPN for their thoughts on the state of the program. It really is an excellent thread with a variety of perspectives that you should check out if you missed. I feel like the majority of NC State fans are on the same page and think Dave Doeren is doing good things but I also feel most of us on that side could be convinced the other way.

So we wanted to embed the reactions  as things get missed on twitter very fast and there was some good replies. We broke them down to 3 categories: Supportive, On-the-Fence, “Bust out the tiki torches we’re burning this mofo down!”

Supportive

On-The-Fence

Bust out the tiki torches we’re burning this mofo down!

And some other good thoughts:

PS –

We dove deep into the defensive numbers and what we found will shock you!

Did the Buzzfeed-esque headline work? Well here is a too-long-didn’t-read version as compensation.

TL;DR – The numbers bear out the narrative that we have been an average ACC defense over the last 3 seasons, and our 2015 and 2016 OOC schedules made our defense look way better than what it really was, especially in ACC play.

First, let’s start off with the basic defensive stats from the last 3 seasons in addition to the national rankings:

  1. Total defense (total yards/game)
  2. Scoring defense (points allowed per game)

So as you can see here, we had a top 30 nationally ranked defense in 2015 and 2016 in terms of total yards allowed per game.  Additionally, we had a top 30 scoring defense in 2016.  You will notice the numbers from 2017 do not appear to be as strong as the 2015 and 2016 numbers, but it should be noted NC State has 2 more games to play (UNC+Bowl) so there is the opportunity for these numbers  to improve or worsen.

So why are the numbers worse in 2017?  The simple answer is: because of the statistics from the 2017 out of conference (OOC) games.  Overall, we played a stronger OOC this year than we did in 2015 and 2016.  Additionally, 2016 had the Hurricane Matthew game to skew the stats in the favor of our defense.

The 2015 OOC featured Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, and South Alabama which is very different from South Carolina, Notre Dame, Marshall, and Furman.

This is evident in the outcomes of the games (2-2 vs. 4-0) and in the underlying statistics from those games.  The regular OOC schedule accounts for 4/13 games or 30% of the schedule, which means the regular season OOC can drastically affect defensive statistics on a per game basis.

In 2017, NC State’s defense has allowed 38% more total yards to opponents than in 2016, and 47% more points to regular season OOC opponents.  The increase is more drastic if you compare 2017 to 2015.

So now we must discuss how we can more fairly assess NC State’s defense given the regular season OOC variability.

Yes, all Power5 Conference schools play cupcakes in their regular season OOC schedule.

Yes, the NCAA has changed the rules regarding OOC scheduling to reduce the number of cupcakes on the regular season OOC schedule.

The simple solution is to look at statistics only from ACC conference games, and to compare those stats to other ACC teams.  This makes sense on many levels because every season we play 7 fixed opponents (UNC + Atlantic div) and 1 rotating Coastal Division opponent thus giving us a level of consistency.  Additionally, the ACC is our peer group, so we should compare ourselves to the schools we are competing against each week on the field and off the field.

When you look at NC State’s defense vs. ACC opponents, a picture begins to emerge of a defense that is not in the upper 25% like the national rankings would suggest, but it is instead just an average ACC defense in terms of yards per game allowed and points per game allowed.

If you want to point out that the Atlantic Division is more competitive than the Coastal Division, I showed how NC State’s defense ranks compared to other Atlantic Division teams, with 7 being the worst team.  Of note, over the 3 years, Syracuse consistently had the worst defense in the division.

As I outlined a year ago, teams are choosing to attack our defense with the pass instead of running the ball.  In 2016 against ACC teams, NC State’s defense saw the fewest number of rushing attempts in conference, and in 2017 we have seen the second fewest.

Our defense is allowing a stingy 3.9 yards per carry in 2017, but that ties us with 3 other schools, and puts us ahead of 7 other schools.  Just as in 2016, NC State’s defense is on pace to face one of the highest numbers of pass attempts in the ACC during the 2017 campaign.

