RALEIGH, N.C. - There are few distractions for North Carolina State to deal with these days. All the Wolfpack have to worry about is their bowl game, and that's just how linebacker Audie Cole likes it.
"Not really any injuries, no distractions, nothing going on,'' Cole said Monday. "Just kind of show up and play football.''
That's certainly not the case for the Wolfpack's opponent in the Champs Sports Bowl. Nearly all of the talk at No. 22 West Virginia (9-3) is about the coaching changes that recently were made public and will begin to take effect next season.
So while the Mountaineers continue to deal with their uncertain future, N.C. State is content to keep its focus on football.
"I think it goes back to, we have to take care of ourselves,'' Coach Tom O'Brien said. "We've prepared the best we can. West Virginia has to handle those questions about who and what they are.''
The only lingering issue for the Wolfpack (8-4) is whether this will be the final football game for quarterback Russell Wilson, who spent much of the summer playing second base in the Colorado Rockies' minor-league system.
Questions about which sport Wilson ultimately will choose have been around all season, and N.C. State's position on them has been constant: O'Brien said the answer won't come until "sometime after the bowl.''
"Next year is next year,'' he said. "This is still this year. ... I think we've planned for this, one way or the other, and we're ready to do what we have to do.''
The Wolfpack have had plenty of time to come up with a backup plan in case Wilson opts for baseball, with talented, pocket-passing backup Mike Glennon ready to replace him.
By comparison, the coaching shakeup in Morgantown remains fresh and has been a polarizing topic across West Virginia for the past week.