Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Hope and Fear of the Mike Glennon Era

I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so hung up on the Russell Wilson saga.

It’s not surprising to find that fans and media disagree with my opinion on how Tom O’Brien handled the Russell Wilson situation. What was surprising to me was just how many people disagreed - how large a majority seemed to side with O’Brien and his decision to cut loose his All-ACC quarterback. That he had to make this move for the good of the program.*

As we are all often guilty of, I dismissed away the other side. Fans are simply fans, towing the company line and backing up a coach who just led the team to nine wins and a bowl victory. The media wants to remain on good terms with O’Brien and taking him to task for a difficult decision isn’t the best way to keep getting good quotes or sound bites from the head coach.

And certainly there are people who disagree with me who fall in those categories, but those excuses don’t cover everyone. Why is my opinion at odds with so many rational thinking people who cover or root for NC State?

The only answer I can come up with is hope and fear.

I understand the logic behind O’Brien’s decision. He didn’t want the uncertainty of Wilson’s future hanging over the program. He wants to build towards 2012, when a lot of pieces will be in place for an ACC title run and the breaking in a new quarterback would make that goal much tougher to attain.  I can see the line of thinking that led to Wilson becoming a Badger – and it makes perfect sense.

But I fear the unknown. Plenty of people look at Mike Glennon and see a sharp guy with all the physical tools it takes to be a great quarterback at this level and potentially the next level as well. But all I see when I look at Glennon, who hasn’t thrown a pass in a meaningful game since high school, is 6’6” of cannon-armed unknown. The last four-star quarterback recruit to start for NC State was Harrison Beck.

Between the ears is what separates a quarterback with great tools from a great quarterback. And none of us can know what will go on between Glennon’s ears when he takes a snap in front of 60,000 people and has to make a play in a pressure situation.

Clearly not everyone shares my fears. They see Glennon as the next great hope, the guy with the make-up and tools to get NC State to a height it hasn’t seen in decades. They embrace the uncertainty of the situation in a way that I’m simply not capable of doing.

I admire those people, the ones that can stare at uncertainty and paint a picture of all the glory that it holds. Perhaps it’s too many nights weaving uninspired stories of equally uninspired losses, but I’m not capable of dreaming those dreams.

That’s why I can’t leave the Russell Wilson saga alone.

*I strongly dislike this idea. Specifically those words, ‘had to’, as if the entire program would have crumbled had O’Brien handled things differently. Whatever O’Brien decided, I’m confident he’d have maintained a firm grasp of his own football program.


  1. I share your fears for Glennon, he is an unknown. But I support the decision for several reasons.

    2011 new WRs will start for NCSU. TOB knew that these WRs needed all the consistency they can get, we don't have a Julio Jones at the program. Our most experienced WR is TJ Graham, a track star playing WR. As shown in the spring game these WRs need a lot of work. Can they get there by midseason and ACC picks up? Sure they can. But why press reset in August and have them adjust to a new quarterback? What good is having Russell Wilson if the WRs are used to glennon. If they can't catch the ball the Wilson is useless. We don't have Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams coming back, both whom are accustomed to wilson's style of play. The top receiver coming back caught 25 passes total last year. Compare that to the 60 and 52 that Spencer and Williams caught. It only make sense to have the new receivers come up with the new quarterback.

    Secondly, Wilson is great but couldn't it be possible that TOB was trying to do Wilson a favor? It is unknown what future Wilson has in pro football and by already having a baseball contract; this could have been TOB way of saying a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

    Thirdly, I think NCSU's offensive line has finally has become something that TOB believes can protect a QB, although the defense did get to Glennon in the spring game. It is NCSU best offensive line since TOB has came to campus. One of the main reason for TOB picking wilson in the first place was the lack of pass protection from the offensive line that would prevent a pocket passer like Glennon from being successful. You needed Wilson's running ability to make plays when the protection broke down. Now that the line is improved TOB may think that Wilson's running ability is not as valuable since you want your QB making plays from the pocket, which lessens the need for Wilson.

    Just my feelings and of course if Glennon does perform well you do have him for 2 years and everything will be just fine. But if our fears are realize and Glennon isn't special then it does look bad but I still won't be upset with the decision, there will just be a need to get another QB in here who is special which is what you would be doing anyway because Wilson can't play forever.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I think you make a lot of good points. Definitely think this is a situation where reasonable minds can disagree.