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Medlin: Russell Wilson — One Heck Of A Backup Quarterback

February 4, 2011

National Signing Day is usually a day when almost all the focus for any college football program is on the future. 

That sentiment was true for NC State Wednesday, except that it was the future of a three-year starter that drew more interest than any of the 19 players the Wolfpack welcomed to the fold for 2011. 

Everyone knew Tom O'Brien would get asked about Russell Wilson's future. It was his first time speaking with the media since Wilson released his statement expressing his intention to focus on baseball this spring in an attempt to make the Colorado Rockies. None of the questions, nor the timing of them, were surprising. 

What was surprising, at least for me, was O'Brien's approach to all this Russell Wilson drama.

Well, sort of. 

"Russell is going to go play baseball. Our plans are, he's not coming back. He'll be a baseball player. We have to move forward with Mike Glennon. We've planned for this day, Michael is ready to do it. We have to redo the whole passing offense losing three guys anyway so it's crucial this spring that we move forward with this football team. You can't not move forward."

The collective gasp from NC State fans on Twitter was audible throughout much of the Eastern part of the state. "What now?!"

But let me ask this simple question: What exactly was O'Brien supposed to say? TOB said everything he had to say Wednesday, and no more. Oh yeah, he also left a loophole in his strong statements on Mr. Glennon being NC State's quarterback come August. 

"The door is always open. He mentioned that in his statement. You always have to have options in life and he has that as an option."

And there it is, the loophole. The one statement from Wednesday's press conference that even hinted at the possibility that Wilson would return in 2011. While every other statement showed firm support of Glennon (as it should have), it was those three sentences that can provide O'Brien a way out if that very thing ends up happening. 

"Well folks, what can I say, Russell always had that option." (Future O'Brien Quote)

While many have taken O'Brien's comments at face value and accepted that Mike Glennon will be the starter for the Wolfpack in 2011 and beyond, I still have doubts. 

First and foremost, I just don't see O'Brien saying 'no thanks' to NC State's second best QB behind Philip Rivers. I could be very wrong about this, but I just can't see TOB (one of the smartest people I've ever covered/been around) making a decision like that. 

Secondly, what happens if Glennon is average? This seems to be a topic NC State fans and local media have just decided to ignore. I understand that Glennon was a blue-chip recruit and has all the tools to get the job done. From everything I've seen in spring and heard from others that is certainly the case. That said, what has he proven on the field? In 2010, a season Glennon was supposed to play more, he actually played less than he did in 2009. 

Tom O'Brien further elaborated on his comments Wednesday afternoon when he spoke with Adam Gold and Joe Ovies on 99.9 FM the Fan. He even went as far as to say that if Russell did return he would be Glennon's backup. Fair enough. He didn't say how long he would be the backup. Talk about putting pressure on Glennon. 

Wednesday's press conference may have settled NC State's quarterback question for some people, but it did nothing but raise more questions for me.

I do know this — if Russell Wilson is hitting .200 in mid-April, Mike Glennon will be sweating bullets. 


Find more from Derek Medlin at "Fourth Down And Long"

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sbas2 permalink
    February 4, 2011 3:24 pm

    O’Brien made the right decision to avoid disharmony on the team. Wilson skipped spring practice last year, but he was in school and playing baseball. Terry Harvey did the same when he was State’s starting quarterback in the mid-nineties. However, this spring Wilson will not be in school and will be in spring training for the Rockies. As such it would be unfair to let Glennon take all of the snaps in the spring as the backup quarterback to a player not even in school. If Wilson returns in the fall and fairly beats out Glennon for the position, and I mean fairly, then all will be fine with the chips having fallen where they did.


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