2021 Production Loss NC State

I am doing the ACC non-Pitt opponents in alphabetical order. That means NC State.

Dave Doeren enters his tenth year as HC of the NC State Wolfpack. Overall. He is 64 – 49 (34-40 Conf, 27-6 Ooc, and a 3-3 Bowl record). He has hit his stride in the last 5 years 39 – 23 (25-17 C, 13-4 O, 1-2 B). He has had two losing seasons and the 2021 bowl game was cancelled.

All that leads us to last year results and the upcoming 2022 schedule.

NC State has mastered the art of out of conference scheduling.

Here are the Rivals 5.7 and above 2022 commits. Also included is the current Transfer Portal (TP) addition.

As you know, I like to use color coding to highlight certain items – light blue for eligibility, reddish pink for TP entries and a bright green for medical, grades or disciplinary reasons. NC State has a commit who would be a bright green for still being a verbal.

NC State has lost 8 scholarship players to the TP this year – Five from the offense, two from the defense and  a kicker.

On to the stars identified as NCAA team leaders in selected stats or members of the All ACC teams.

The offense revolves around QB play. I have added sacked and yards lost to the QB chart.

Behind Leary and Finley, the only scholarship QB on roster is 2022 signee M.J. Morris a Rivals 5.8  4 Star. To shore up their QB depth, the Wolfpack picked up past FCS Charleston Southern long time starter Jack Chambers as a graduate walk-on. Chambers is not currently listed on the 24/7 transfer port NC State page.

As I was drafting this article, it dawned on me that there could be a huge shakeup in Atlantic division starting QB’s in 2023. Cunningham (Louisville class of 2017) and 2018 class Leary, Jurkovec (BC) and Hartman (Wake).

NC State running backs and receivers 2021 activity. Also returning production for the first four teams reviewed.

We got a new leader in lowest returning production. Actually, I was surprised when I realized that NC State’s stat. I had to recheck my figures to see if I made a math/link error. I did not.

In my opinion, I do not think NC State expected Zonovan Knight to go pro.

NC State’s OLine stats:

Sacks as a percentage of total plays were 3.1%. That could change the Pass/Run ratio from 54%/46%  to 57% to 43%.

While NC State lost one starter (the 6’th overall NFL draft pick), they are still very solid. At one point, Zavala, a starter (injured in the 5’th game last season) was denied a medical extra year. But in another appeal won his case. In 2017, Zavala started as a true freshmen at Fairmont State (WV). He  played 3 games before being injured and sitting out the balance of the year. He transferred to NC State in 2021.

The Wolfpack returns 5 players with solid starting credentials. With that inexperienced returning RB roster, they will need that OLine to do their job. Only around 7% of plays resulted in negative plays.

That wraps up the NC State Offense. On to the defensive review.

NC State had a whopping 51 players make a defensive stat. But fourteen of them were offense players. An additional two were special teams players. That leaves 35 defensive players making a stat.

The chart below strips out the non-defensive players and thirteen players who did not make at least double digit tackles. I did leave a player who only made 5 tackles. He is high-lighted in yellow and more on him later.

I did add a total line for the 22 players on the chart. You can compare those numbers to the summary totals for all defensive stats.

NC State is returning basically all of their defense. The only slight weakness is in their LB group. And that is where the player high-lighted in yellow comes in to play.

Payton Wilson was injured in the first game (South Florida(USF)) of the 2021 season. In 2020, he was a first team All ACC selection. Here is his stats from 2020.

That is a significant gain offsetting the one LB the Wolfpack lost.

I am impressed with NC State. They have a solid football team returning except for the running back position. Somehow, NC State needs to find a running game that improves on their 2021 99’th rated rushing offense. If that happens, the October 1’st game against Clemson may decide the Atlantic division championship. That wraps it up. Next is Wake Forest, the team who won the Atlantic last year and has a shot at winning the division again.

A New Scheduling Model in the ACC?

Long time commentor and prior guest writer JoeL (aka Joe Lawrence) sent this article to be published. I thought it was timely. Thanks, JoeL.

The ACC annual meetings are taking place in Amelia Island, Florida at this time and one of the topics being discussed is the divisional setup and conference schedule. Reports indicate we should get ready for some potentially big changes.

One change involves elimination of the two-division setup. If so, the Championship game would be played by the 1st and 2nd place teams in the conference. While I am sure Clemson does not care either way, both Florida State and NC State are sure to hope that happens. I am not so wild about it… seems like a champion is already determined when all are lumped into one pool. Heck, one should have to win SOMETHING to get in a Championship game – even if that something is the lowly Coastal Division title.

Another change involves potentially going from 8 to 9 conference games/yr. As long as this comes with a ban on playing FCS schools in the out of conference slate, I am all for it. Helps improve the value of the ACC Network and makes for more meaningful games on the Pitt schedule.

