NC State Beat: It’s All About Heart

In sports, much like life, talent can only get you so far. You can be an immensely talented individual, the best at what you do, and still not succeed.

Talent without passion is a waste.

I have been extremely hard on Tom O’Brien this season, and still believe much of the blame for a very disappointing season should fall squarely on his shoulders. However, what I saw last weekend was a defeated NC State team that lacked desire. Mainly, the Pack had no heart.

The argument can be made that part of the coach’s job of having his team ready to play is having them excited, and lighting a fire under their rear ends. But if you are a college athlete, on full scholarship, playing in the ACC in front of 57,000 of the most passionate fans in the country, and you can’t get excited, then you’re the problem.

There is no excuse for getting run out of their own building in the miserable fashion NC State did last weekend. That team wanted to be anywhere other than on that field. It showed when individuals like David Amerson were just kind of hanging out, watching quarterbacks run into the end zone, without a care in the world. And it’s not just Amerson, though I wouldn’t even select him in a supplemental draft if I were an NFL team now.

NC State has three football games left. Three. They must win two of them to get to a bowl. That’s right, just to sneak into a bowl game, NC State must win two of their last three games. This is a team that many thought might just be able to compete for a chance at an ACC Championship this season. And here we are, another season, another year of sneaking into the postseason.

I’m going to criticize Tom O’Brien throughout the game, and probably some after the game, no matter what. But in reality it comes down to the players who are stepping out on the field to actually play the game. It is going to come down to them. Who on that field is going to step up, set the tone, and lead the Pack to victory? NC State has to have guys willing to do whatever it takes to win.

This is crunch time. This is a moment when legends can be born. Who’s going to answer the call?

Oh, and basketball too….

I’ve been told that basketball is a thing in Raleigh again. Which is a relief, because there for a while I could have sworn that NC State had dropped that program all together. Nevertheless, basketball season fires up for NC State Friday night against Miami (OH).

There are some pretty lofty expectations for the Wolfpack this season, and they do not lack talent. Calvin Leslie was picked to be the Preseason ACC Player of the Year, Zo Brown was tabbed as a All-ACC first teamer, and freshman Rodney Purvis was picked as the preseason Rookie of the Year.

But just like the NC State football team, the NC State basketball team is going to have to have heart.

There is no shortage of talent on the roster. Everyone from local media to national media has hyped the Wolfpack this season. They are picked to win the ACC for the first time in my lifetime, and are said to be capable of making the Final Four. But all that means nothing unless the Pack actually does it. And they cannot get there by just showing up. They are good, but no one is good enough to just show up and win.

The Pack have to have a desire and a passion to be as good as they are said to be. They have to want to go out and surpass the already lofty expectations. There have been moments with this team over the past couple of years when they seem to take their foot of the gas. That cannot happen this season.

This is the reason these guys chose to come to NC State, to put a once storied program back on the map. They are poised to do it. The talent is there. The only question with NC State basketball is will they actually do it?


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NC State blogger Spencer HardisonSpencer Hardison has been writing about NC State athletics for over a year for various web sites, and has been talking about and passionately pulling for the Pack since the day he was born. He lives by the idea that numbers never lie, and firmly believes that defense wins championships. Spencer is one of the more opinionated and passionate people you will ever meet. Basically, he’ll argue with a wall, if said wall doesn’t agree with him. All in all, Spencer loves to be opinionated, make bold statements, and prove to everyone that he is right and they are wrong. Oh, and Taylor Swift has written three songs about him. You can find Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerHardison.

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