Russell Wilson’s success at Wisconsin may turn out to be the downfall of Coach Tom O’Brien at N.C. State. Tom O’Brien came to N.C. State after a successful stint at Boston College and took over the Wolfpack after Chuck Amato was fired.
Tom O’Brien was not a sexy hire, but all he’s been is a good solid Football Coach his entire career. And when he came to N.C. State he was fortunate enough to land a diamond in the rough recruit out of Richmond, Virginia named Russell Wilson.
Russell Wilson was not highly recruited in Virginia, and wasn’t even offered a scholarship by either Virginia Tech or UVa, and ended up at N.C. State where he became the starting Quarterback as a Freshmen.
Wilson took the ACC by storm, and was named First team All-ACC after his Freshmen season. It seemed like the future was bright for Tom O’Brien with Wilson as his QB.
But not only was Wilson a great college QB, he was also a really good Major League Baseball prospect and was drafted high in the 2010 MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies. And Wilson’s Baseball prowess soon became a conflict of interest with his Football career at N.C. State.
Entering his Senior season Russell Wilson was torn between preparing for his career with the Colorado Rockies, and being the starting QB for the Wolfpack. After the 2010 season, Wilson missed Spring Practice in Football and devoted the time to playing Minor League Baseball.
Tom O’Brien wanted Wilson to make a firm commitment to the Football program, and when Wilson missed spring practice, O’Brien named another QB Mike Glennon the starter, and made it clear that even if Wilson returned to football, he would not be the starter. This led to Wilson asking for and being granted a release from his scholarship at N.C. State, and he eventually transferred to Wisconsin where he has emerged as a Heisman Candidate.
And this is the crux of why Tom O’Brien is on the hot seat. So far N.C. State has struggled without Wilson. And needless to say, this has become a source of great embarrassment for O’Brien. As with each stellar performance Wilson gives to Wisconsin, O’Brien’s handling of Wilson becomes even more magnified. One has to assume that O’Brien under estimated the value Wilson had on his program.
With Wilson at QB the Wolfpack would have been a ACC Title contender, and in line for a BCS Bowl game. While it’s possible N.C. State could still go to a bowl game this year, it’s also possible they could have a losing season, and that could mean the end of O’Brien’s tenure, as so far he’s only had one winning season in his first four years, there may be no patience left for more questionable decisions by O’Brien in the future.
Record at N.C. State: 28-28
Record needed to get off the HOT SEAT: I’d say 7-5 and a bowl bid should turn down the heat on O’Brien. 6-6 won’t be enough to get a bowl bid. With two FCS opponents on the schedule, N.C. State needs seven wins to become bowl eligible.
- College football: Decisions send dominoes tumbling (sfgate.com)