RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Some names on the Boston College depth chart remain familiar to Tom O'Brien, but when the North Carolina State coach leads the Wolfpack against his former team, it'll be different this time.
Most of the novelty - and the awkwardness - has disappeared for the winningest coach in BC history.
``I don't know if it's old hat, but it doesn't seem the same as last year,'' O'Brien said Monday. ``A lot of people that I still know (are) there, but it certainly has a much different feel to it now that I've been here for a year-plus.''
Of course, there are many reasons why a been-there, done-that feel surrounds the latest O'Brien-vs.-BC matchup. The coach already went through this a year ago, when he brought his largely unknown N.C. State team to Chestnut Hill on the nine-month anniversary of his December 2006 departure and absorbed a 37-17 beating.
had any regrets leaving a Boston College program that temporarily rose to No. 2 in the BCS standings to rebuild a Wolfpack program mired in the ACC Atlantic Division cellar. ``I knew what I was doing,'' the coach said at the time.
This time, last-place N.C. State (2-3, 0-1 ACC) has more pressing concerns: A growing list of injuries and a confidence-shaking 31-point home loss to No. 10 South Florida.
Left tackle Julian Willliams (shoulder) could become the 11th Wolfpack starter to miss time due to injury. Former third-string quarterback Harrison Beck was the starter on the depth chart released Monday, while Russell Wilson - who dressed but sat out the USF loss with an undisclosed injury - was not listed for the second straight week.
``I think we've got bigger things on our plate than his second game against his old team,'' center Ted Larsen said.
Still, it could create an interesting dynamic this weekend for Boston College's second visit to Carter-Finley Stadium. The scene surrounding the first - the Wolfpack's come-from-behind 17-15 win in September 2006 - was impressive enough to persuade O'Brien to leave BC for state-supported N.C. State and its glitzy facilities.
What's new this year about Boston College (3-1, 0-1 ACC) is star quarterback Matt Ryan is gone, and so is the familiar pro-style offense that O'Brien favored as he led the Eagles to 75 wins during his decade with team (1997-2006).
``It's probably more of what (offensive coordinator) Steve Logan wants to do,'' O'Brien said. ``Obviously, keeping Matt in his comfort zone last year. (This team has) more option, more read, more of a spread style - the offense of the late 2000s.''
O'Brien has kept up many of his ties to New England, still rooting for the Boston Red Sox, but he insists there's no time for nostalgia this weekend. Not with his wounded Wolfpack hoping to heal quickly enough to make a move in a wide-open divisional race in which four teams - including both N.C. State and Boston College - already have one conference loss.
``With Clemson losing, that puts them back with us, so everybody's got a shot,'' O'Brien said. ``It's anybody's guess right now who's going to win the conference, so every game right now is a championship game.''
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