Mark Gottfried's Need For Speed

In one way at least, Mark Gottfried picked up right where Sidney Lowe left off. Gottfried said yesterday that he likes his teams to push the tempo:

"We do like to run," he said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. "We would like to play up-tempo. I'm not a guy who likes to play in the 40s and 50s. I'm a guy who likes to push the ball and create opportunities."

Is that so? Let's take a look at his track record in this department:

Alabama Adj Tempo Nat'l Rank In-conf Tempo Conf Rank DR% Nat'l Rank Def TO% Nat'l Rank
2003 67.0 253 65.4 9 67.8 86 20.6 209
2004 66.1 220 66.9 4 67.0 134 19.5 261
2005 64.3 281 62.7 12 69.4 41 17.2 321
2006 64.6 259 65.5 8 66.9 132 17.7 321
2007 66.3 185 66.4 8 65.4 227 17.9 323
2008 68.0 125 68.6 5 67.7 141 20.2 205
2009 68.7 75 70.8 2 64.2 282 19.7 205


His Alabama teams were pretty slow during the first half of the decade but started to pick up the pace toward the end of his tenure. (Note: Gottfried left Alabama 19 games into the '09 season.) So he has some history of fast-paced offenses, but those seem more the exception rather than the rule. Then again, maybe the change in tempo at the end of his tenure reflects a change in philosophy that will carry over to NC State. Tough to say at this stage.

Two things that aren't going to help his first NC State team hit the gas are there in the last four columns. This is all familiar territory if you've read my various tempo-related posts over the years. It's harder to push pace when you can't rebound at the defensive end or force turnovers because that puts a cap on transition opportunities. It's not impossible (see 2009), but those are hurdles. Sidney Lowe's teams were never able to overcome them.

Since I have the numbers handy, let me add that I find Gottfried's history in these two defensive factors really troubling, especially since these are the exact same problems that we've had over the last five years. NC State needs to get a lot better at the defensive end, and I'm not sure Gottfried is the coach to get that done. But we'll see. I'll grant that this is all premature; the guy doesn't even have a staff yet.

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