The third possible change – and most fascinating – involves the establishment of three fixed    annual opponents on each teams’ schedules, leaving 6 (or 5) other games to be scheduled among all the other schools. What this means is a more attractive rotating schedule than we have seen since joining the ACC. I forget the math (Richard, where are you?!), but I believe this means Pitt would face every team in the ACC within a 2 to 3 year period…correct me if I have that wrong, but the point is we will see all of the other teams more frequently than we have in the past.

If passed, it will be interesting to see how each school’s three fixed opponents are set.

Let us start with an easy one – UVA. We know they will play the Hokies each year. It is almost a law in Virginia. They will also probably play UNC – the “South’s Oldest Rivalry” – as it has been so since 1892. And the third school…. Gosh, I have no idea to be honest.

Let us try another – the Hokies should be easy. We already know about the annual Cavalier game. A matchup with Miami would harken back to the grand old days of Big East football, although VPI fans would prefer UNC because everyone likes to beat the Tarheels. But Miami is the one…its best for TV. And I am stuck on a third one.

Meanwhile in Chapel Hill, UNC faithful will insist on Duke first and foremost. Then the old game with UVA will run second and once again, I am struggling with the third.

Miami for its part, will want Florida State for state bragging rights and Clemson because unlike many other ACC teams, Clemson is nationally relevant. They might want BC because Donna Shalala said way back when that keeping those two schools together was important….at least that was her argument for enticing BC to leave the Big East.

NC State will rigorously argue for Clemson and the Hokies, because all three programs resemble SEC members. Stuck again with a third.

Clemson does not care much really. Actually, upon waking up from a nap during all this this, they yawn and said they would volunteer to take Duke, GT and BC… to do their part for the conference after all.  

Meanwhile, Pitt and Syracuse are getting shuffled around like Pinto and Flounder at a Omega Rush Party.

Louisville is on the sofa in the back room when Neidermeyer introduces Pitt and Syracuse, and the Cardinals now realize they are in the nerd room and rationalize that they were a bigger deal back at their high school: “Folks here just don’t appreciate that yet.”

“Bless their Cardinal hearts” say the folks in Greensboro.

But this is a Pitt blog and so I suppose some sort of thoughts on its three fixed opponents is necessary. Well, of course, its pre-ordained that its Flounder…the Orangemen are already our “rivalry game” (cough-cough). And the second school is BC…because BC would like Pitt as one of its three schools – and it is nice to be wanted. As for its third school… this is where the Hokies learn that in a way they are still on the outside of the ACC looking in when the powers that be decide that annual matchups with Pitt is good for Big East the large TV markets in the Northeast.

In the end, the fixed pairings look something like this:

Pitt – Syracuse, BC, VT

Miami – FSU, VT, and BC

VT – UVA, Miami, and Pitt

Syracuse – Pitt, BC, and Louisville

BC – Miami, Pitt, and Syracuse

Louisville – Syracuse, Clemson, FSU

(Gee, that looks like a revival of the Big East…who woulda thought that could happen?)

UVA – VT, UNC, Duke

UNC – Duke, UVA, NC State

Duke – UNC, UVA, Wake

NC State – Clemson, Wake, UNC

Wake – NC State, Duke, GT

Clemson – NC State, Louisville, GT

GT – Clemson, UNC, FSU

FSU – Miami, Louisville, GT

What are your thoughts on logical fixed schools for Pitt if this goes through? What would you want and what would you expect to actually happen? Time for Heather Lyke to show she is not in over her head this time…. folks are watching

(JoeL is correct on the two- or three-year time frame.)

Mark (PittPT) David Alderson, Sr., Sally Wiggin, David Alderson, Jr., and Wolfe (Farmer High School)
BigB, Big Al, Tom Mathews, JoeL and Emil Boures
Fran Lokar (Lastrow), Greg McDonald, Gerry Dulac, Steve Franz, Kevin Lynch (Kman)

Mike Reinmund, John Fredland (MajorMajors), Richard Tencza (Richman), Pete Scieka, Dan Pratt

2021 – Production Loss Florida State

2021 Production Lost – Florida State

I am doing the non-ACC Pitt opponents in alphabetical order. That means Florida State.

Mike Norvell is entering his third season as head coach of the Florida State Seminoles (FSU). He is trying to recapture the glory of FSU football achieved under Bobby Bowden and Jimbo Fischer. He is not the first to try. Willie Taggert’s had two seasons to try (11 – 14, 7 – 9 conf) but did not succeed. Norvell is 8 – 13 overall and 6 – 10 conference and that is why this maybe a make or break year for Norvell.

2021 schedule and results and upcoming 2022 schedule.

Will the Duquesne Dukes make it two in a row for the FCS? No, not happening. But the FSU fans can take pride in not running up their per game scoring average against an FCS foe.

