Joe Ovies

Pressure on O'Brien to finish strong

Posted October 29, 2012

"Are you finished?"

A simple question put forward to NC State players by head coach Tom O'Brien after Giovani Bernard ripped out their hearts in Chapel Hill. According to O'Brien, the team responded with an angry "no."

It's now up to the coaching staff to properly channel that anger in the final stretch of the season.

The Atlantic Division is out of reach unless Florida State wants to hand it back to the Wolfpack with another loss of their own, but the Wolfpack can still close out the year with 9 wins. NC State historically responds well after losses under O'Brien and they have a favorable home schedule with contests against Virginia, Wake Forest and Boston College (8-16 combined this year). The great unknown will occur in Death Valley, where the concepts of "NC State Stuff" and "Clemsoning" will do battle. UNC gets late dramatics to top NC State, 43-35 Slideshow: UNC gets late dramatics to top NC State, 43-35

"Are you finished?"

Pose that same question to NC State fans and the answer might be different from the players. No doubt athletics director Debbie Yow spent a good chunk of the weekend soothing another round of baby colic from angry fans, which is expected after such a dramatic loss to the in-state rival.

The winning streak and potential ACC title run are toast, so the knee-jerk reaction is to demand change in Raleigh. Worse would be to completely check out on football and simply turn attention to a hyped basketball season. The damning apathy would be ironic considering a similar line of thinking has been fodder to blast North Carolina fans the last five years.

It's natural for fans to already have their minds made up about a coach by the time they enter their sixth season. O'Brien detractors? Quick to pounce on conservative play-calling against North Carolina and the soft defense against Maryland that was bailed out by a lucky bounce off the goalpost. O'Brien supporters? Rationally not throwing out five years of beating the Tar Heels and viewing November optimistically.

Either way, Yow is in a tricky spot with O'Brien.

So let's go ahead and put this out there since folks are bringing it up. O'Brien is probably safe if NC State gets to at least 8 wins and a quality bowl game. 

Regardless of where you stand, know this -- it would be difficult to sell NC State to prospective coaches after firing a guy who potentially wins 9 games with a bowl victory and tripped up once against the rival. This ain't the SEC.

71 Comments

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  • Big Mike Nov 3, 3:53 p.m.

    Hit the road Jack and don't ya come back no more no more!...Just an absolute meltdown by the Pack last week and this one. I think Mike London moved more in one down series than Tom O'Brian did the entire game..Mr. Enthusiasm bneeds to lead by example and not Nightime Nyquil...

  • conrad27713 Oct 30, 8:11 a.m.

    TOB is basically the Herb Sendek of football. Both ar/were good, if uninspiring coaches, both... View More

    — Posted by StunGunn

    Thank you, Jgunn, you just gave a great opinion about TOB & Sendek, and congrats on your heels winning the game last weekend.

  • conrad27713 Oct 30, 8:04 a.m.

    I'm just curious, but is Ovies saying that no program can ever fire a coach if they have a... View More

    — Posted by Thorpedoed v2

    I hope since you're still behind him, would you just pls push him out as the fball coach here at NC State. He has already reach his ceiling here, so thank you getting the program back on soild ground, but you ( TOB ) is not the coach that can get us to the level where we're winning divisional & the title game every 3 or 4 yrs. Its time for new coach at the ending of season even if he does finish 8 -4 with bowl game win.

  • uncsuckz Oct 30, 4:47 a.m.

    Hehehe... unc fans crack me up. 1 win in a half dozen years and they want state to fire coach... View More

    — Posted by shakennotstirred

    I agree, you're cracked. Why would UNC fans want TOB fired?

    — Posted by snapjack

    ...and why would unc fans want legitimate classes for their athletes to have to attend? we like it just the way it is. let us cheat all we want and allow umpteen dumbazz fball players into school so we can finish in the middle of the pack in a mediocre conference. that's known as the carowhina way!

  • snapjack Oct 29, 5:46 p.m.

    Hehehe... unc fans crack me up. 1 win in a half dozen years and they want state to fire coach... View More

    — Posted by shakennotstirred

    I agree, you're cracked. Why would UNC fans want TOB fired?

  • StunGunn Oct 29, 4:45 p.m.

    Hehehe... unc fans crack me up. 1 win in a half dozen years and they want state to fire coach... View More

    — Posted by shakennotstirred

    The UNC fans don't want TOB fired; by all means keep him. It's the State fans calling for his head.

  • StunGunn Oct 29, 4:28 p.m.

    All you people on here have no clue what the haties you are talking about. The best thing you... View More

    — Posted by swray001

    First, the word is "hades" not haties, second, I've always been on the Carolina... View More

    — Posted by Tarheel born

    College sports don't get much support up in Boston where they have the Celtics, Patriots and Bruins to cheer for. I think TOB left BC thinking football would get more support in Raleigh, and there always seem to be more fans at CF than there were up at BC, so he may have made the right move.

  • StunGunn Oct 29, 4:23 p.m.

    TOB is basically the Herb Sendek of football. Both ar/were good, if uninspiring coaches, both usually have/had winning records, and bring their teams to post season play. I can understand why State fans are fed up - TOB only gets you so far, and all you have to do is look at what Gott did in ONE year with Sid's recruits. I think State will finish with 8 wins (Clemson is the only ?-mark), and its kind of tough to can a coach who wins 8 games.

  • shakennotstirred Oct 29, 3:55 p.m.

    Hehehe... unc fans crack me up. 1 win in a half dozen years and they want state to fire coach obrien! He handed you a victory, you should join the wolfpack club...

  • Thorpedoed v2 Oct 29, 3:43 p.m.

    There is really no reason to keep TOB now! The only thing that has saved him this long is he... View More

    — Posted by dare107

    You do realize that you can only count 1 sub FBS team towards your wins for bowl eligibility, correct? It's a bit of a moot point.

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