After the BC game, defensive end Mike Rose was blunt about some of the problems facing NC State's defense. The fundamental personnel shortcomings are plain enough, but Rose raised additional concerns by asserting basically that State's had some guys giving zero cares. He also talked about a lack of confidence within the group, which is not so much surprising.
Snippets from the post-game press conference:
Mike Rose on the problems on defense: "We don't have a lot of heart on defense."— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) October 12, 2014
Rose cont.: "We don't have enough people that are willing to put it all on the line."— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) October 12, 2014
And more from Rose: "It hurts but as a player, looking at this team from last year where we were, it's either going to spiral down ...— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) October 12, 2014
" ... to the same thing or people are going to man up and say, 'We're going to stop losing.' "— Joe Giglio (@jwgiglio) October 12, 2014
NCSU DE Mike Rose: "I’m glad to see that people are starting to feel bad, finally. When it hurts, that means you care enough."— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) October 12, 2014
Rose, when asked if people weren’t hurting before: "I feel like to some people, it wasn’t. …— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) October 12, 2014
"…Against Clemson, we had some players who didn't believe. Against BC, I think when we got down and things got bad, they stopped believing."— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) October 12, 2014
A lot of this helps to explain NC State's dead-on-arrival performance in Clemson last weekend, and to echo Rose, it's difficult not to wonder if this team--fragile as it seems to be--will crumble again.
During the summer, the atmosphere around the program seemed more positive; players talked about not wanting to make a repeat of last season, about how they were closer, about how they'd become more committed to the coaching staff. Maybe that was nothing but empty talk. Half of every offseason does tend to be empty talk.
Whatever psychological repairs Dave Doeren made during the offseason appear undone or on the way there, to hear Rose tell it, and that is just about the last thing I'd like to be thinking about after a game like Saturday's.
Thing is--the team isn't in an especially bad spot, even after losing in disappointing fashion to the Eagles. We all figured the Pack would be 4-2 at best heading into the BC weekend. So they came in on schedule. There has been no terrible setback, no devastating rash of injury; just a heap of embarrassment laid on everybody by Clemson. The same things that destroyed the 2013 season shouldn't be eating away at this team, at least not to the same degree.
Maybe it's simply to do with carryover in personnel. Maybe the changes they thought they'd made were ultimately proven superficial once they were back in the shit and fluff quote season was over. Could be that the PTSD from an 0-8 campaign is too much for some players.
There is plenty yet that the Pack can salvage the rest of the way, and I think they're more than capable of making this season a positive one, but if they can't get right internally, the next month and a half will be unpleasant.
Let's just not go back down doom street at all, guys! You're fine! Everybody's fine! Winning record. Two wins from a bowl game. I think that's pretty good! Don't make me come over there and drop one of my patented super-pep talks on y'all. By the end, the urge to run through a wall on the team's part would be so strong that I could not guarantee everyone's safety.
Time to nip all the locker room issues. Nip it all, ball it up, and have Wil Baumann kick it into outer space. Let's get out there this week and watch some film, crush some homework, hit practice with a smile, and then we'll see where we're at in seven days' time. Personally, I feel better already.