Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
August 25, 2003
- The Wolfpack's defense, which led the ACC in four categories last year, suffered a significant hit midway through preseason practice when two former starters and a pair of reserve linebackers were shelved for the season. Defensive end Terrance Chapman, who led the Pack in sacks in 2001, was declared academically ineligible, ending his N.C. State career. The junior college transfer played only one season for the Pack, sitting out last year for academic reasons. The rebuilt defensive line will miss his considerable pass-rushing skills more than anything else. Meanwhile, defensive back Marcus Hudson and linebackers Corrie Dawson and Travis Singletary paid a steep price for their involvement in a February incident in which they were charged for using another student's debit card to buy more than $300 in snacks. Singletary, who pleaded guilty to felony charges, practiced with the Wolfpack early in the preseason, then left the squad to pursue playing elsewhere. Amato announced after the team's first scrimmage that Hudson and Dawson, who both pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, would spend this season working on academics. Both have redshirt seasons available.
- On the other side of the coin, two players who were in academic flux, tailback Cotra Jackson and defensive tackle Alan Halloway, are in good standing and will play this year. Jackson sat out last season as an academic casualty, not working out with the team and paying his own way to school. Halloway, a former juco transfer, performed well enough in class in two summer sessions to retain his eligibility.
- For the third time in Amato's four years as head coach, the Wolfpack welcomed a new offensive coordinator. Noel Mazzone, most recently of Oregon State, was the coordinator at Auburn when Philip Rivers was being recruited by that school to be a QB/TE. Under orders from Amato, Mazzone doesn't plan to change much in the Pack's multiple offense. He'll still depend on Rivers' football savvy and knowledge of the system, and he won't tinker with Rivers' throwing motion. Amato also hired a new offensive line coach, Mike Barry, formerly of Tennessee, and put him in charge of keeping Rivers safe.
- In a continuing trend, the Wolfpack lost at least four incoming recruits when they failed to meet initial NCAA eligibility requirements: prep All-American tailback Darrell Blackman, tailback Brian Dennison, defensive end Chad Green and defensive back Miguel Scott. Blackman is at Hargrave Military Academy this fall, while Dennison and Green opted for junior college. A fifth 2003 signee, defensive end Raymond Brooks, left the team in August without a public explanation. Last year, six of the Pack's signees (including four non-qualifiers) were ineligible in the fall.
- The Wolfpack's game with Clemson was moved from Saturday, Oct. 18, to Thursday, Oct. 16. ESPN brokered a deal to get the game at Carter-Finley Stadium onto national television, and to get the Pack one of those Thursday night appearances Amato loves. ESPN had to pull some strings, since the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes had a game scheduled for that Thursday night at the adjacent RBC Center. The cable network coughed up three previously unscheduled appearances on ESPN2 for the Hurricanes, a small-market franchise that welcomed the unexpected marketing opportunity.