Although the yards allowed per game has decreased slightly, it should be noted that there is a significant reduction in points per game allowed to ACC opponents over the last 3 years.  This lends itself to the “bend don’t break” defensive narrative that surrounds Defensive Coordinator Dave Huxtable. 

In 2017, NC State has the 3rd worst passing defense, in terms of passing yards allowed per game, BUT we are tied with Duke for 2nd best in the fewest passing TDs allowed (8) and we are in the middle of the pack for the number of rushing TDs allowed (11).  So that is how you end up with a scoring defense in the middle of the ACC pack my friends.

*This is a guest post from friend of the program StatboyMatt.  In future posts we will take a look at explosive plays and the record number of guys who have career days against Huxtable’s defenses.

National Media’s Guide to NC State

Here’s our podcast on the topic

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It’s only day 2 of the NC State basketball “coaching search even though we still have a coach through the end of the season” and I’m already at wits end. I’m sure I’m not the only one either. It’s just that time of year again when the national media tells the world how crazy we are to want to be better than the status quo. It’s exhausting. It’s also a lazy narrative that guys like Gary Parish, Jeff Goodman, et al will beat down our throats no matter what but I’ll get back to them.  It was Jay Bilas who I didn’t expect to come at us like he did this morning.

The Indiana University podcast gets its.

But back to Bilas….here’s one of his tweets at us.

Well, all those things are true but as news goes these days you can consider them ‘alternative facts.’ Mark Gottfried was not fired for his past performance, he was fired for the direction the program was headed.  For those that struggle to understand this, we put a little chart together.  This is Mark Gottfried’s ACC win percentage (including current year 3-11).

I’m not sure I need to put anymore numbers together but I will to drive this point home.

The Mark Gottfried made 5 NCAA Tournaments Narrative

Here’s another one the national media loves and Bilas fell in line with this morning…

We’ve said it about 100 times on the podcast. It’s all about what you use to define your metric for success. In life and in business, you wouldn’t go through your day-to-day routine if you didn’t have a metric for success.  Whether it be more sales or in the media’s case, more clicks, you have define your target and how you measure success.

For a program that has two national titles, multiple-ACC Championships, NCAA tournaments appearances is not the metric that defines success for the fan base. We are steeped with ACC history and folks on Tobacco road, sans Roy, hold the ACC Tournament and ACC Championships in the highest regard. Folks on the outside don’t get that. We, Dustin and I, believe that metric for success is competing in the ACC. That doesn’t mean that you should be winning the ACC every year, no one has that expectation despite what the fake news would lead you to believe. Competing means fighting to be in the top-5 of the ACC on a regular basis. If you’re doing that then you’re doing enough to be a top 25 program and every once in a while the stars will align and you’ll be fighting for the ACC Championship. **Side note, I wish someone with access would ask Debbie Yow what her metric for success is for basketball.**

Gary Parish’s article (which we will not link to because of the excessive ads and autoplay videos) used, Jim Larranaga as a comparison for Mark Gottfried as they were hired at similar time.

Mark Gottfried and Jim Larranaga got hired 17 days apart at NC State and Miami back in 2011. When this season is over, Gottfried will have made four NCAA Tournaments and two Sweet 16s. And he got fired two days after Valentine’s Day. Meantime, even if Larranaga makes the NCAA Tournament this season, his first six years at Miami will amount to three NCAA Tournament appearances and, more than likely, two Sweet 16s. And Larranaga has a contract through 2022 that nobody has even thought of buying out. He couldn’t be more comfortable in Coral Gables.

Two men.

Two ACC jobs.

So what is wrong with this statement? In theory, nothing as it makes sense but Gary fails to mention that Larranaga has won an ACC Title, their first in school history, of course he’s safe from persecution. In addition, one of those two men did not go 5-13 last year with a similar result on the horizon this year. It is short sighted and lazy.

