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Old 12-07-2006, 05:27 PM   #1
buckeyefan78
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Default NC State snags O'Brien...

NC State hired B.C. coach Tom O'Brien today.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2689220

Good move for NC State. O'Brien is a consistent coach who has strong ties with Ohio and Pennsylvania (esp. the Pittsburgh area) to recruit talent from. One out of every five Eagles are from those two states.

The article reports pay and lack of interest by fans in the Boston area as contributing factors for O'Brien's departure. I could buy that.

I'm not quite sure what expectations will be for O'Brien at NC State. They've only had 5 seasons of 9+ wins and 6 Top Twenty finishes in the last 30 years. I guess 7-5 with a few bowl wins would do.

Perhaps if doublee stumbles in here he could help us out on that one.
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Old 12-07-2006, 07:33 PM   #2
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This has been a bit of a controversial hire down here. The fans were kind of getting amped about Paul Johnson being the guy. I have even heard some of them say State just hired Herb Sendek in football cleats. The lunatic fringe is never, ever going to be happy with a coach until he wins a national championship. To be honest the only hiring that would have appeased everyone is Cowher.

But, anyway, for the most part the fanbase is fairly satisfied with the hire. The biggest knock on Amato was that his teams failed to play to their potential - especially on offense -, were undisciplined - tons of stupid penalties -, and were mind-numbingly inconsistent. O'Brien should be able to turn some of that around or at least recruit some guys that will bring some stability into the fold.

One of the major factors for O'Brien had to be the money. The hiring of Butch Davis had pushed him down to 11th on the salary totem pole above only Ted Roof within the conference and he was making under the national average for a D-I coach. He is reportedly getting in the neighborhood of a $400-$500K pay raise by coming to NCSU.

The thing about BC is they don't put a ton of money into their athletic programs and as long as you graduate your kids and aren't embarrassing yourself out on the field then you won't get fired.

He was also becoming a bit tired of playing in a market that had little to no interest in college athletics and really only cares about its pro teams.

It will be interesting to see what he will be able to do in a region with a better recruiting base. One of the reasons so many of his guys at BC came from PA/OH and other states is due to the New England area not being such a fertile region for high school football.

The lunatic fringe wants a to be a BCS bowl caliber program but the rest of the fanbase will be happy winning at least 8/9 games, beating UNC on a regular basis, and going to a decent bowl game on a yearly basis. Going 7-5 with the occasional bowl win will not cut it. Mike O'Cain got fired because he could not get past the 7/8 win plateau. Amato was supposed to be the guy to make them a team that challenged for the Conference Championship every year and win 9/10 games on a regular basis. If they were happy with 7-5 and the occasional bowl win then Amato would not have been fired as that is essentially what they have been three of the past four years.

They aren't necessarily expecting to challenge next year, but if O'Brien does not have them in a place where they are winning winning at least 6 ACC games and 8 or 9 games overall within three or four seasons then he will probably start feeling the heat a bit. Amato got a bit more slack because he was an alum and he brought a much needed shot in the arm energy-wise to the program that was floundering a bit under O'Cain.

The fanbase wants to be a top 15 type of program and it probably could be with the right coach in place.

Overall I think they went for the safe hire in O'Brien over Johnson because they know what they are getting with O'Brien. It is definitely a solid hire.
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:03 PM   #3
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Good insight.

O'Brien's ties to Ohio stem from the fact he is from Cincinnati. The Queen City is home to two of the top D-I high schools in the state over the last few years. O'Brien has capitalized on it. 8 current Eagles are from the city.

I'll take your word for it on the expectations doublee but don't you think they're a little high? You have to look at history and the fact that the ACC is going to rebound from this funk sooner or later (probably sooner).

A Top 15 program? They've had three finishes in the AP Top 15 since the inception of the poll in 1936.

8 wins a year? I know they'll have an extra game to get there now but they've only done that 10 times in the last 30 years.

I know people expect much but with the conference expansion of football friendly schools (as we talked about in other threads with Miami, V Tech, and FSU) I can't imagine a basketball school with 4 other I-A institutions in state being able to remain consistent for a long stretch.

