This is not a post that I would be necessary to write. During NC State's last game against Marshall, the home crowd at Carter-Finley Stadium hit the team with a chorus of boos when Brennan Armstrong was brought into the game on a goal line package. Much has been made about the Armstrong tenure to date. Things did not go according to plan with the transfer quarterback, and now the team has moved on to MJ Morris.
Now, Morris may be the starting QB, but Armstrong is still on the team. If there's a specific strategic angle the coaches are looking to exploit, it's up to them whether they bring in a specific player or not. Even if that play ends up being Alec's favorite play in the world and they run a wildcat. Okay, maybe boo if they run a wildcat... no no I'm kidding (I think).
Midway through the fourth quarter, the coaches brought in Brennan Armstrong on a first and goal from the five yard line. He hadn't been in the game at all to this point to get a feel for the speed of the defense, and was basically thrown to the wolves. He was ice cold and they take first down by handing it off to Delbert Mimms for a short gain...okay. Then the second down play was completely busted:
If you're going to bring in a guy for a situation like this, make sure. theplay design is locked down tight.
Watch how he does play action to the air:
It is unclear what the intent was with this play. They bring in Demarcus Jones at RB, presumably for pass blocking support. But if you're going to do play action, maybe have a running back in the area to, I don't know, sell the fake too, maybe?
Jones had zero carries in the game, so the defense must have known he was unlikely to be a threat and didn't pay him any mind. They honed directly on Armstrong, once it became clear that the play was based around him. But the play looked to be a pass play and not a designed run. The problem was the offensive line didn't check in to block and the play was blown up almost as quickly as it began:
Marshall brought a linebacker blitz and overloaded Armstrong's strong side and killed any chance at a play. It was just a bad play all the way around. Bad call by the coaches. on the specific play, and poor execution.
This led to boos and then cheers when MJ Morris returns for the following play:
His play was a pass that he threw out the back of the endzone, presumably as a throwaway.
How does this make y'all look?
When recruits come to visit a home game, they are often given a treat. The Carter-Finley crowd has long been known to be one of the best in the country. If you know you're one of the best crowds, then act like it. I hope there were no recruits at the game. Though they would have been treated to a fun shootout with the Wolfpack pulling out a clutch victory, they would have also seen the negative side of the crowd.
Listen, I know people are frustrated. There is latent frustration within the fan base for how the 2022 season turned out, or didn't turn out based on your perspective. At this point in the Doeren timeline, people want more than 8 wins, I understand that. Because of this, fans feel their ticket entitles them to shower the field with their negative energy. Is this how we want to advertise ourselves to potential future players? "Come here and you too may get treated like this!"
The backlash to the backlash
This behavior was criticized after the game by none other than the captain of the team Payton Wilson:
The guilty fans responded saying they were not, in fact, booing Armstrong. Instead, they say they were booing the coaches:
These are but two of the responses, but on and on they go. As if this makes it any better.
Or, the response saying boos were levied at the team even at a time when MJ Morris was in the game:
This was near the end of the first half. NC State was holding onto a 21-17 lead and could have used some points as a cushion heading into the locker room. Instead, a very predictable turn of events occurred. As has been seen many times over the years, the play calls were:
RB run left
RB run right
How do the players know why you're booing or who you're booing at?
Okay, I get it, that sequence was really frustrating, but put yourself in the shoes of the players on the field. How are they supposed to know the intention behind your boos? All they hear are boos when one player comes on the field, and cheers when he leaves. So it makes sense they would interpret that as being directed at one person.
Or, they play for their coach, to whom they've committed their collegiate years to. Just as they wouldn't want to hear boos directed towards their teammate, they wouldn't want them levied at their coach. How are they supposed to know one boo from another?
(The only Boo allowed in Carter-Finley Stadium)
Ultimately, some things matter more than wins, though. These players are putting their hearts and souls into the team, and deserve fan support. Yes, even when things are the most frustrating.