For color coding, a light blue color indicates a player who is leaving the team due to eligibility or the NFL. A reddish pink color indicates the player left via the TP. A bright green color are for those with medical, grades or disciplinary reasons. There are very, very few of the “bright green” and only one on FSU.

Usually, I give the color coding after the recruiting/TP activity chart. FSU has a commit who has not signed his national letter of intent. On Rivals, he is included in the team rankings. I am not positive but I believe he is not included on 24/7 since he is not in the signed category.

Here are the Rivals 5.7 and above 2022 commits. Also included are the 10 current Transfer Portal (TP) additions.

Seven offensive players, three defensive players plucked from the portal.

Jared Verse, an unranked high school recruit, signed with Albany in the class of 2019. He was a hot commodity in the TP based on his 24/7 re-rank (0.9400 4-star comparable to a Rivals 5.9 4-star) . Here is a link to an ESPN article. Nate Byham is mentioned in the article.

Jared Verse’s move from Albany to Florida State is a transfer portal success story in the making (espn.com)

FSU currently has 23 scholarship players listed as being entered  into the TP. There are an additional 4 walk-ons who may or may not have been on scholarship during the 2021 season. Of those 23 scholarship players, there are twelve defensive players and eleven offensive players. In total, nine of the offensive and defensive players had a stat.

On to the stars identified as NCAA team leaders in selected stats or members of the All ACC teams.

The  offense revolves around QB play.

FSU now has three scholarship QB’s – Travis, Rodemaker and 2022 Rivals 5.8  4-star A.J. Duffy. Very few 2021 QB backup stats. Milton started four games and saw action in two more in 2021.

Florida State running backs and receivers 2021 activity. Also returning production for the first four teams reviewed.

But first, I added a few tweaks to the chart. I have broken out the Rushing stats by RB’s, WR’s, and QB’s rushing stats. I did the same for the Receiving stats – WR’s, TE’s, RB’s & Other. It now looks similar to the defensive stats breakdown.

As long as the offensive/defensive coordinators carryover from one year to the next, you can gain a little insight into the style of offense/defense that team plays. For example, FSU only had eight WR rushes. BC had seven. Clemson had one and Pitt under Whipple had seventeen.

I also added the pass/run percentage (Rounded pass 43% run 57%).

Pitt is now the team with the lowest returning production of the 4 teams reviewed.

Like Boston College, Florida States offensive weakness may be its offense line.

I also added some offensive line stats – tackles for loss allowed (TFL) and (a subset of TFL) sacks. By NCAA definition sacks are classified as a TFL, and a run attempt (and not a pass attempt). This action can lead to overstating run attempts and understating pass attempts.

To shore up FSU’s line, they added two players from the portal. One addition is in his final year of eligibility. The other has one additional year after this season. Those additions are for immediate help. Compare that to the WR’s and RB who are for depth and immediate help with three to four years of eligibility remaining.

The offensive line needs shaping up. Between sacks and “True” tackles for loss, the Oline gave up negative yardage on 10.3% of FSU offense plays. In comparison, Pitt’s Oline gave up negative yardage on (34 sacks and 42 “True” TFL) 76 plays or 7.1% of 1,069 total plays.

From what I have read, Norvell wants a more balanced offense. Currently, FSU is run heavy 57% versus 43% pass. They and you should know that the problem is not as bad as it seems. Add sacks to the mixture moves that mix down to 52% – 48%. Pitt’s problem is the opposite. Add the 34 sacks allowed to pass attempts and instead of the 51% pass – 49% run you will get a 54% – 46% mix.

That wraps up the offensive production lost part of the article. On to the Florida State defense.

FSU had 45 players make a defensive stat. Nine of them were offense players. An additional two were special teams players. That leaves 35 defensive players making a stat.

The chart below strips out the non-defensive players and those twelve players who did not make at least double digit tackles.

I did add a total line for the 23 players on the chart. You can compare those numbers to the summary totals for all defensive stats.

The defensive line led the way in production lost. They picked up one DE (Verse hopefully, to help replace 2021 portal pickup Jermaine Johnson from Georgia and 2020 portlier Kier Thomas from South Carolina). They also picked up a LB & a DB. The FSU fans say Norvell needs to be bowl eligible (six wins) this year. That is all I have. Next up – NC State.

Reading Between the Lines – Jordan Addison Edition

The Jordan Addison situation continues to evolve. And per Mike Farrell, Pitt is no longer in Addison’s consideration set. The curious thing is why? You have to take all of these rumors with a grain of salt, but lets at least look at what is being said: (Per Pittsburgh Sports Now https://pittsburghsportsnow.com/2022/05/05/mike-farrell-on-the-latest-jordan-addison-rumors/)

Continue reading “Reading Between the Lines – Jordan Addison Edition”