If they get 7 wins a year they should take it.
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:51 PM   #4
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Okay, but the history of the program does not necessarily influence the future of the program when you change coaches; especially in a program that is showing a willingness to pour more money in the program to elevate it. That is almost like saying if they had managed to land Cowher they would never be more than a 7/8 win team. The reasons they have never been more than a middling program is because they have never managed to hire the right guy for the job. It is not as if Miami, Va Tech, and FSU have been elite programs since inception. They all had to start somewhere and get lucky enough to hire the right guy for the job. I'd say any BCS conference school that is willing to spend the money should be able to reach top 15 status if they are lucky enough to find the right guy to lead the program.

Like I said the expectations from the rationale folks are for O'Brien to get them to the point where they are winning at least 8/9 games a year and are a major factor in the conference. Everyone wants their program to be the best but most realize that is not always possible.
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:00 PM   #5
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Ah, gotcha.

You know doublee, it would probably save us a ton of time if you would just tell me I don't know anything about ACC football. :lol:

I think we can both agree though that established programs have a distinct edge over the ones just gettin' their feet wet...no matter the conference. Throwin' money at it helps but only goes so far. And sure coaching is a factor too.

I don't know. I just look at each conference and see which teams are powers and which teams aren't and the work the mid-tiers have to do just seems too steep to maintain consistent success...even with the best coaching and tons of cash flowing.

Plus the fact the mid-tiers lose their coaches so easily. Ya wonder what would have been at MSU had Saban stayed. Or what would have happened to Wisconsin had Alvarez left after his first Rose Bowl.
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:33 PM   #6
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The thing of it is that I don't know that Miami and FSU are going to get right back to being dominant anytime soon. I think FSU is caught in the same pickle that PSU is in the sense that I don't know that they will ever get back until Bowden retires. If Miami is seriously considering Bernie Kosar, which I doubt they are, they have problems. I am not sure Miami is such a desirable place to be and they may have to settle on someone who is a bit of a risk.

Given that O'Brien is 58 I doubt he views this as a stepping stone job but more of his opportunity to cash in and get a payday before he retires.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:29 PM   #7
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O'Brien won't change things overnight, of course. NCSU has to understand that. Sure, the team will improve slowly, and they'll be consistent after they start to improve, but they'll reach a plateau, same as BC, and probably fail to go beyond that.

BTW, while there's no reason history has to have any role in the progress a program makes, some programs do have a recurring theme follow them for long periods of time. BC, in my mind, have a big-game problem, and have always had it. The last time BC pulled off a win that even in hindsight they shouldn't have was 22 years ago. They've stunned the Irish a couple times, but when you review those games for context, they're not such a big deal: Notre Dame was usually in a downward spiral, if it wasn't yet recognized at that moment. BC's win over Miami, if only because of how they managed it, remains the program's biggest win. And will continue for years to come to likely be the program's biggest win.

Lou Holtz completely disrupted a College Football Final a couple weeks ago by joking that Catholic schools don't pay well. As long as this holds for BC (as it clearly doesn't hold for Notre Dame now, if it truly ever did), they'll always have a program just on the level of good, not great, and sometimes plain old bad. Fortunately, since no one here cares about BC athletics (I root openly against them without fear of reprisals), having a program like this is acceptable.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:41 PM   #8
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Oh, I know a program's history can have an influence on how it progresses under new management my point is that it does not necessarily have such an overwhelmingly direct effect as buckeye was sort of implying.

As for next season the consensus opinion is that, based on the talent level, this year's team underachieved. Folks aren't expecting him to win 9 games next year, but I think they are hoping for at least 5 or 6 wins. There is no real good reason as to why this team ended up 3-9 other than Amato f'ed it up.

The general consensus around here is that O'Brien will conceivably take the NCSU program a notch higher than BC's just because talent available in the immediate region is much better than that of the New England region. He should have a deeper pool of regional talent to recruit from here than he did in Boston. So, theoretically he should be able to recruit better talent here than he could at BC.
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublee View Post
The thing of it is that I don't know that Miami and FSU are going to get right back to being dominant anytime soon. I think FSU is caught in the same pickle that PSU is in the sense that I don't know that they will ever get back until Bowden retires. If Miami is seriously considering Bernie Kosar, which I doubt they are, they have problems. I am not sure Miami is such a desirable place to be and they may have to settle on someone who is a bit of a risk.

