Last week, NC State LB & the people's champ, Nate Irving, was in a car accident. He has been listed as doubtful for the season. It has been speculated that he might be out for 90% of the season. However, Action Football! has unnamed sources that state, "the car accident was extremely severe" and "Irving is lucky to be alive". Yeah, I am that kind of wired to the Triangle. I am like a straight version of J. Edgar Hoover. Caulton Tudor, who might writes for the News & Observer and abuses small animals while high on stolen pain medications from Iraq war veterans, wrote this article last week on the Nasty Nat Irving car accident. He makes some points, but that dog just doesn't hunt.
The fact about THE NC State University football without Nate Irving was that it was not just Nate Irving who was out. Sure, Russell "The Like Muscle" Wilson was out for some of the same games as Irving comes into to play. Yet, Tudor does not take into account the fact that Micheal-Alan Cash (God, I was hoping NC State would get a DE named John Tango!) and Clem Johnson (Wait, there is a black guy named Clem?) were out concurrently with Irving during some of NC State uglier loses last season. Also, last season was a record for Coach Tom O'Brien on the number of players he has on the DL. O'Brien's record and training staff, that he brought from Boston "Chestnut Hill" College, have a history of players not being hemmed up too long or even a being on it to start.
M-A Cash and Clem Johnson turned out to be great players in Tom O'Brien system last year. Clem Johnson was one of the first real signs of leaving the Chuck Amato system of man coverage, where a player needs to be able to run like a damn gazelle and may need to tackle someone from behind on the 1 yard line, to the Tom O'Brien/Mike Reed system of zone coverage, where you need to hit the living Buh-Jesus out of the man in your zone and make sure he-no-wanna-catch the ball again. Cash was just a typical O'Brien tackle, gumming up the works in the middle and making the offenses problems that much worse. When all 3 players were together on defense, well, good thing happened (see UNC game 2008).
Losing Irving hurt the team this year, undoubtedly. But, in major college football, you need to be ready for such problems and be able to adjust to it quickly. I am sure that Dwayne "The Shelby Sensation" Maddox is ready. Plus, it is July. There is plenty of time to adjust. I hope that Nate Irving gets back healthy and ready to play in 2010, more the former than the latter.