It's now the third season since Chuck Amato was ousted as N.C. State's football coach, and his name barely has been mentioned as the Wolfpack prepares to face Florida State.
Amato is the executive associate head coach at Florida State, which plays host to N.C. State at noon Saturday. N.C. State senior running back Toney Baker said Wednesday that he would be happy to talk with Amato if he sees him on the field.
Baker, who was one of the best recruits Amato signed from inside North Carolina, expressed fondness for his former coach but hasn't talked to him since he left N.C. State. Baker missed the last two meetings between the schools because of a knee injury.
"I thought he was a good coach," Baker said. "I like him as a person. He recruited me here. I don't have anything negative to say about him. . . .He was a fiery guy. He was a passionate guy and he was really into what he was doing."
There's a reason Amato has faded as an issue for the Wolfpack this week. N.C. State (3-4, 0-3 ACC) is desperate for a win after a dreadful start to conference play. Some fans who used to enjoy poking fun at Amato now are directing their ire at his successor, Tom O'Brien, and current N.C. State defensive coordinator Mike Archer.
Amato has his own problems, too, at Florida State. Head coach Bobby Bowden, who's like a father to Amato, has faced pressure to retire from fans and even the head of the school's Board of Trustees.
Florida State (3-4, 1-3), which was the preseason pick of the media to win the ACC's Atlantic Division, is barely ahead of N.C. State at the bottom of the standings. Rumors of a fight between Amato and Florida State head coach in waiting Jimbo Fisher were so persistent that Amato wound up denying them to reporters.
In other words, Amato has enough to worry about at Florida State. That's why his the angle of his meeting with his former team hasn't gained much traction this week.