Given that O'Brien is 58 I doubt he views this as a stepping stone job but more of his opportunity to cash in and get a payday before he retires.
First off, Florida State has yet to hit rock bottom like PSU did. When they win seven games over a two year span, then they're comparable to the situation at PSU.

The problem that Penn State had was that I think Joe really started to lose interest/focus for a couple of seasons. After his brother, George, died in 2000 I think that really took a lot out of him and perhaps got him to realize his own mortality. Recruiting suffered, not really because the elite kids didn't want to come to PSU, rather the staff took the unwise approach of offering a bunch of kids early on in the process and then filled the class by December prior to the top prospects deciding. Joe then decided to micro-manage the program and tried to fit square pegs into round holes with some of the talent.

I don't think it was until after that 3-9 year that Joe realized changes needed to be made. Recruiting since that season has been infinitely more successful than the classes in the few years prior to that. Penn State, since losing 14-7 to Northwestern at home in November '04, is 21-5. That is among the best records in the nation over that time frame. Strange as it sounds, PSU has been to New Year's Day bowl games in three of the past five seasons. Problem there is the years between. Despite the fact that the team struggled to an 8-4 record, things are getting better and this should offer hope to Florida State that they can turn things around quickly. There's still talent in Tallahassee, it honestly wouldn't surprise me to see them turn around and win the ACC next season.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:34 PM   #10
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And Penn State should contend with Michigan and Wisconsin for the Big Ten crown next year...if Morelli learns how to throw a football by next fall.
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Old 12-08-2006, 09:03 PM   #11
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And Penn State should contend with Michigan and Wisconsin for the Big Ten crown next year...if Morelli learns how to throw a football by next fall.
I wouldn't count on it. The best QB at PSU is sitting on the bench- Pat Devlin. He played in a complex pass-happy offense in high school, while Morelli played in more of a run-oriented offense, and is quicker than Morelli. His decision making couldn't possibly be any worse. Yet Joe's stubborness and "loyalty" always prevails. :thumbdown:

After this year's brutal schedule, it gets significantly better in '07. Notre Dame at home and they lose a ton of talent, Ohio State at home and they will have to replace Troy Smith, among others, Wisconsin at home and they have to replace Stocco and Iowa who will probably struggle again. The only major road test is at Michigan.
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Old 12-09-2006, 11:52 AM   #12
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And Penn State should contend with Michigan and Wisconsin for the Big Ten crown next year...if Morelli learns how to throw a football by next fall.
Yep, and FSU has the exact same problem. Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford are overwhelmingly mediocre right now and really have not shown any improvement the past two years.

FSU's fortunes rest largely on who they come up with to replace Jeff Bowden.

But, the thing about FSU is that they are losing kids they used to get to second tier programs like NCSU, Rutgers, etc. that are willing to let play them right away instead of trying to red shirt them or sitting behind an upperclassman for a year or two.

Secondly, is that Bowden is being flat out out-coached in a lot of instances.
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Old 12-09-2006, 01:13 PM   #13
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But, the thing about FSU is that they are losing kids they used to get to second tier programs like NCSU, Rutgers, etc. that are willing to let play them right away instead of trying to red shirt them or sitting behind an upperclassman for a year or two.
We've talked about this before doublee and I still really don't agree with this sentiment.

Yes, I'm aware schools like Rutgers have recruiting zones down in Florida (I think they have 3 specific counties) but other large states (yes I'm talking about Ohio) lose kids all the time as well as have many more I-A schools within their border (those are scholarships and MAC kids do play in the NFL...as opposed to Sun Belt or UCF kids). Brady Quinn is from Columbus. I believe Ohio State did ok losing out on him with the guy they have now.

Aside from Boone, Ohio State's entire offensive line was redshirted. I'm sure they all could have played somewhere else if they wanted based on the fact they've anchored the lone undefeated BCS team this year.

Florida State is losing those kids because they aren't working hard enough. It's their fault.

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