NC State Can’t Compete with its Neighbors

More from ESPN – ‘You’re not going to compete with the likes of Duke and UNC talent-wise’

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.espn.com/core/video/iframe?id=18700506&endcard=false” allowfullscreen frameborder=”0″></iframe>

Ahh this is the other one that gets thrown anytime basketball gets mentioned. Alec Lower at BackingthePack said this

Over the last five years State’s recruiting classes have had an average finish (according to 247sports.com) of 20.8. This is actually higher than UNC’s average finish of 22.8 and reasonably close to Duke’s 9.8 over the same time period. Gottfried has proven talent acquisition is a total non-issue in Raleigh

For those of you who need pretty visuals…..

As you can see, Gottman could recruit, on par with the top programs in the area and even a bit better than UNC over the same period….

The problem then appears with the output from those recruiting classes. An average of 7.6 wins why the Heels and Devils were 12 and 12.4 respectively.

http://twitter.com/WillBrinson/status/832577589281710081

And I’ll leave you with this one from @JamesCurle

 

 

 

Post: Was our Defense Really the 4 th Best Against Rushing In 2016?

Watching our team dominate Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl, I loved seeing our front 6 dominate the line of scrimmage against an ACC opponent. With the news that Josh Jones is going pro, and Bradley Chubb may soon follow, I wanted to look reflect on this year’s biggest success as a jumping off point for next year’s team. NC State’s defense was ranked number 4 nationally against the run in 2016, which is quite a feat, and it provides a great talking point for the coaching staff during final recruiting push.

But was our defense elite against the run in 2016, or is there more to the story when you sift through the numbers? According to www.teamrankings.com NC State played the 32 nd hardest overall schedule in 2016, and our out of conference strength of schedule was ranked 51 st . It should be noted that those rankings include our bowl game against Vanderbilt. Given how weak our out of conference schedule turned out to be this year, I decided to look at our 8 conference games this season and compare NC State’s defense to its peers. In my opinion, this was the best way to do an apples to apples comparison because these statistics were generated playing against the teams we are comparing NC State to.

In conference play, NC State was not the number one ranked rushing defense based on average rushing yards/game. Louisville was number one with 103.9 yards/game and NC State was second with 108.8yards per game in their 8 conference games. To NC State’s credit, they did hold teams to a 3.4 yards/carry average over those 8 conference games, which was the second best only behind Louisville.

It should be noted though, that NC State may have had the second lowest rushing yards per game because the NC State defense faced the fewest number of rushing attempts (258) in the ACC during conference play.

In terms of total defense in conference play, NC State was quite average, finishing at number seven with 403.1 yards per game. NC State had the second worst ACC pass defense at 294.4 yards/game, finishing only ahead of Pitt who gave up 360.8 yards/game in the air. NC State faced the second most pass attempts in ACC play (309), again only finishing ahead of Pitt (368). So, it is fair to say that ACC Offensive Coordinators chose to abandon the run game in favor of the passing game, picking on NC State’s passing defense that was ranked 9 th in ACC pass defense efficiency.

At the end of the day, the goal of the defense is to prevent the other team from scoring and in ACC play NC State gave up 25.9 points per game, good for 7 th in the conference, the same ranking we achieved in total defense based on yards/game. This mediocrity is even more amazing when you dig deeper into our red zone defense. Our red zone defensive efficiency was ranked 11 th in the ACC allowing opponents to score 87.9% of the time they entered the red zone. NC State actually gave up 135 points in the red zone, ranked tenth, only finishing ahead of Pitt, BC, UNC-Ch, and Syracuse. Only UNC-CH, Syracuse, and Pitt allowed more trips to the red zone in conference games than NC State. The one bright spot is that NC State had the lowest touchdown percentage of all of the ACC teams, at 48.5%, but opposing kicker were 13-14 in FG attempts, which leads us to a different discussion about kicking.

After reviewing the statistics, it is reasonable to conclude that the overall NC State defense was just average in conference play; the result of an above average run defense and a below average pass defense. If Dave Doeren wants to improve his 9-23 career ACC record or his 1-22*record against Power 5 Schools with a winning record, his coaching staff will need to improve the defense against the pass.

