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A Few News Items

-- NC State prepares for showdown with Alabama:

N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe said he labels the probability of Atsur returning tonight as iffy.

He said Atsur has been able to shoot and do some rehabilitation and conditioning work in the pool, but running has proven to be a much more balky matter.

Atsur, with 95 career starts, was averaging 17.3 points, 5.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds entering the Michigan game.

"If he does play against Alabama," Lowe said, "we don’t know how long he’s going to play.

"If Engin is in there we’ve got to be careful, obviously, and just see how he feels. I’ll let him go as long as he feels OK, but the minute it’s not comfortable for him, we’re going to have to take him out."

-- O'Brien: Pack players won't play if they're not disciplined:

But he does know what his first order of business will be inside the Wolfpack's locker room; O'Brien is going to put up a sign that reads: "Penalties lose games." It's a dictum he stole from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

"They're going to see that every day," O'Brien said Tuesday during a news conference at the Murphy Football Center. "You reinforce it at practice, you reinforce it every day. Now, some penalties happen. You're going to hold. It's the personal fouls, the late hits -- those things bother me. You want to stay onside. ... Those things are not acceptable."

If N.C. State's players continue to show an affinity for rumply yellow flags -- the Wolfpack ranked 94th in Division I-A this season with 58 penalty yards per game to perpetuate a trend that plagued Chuck Amato's teams -- O'Brien won't have a problem making an example of offending players by having them run in front of the team.

If that doesn't work?

"If they don't get it, they don't play," O'Brien said.

-- Prep QB Russell Wilson, who is the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Player of the Year, remains firmly committed to NC State:

"I haven't really changed my decision," said the B-student, who has not taken his official visit but has been on the Raleigh campus many times. "I know coach [Tom] O'Brien is one of the best coaches in the country. He brings discipline. I'm going to love that. He kinda reflects [Collegiate] coach [Charlie] McFall to me. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. That's where I was born. He thinks I'm an excellent quarterback."

-- O'Brien goes back to B.C. to recruit staff:

O'Brien said some of his former staff members might not want to leave Boston because they have family there or are attached to the area. He will learn more about their plans Thursday.