Despite loss to Wake Forest, NC State is on the right path

Well, I am going to admit this upfront, last night’s NC State loss at Wake Forest hurt. It hurt a lot actually. NC State was on the verge of a historic season. I believed that this team was going to win 9 games in the regular season and go for a 10th win in a bowl game. However, last night, that dream got derailed in Winston-Salem. NC State can still get to that 9 win goal with a bowl win. But this team had so much promise and hype coming into this year. This was Dave Doeren’s best team, BY FAR. The defensive line was touted as a top 5 unit in college football, with a first round defensive end in Bradley Chubb. The offense had firepower, with a QB returning for his second year in the system and weapons all around. This team could have gone down as one of the best in school history.

For those who don’t know, NC State has won or shared the ACC championship only 7 times and none since 1979. Over the last 15 years in fact NC State has put 4 quarterbacks into the NFL. They’ve had an overall #1 draft pick (Mario Williams). Despite all of the talent that has come through the program, the program has only had 9 seasons where they have won more then 9 games. They have never played in the Orange Bowl.

Maybe it’s the coaching decisions that have been made here in Raleigh? That’s possible, the Tom O’Brien ear was solid but not spectacular. He bungled the Russell Wilson situation. There was the Chuck Amato years which were pretty successful but ended with 7 straight losses in 2006. There are games throughout the history of the program that make you scratch your head. Maryland in 2010, Virginia in 2012, ECU and Boston College last season. And that is just in the last 8 seasons.

The question is truly, why does this happen to this program? NC State has a great atmosphere on game day. The stadium is near capacity each and every Saturday in the fall. There is the notion that NC State fans will tell you is “NC State Sh*t,” hell, there’s even a Twitter account that is dedicated to that notion.

The program is on the right trajectory though. Dave Doeren is recruiting at a high level. The 2013 class took it’s lumps their first few years, and seems to be ripe to finish out this season, as long as they beat UNC and make it to the Gator Bowl (which is more then likely where they end up), and finish in the top 25 at the end of the season, which can happen. Next season shouldn’t be a huge drop off as long as Ryan Finley comes back. Jaylen Samuels, Cole Cook, and Tony Adams (the other offensive linemen are listed as redshirt Jr’s which means they at least can come back in theory) are the only seniors that are definitely gone. The defensive side of the ball will take the majority of the losses. They lose the entire starting front 4, to graduation. But have built up the depth and have players who have gained experience this season so the drop off won’t be to terrible. Darian Roseboro is an interesting case who could turn pro or come back. They have another strong top 30-35 recruiting class coming in with some true difference makers.

The foundation is there for the program to be a perennial top 25 team. They are getting the talent through recruiting. 8-9 win seasons will become the norm here in Raleigh, and not the aberration. With the lack of sustained success that the program we need to understand that programs were not built over one season. But sustained success that is built over time…..

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