This may be a tall order given the loss of Josh Jones and potential loss of Bradley Chubb, who accounted for approximately 1/3 of NC State’s sacks in conference play.

*Possibly 2-22 if Wake wins their bowl game today.

Here is the referenced spreadsheet

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18evLTz6dI2_AxzHXyqKkj4yzZZZJDCAFcfRXOghhe3g/edit?usp=sharing

The Case for Keeping Dave Doeren

It’s no doubt that Dave Doeren’s job status is a polarizing topic among NC State fans. Even after whipping UNC early and almost letting another game slip away the fan base is 75% ready for a change and 25% willing to give him another year. We found a few fans who believe DD should get another year and asked them to write up their thoughts.

James Curle, @JamesCurle

Every time I try to assert definitively why we should keep Dave Doeren, I can’t shake the reasons why we shouldn’t. That’s the problem with this debate: it’s as close to a 50/50 decision as I can recall in some time.

Why should we keep him? Well, we’ve been close in some big games this year. Real close. The missed field goal against Clemson was as devastating a play to a season (and perhaps a coach’s career) as you can imagine. A dropped interception in the end zone at the end of the FSU game was similarly devastating to our chances of winning that game. Some missed field goals against ECU probably cost us that game. The line between 5-6 and 8-3 is so razor thin for this team. Some years you have all those plays break your way; it seems this year they’ve all broke against us. I would much rather be close and in a position to receive those breaks than to be noncompetitive or starting over.

Why shouldn’t we keep him? Two big reasons that make a ton of sense for me are the favorable hiring market for head coaches and that waiting one more year pushes you closer to Debbie’s retirement time-frame of 2019. If you make a move now versus after 2017 (if warranted), you stand a better-than-average chance to upgrade your coaching staff and give him a little time to get settled in with Debbie before she hands the reigns off to a new AD. Waiting another year might mean your pool of coaches at your disposal might be more “shallow” and the hiring time-frame only gets more complicated as it relates to Debbie transitioning power to a new AD.

Since I’m on the fence but have to chose a side, I ultimately side with keeping him one more year. Yes, the track record is abysmal, but I do truly believe this team is close to breaking through. The roster should be Doeren’s best. Doeren is still a new head coach, experience-wise, and his two years at NIU weren’t nearly as difficult as his four at State have been, so I think he’s still catching up to the Power 5 learning curve. I’m not saying he needs another five to catch up to said learning curve, but I think he has learned a great deal from this season. And since I’ve always believed in giving football coaches five years as a bare minimum to eliminate any and all excuses for judging a coach, I’m sticking with that if for no other reason than the .

That said, if a change is made, I won’t be sad or surprised. The fanbase–particularly the ones who pay the bills in the way of Wolfpack Club dues, lifetime rights, tickets, parking passes and concessions–are reaching a point where apathy could be more financially costly than making a change a year ahead of my personal beliefs of how long a coach should have to prove himself.

Stephen Shepard, @sshep28

When Coach D took over our program it was at the lowest point it’s been in a while. TOB left the cupboard bare. We didn’t even have a QB. So you can’t really count the 1st year of Coach D’s tenure. He also couldn’t really get the recruits he wanted till the second year. So we are really only talking about 2 years now. If you look at talent level it has gotten tremendously better. We lined up against Clemson and Florida State and whipped them man for man and the recruiting is continuing.

If a couple plays go different, which Coach couldn’t control, everyone would be talking totally different. People say he should of switched kickers earlier…I’ve watched Bambard pre-game and between halves drill every kick and I’m sure that’s what the coaches see everyday. Remember your dealing with 18-22 year old kids that people want to berate and our fans are some of the worst for doing that. Coaches are here to not just win but build kids into men.

