NC State's Dismal Season Comes To A Close With 41-21 Loss To Maryland

That game was terrible so here is an adorable child. - Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

I've had an internal struggle going on for a month now over how I should feel about the way this season unfolded and how the coaching staff handled it. Obviously a lot of things have gone wrong when you end up 3-9, many--maybe most of them--outside of a first-year staff's control. And again, it's year one. So I'm really, really trying to withhold judgment ... when NC State is is running a 16-play drive that kills nearly a third of the final quarter while down three scores, though, it's tough. It's damn tough.

That's nonsense, of course.

I get how an extended losing streak can drag down a team. It isn't easy to find the motivation needed to bring your best effort into a game when your season is going nowhere and you've endured nothing but setbacks for months. We saw that in the first half on Saturday. I wouldn't be so bothered by it if it didn't seem like the players were simply taking their cues from a staff that checked out a while ago.

I want to be wrong about that. I hope that after some time has passed, and the whole me-feeling-crappy-right-after-a-loss factor is removed, these sentiments seem silly. But sitting here now, in full feeling-crappy mode, it's difficult to shake the nagging doubts about this staff's ability to orchestrate a successful rebuild.

Maybe if State made a few more plays here and there, won a couple more games, I'd feel entirely different. Maybe that changes the entire atmosphere around the program. I don't know. The next 12 months, on and off the field, should be telling.

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