I agree the offense is not good. This is Drinks first year and hopefully things will open up a little next year. If D has his thumb to much on offense and that’s the problem then something needs to be done but another year is warranted.
You also have to look at who can we get that’s better. Coaches don’t want to go to a place where the fan base is whining after 2 years of bowl games and having a few bad breaks from being 3 and still could be.

Our fans need to relax…support the kids and staff and see what happens. I think he’s building something and we will see if he can push it over the top and if he cant..then you make the move and hope and pray that the grass is greener on the other side. Usually it’s not.

In the meantime show the players and hopeful recruits that we are a positive fan base and not the negative one that everyone talks about.
Just my two cents.

Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments or on the Twitter.

Has Dave Doeren Elevated Recruiting at NC State?

One of the most commonly used arguments in the ‘Keep Dave Doeren’ conversation is the thought that he’s elevated NC State recruiting to the next level. There are two reasons for this:

  • 1. It seemed that near the end of TOB’s tenure he was signing unrated and 2-star guys almost exclusively.
  • 2. Dave Doeren & Co have won some high profile local recruiting battles in Nyheim Hines, Johnny Frazier, Darian Roseboro among a few others

Dustin and I have fallen into this trap as well but a loyal listener, would rather remain anonymous tried to set the record straight as he had some spare time in the hunting stand. NC State fans are the best.

The following is from Mr. Deer Blind Pack Fan:

So I was sitting in my deer blind today, stewing over the football season, and I started thinking about all of the narratives surrounding DD and his tenure at NC State. One narrative I wanted to investigate, was the narrative that DD is a good recruiter.

So I made this spreadsheet using data from Rivals.com. I looked at DD, TOB, and CTC and their recruiting rankings. I ordered the data based on their coaching year, with “T” being the transitional year where they were hired and they had to throw a recruiting class together over a month, and “Year 1” being their first full recruiting class. I looked at the number of 4/5 star recruits signed, and the class rankings relative to college football and the ACC.

You will see that DD and TOB had very similar recruiting success during their first 3 full recruiting classes (years 1-3) after their transitional classes. TOB’s recruiting fell off in years 4 and 5, and it looks like DD’s year 4 class might face a similar fate now that he can no longer sell immediate playing time, his record at NIU, or other recruiting pitches that work early on. Also, Chuck the Chest (CTC) lost his recruiting touch in his final years as well, especially in relation to other ACC recruiting classes.

I enrolled in Fall 1998 at NC State. You know how many football wins we had that year? Seven. We also beat No. 2 Florida State AND No. 11 Syracuse. Mike Fucking O’Cain won seven games and beat two top 15 ranked opponents.

Since then year, we have spent over $100,000,000.00 upgrading Carter Finley’s football facilities. We built an indoor practice facility. We are setting season ticket sales records. We are paying our football coaching staff well over 3 million dollars per year. Yet, with all that effort, we will win fewer games in 2016 than we did in 1998 when Mike O’Cain was our coach.

Given all the effort to elevate our program, following statistics are unacceptable under DD:

  • 3-13 home ACC record
  • 8-23 overall ACC record
  • Only 1 win versus a power 5 school with a winning record (Wake Forest this year)
  • 6 of 8 Career ACC wins were against Wake Forest and Syracuse
  • 8 ACC wins in 4 years. ECU has 6 over that time period
  • He only has a winning record against 2 ACC schools
  • He has never beaten ECU
  • He has only beaten UNC once
  • Thank you for your time. I enjoy your show. I’m out.

    Here’s his attached spreadsheet
    here

    easy to read graphs:
    nc state recruiting football

Dan Wolken of USAToday on NC State Job

Dan Wolken from The Football Four podcast has been watching the NC State job before the BC loss. We asked him a question about who would fit at NC State. Here’s what he said: (2 minute listen)

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Dave Doeren’s NC State Contract

If anyone wants it for reference. Here it is.

The part you’re probably looking for:

  • $2.52m buyout right now
  • $1.68m next year ($840,000 per year)

There are some other interesting things like: He gets one meal a day at the Murphy? (one?) Cars, and Club Memberships.