Breaking Down the Buzz: NC State
After watching Jacoby Brissett in the spring game, NC State fans are hopeful for the offense in 2014 but worried about the team's depth.
What they're talking about...the spring game. The spring game festivities were notable for the return of former Wolfpack stars like Super Bowl champions Russell Wilson and J.R. Sweezy, along with Mario Williams, Nate Irving and Terrell Manning. Wilson and Williams had their names added to the ring of honor in Carter-Finley Stadium and served as coaches for the alumni flag football game. The actual spring game featured a dominant showing by the Red Team -- made up mostly of first-string players like Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett, who completed 24 of 37 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns in the 34-0 win.
Brissett sat out in 2013 due to NCAA transfer rules while Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell shared quarterbacking duties for an offense that ranked No. 100 in the country in yards per play (5.12). Brissett is finally eligible, and the Pack have a deep, but young, receiving corps that is led by Brian Underwood and includes Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jumichael Ramos and surging freshman Bo Hines.
What they're saying is...cross all your fingers and toes because any injuries could be bad news. Wolfpack fans understood that depth was a concern for the 2014 season, but the format and result of the Red-White game drove the point home. A small sampling of fan responses from SB Nation's Backing The Pack:
-- Not sure if this game really tells us anything other than... (a) The gap between first- and second- stringers for us is HUGE! (b) We aren’t going to be a running team this year, SURPRISE! © Thorton will remain in DD’s dog-house for the foreseeable FUTURE!
-- Our depth is terrible!! As soon as someone gets hurt we are DOOMED!!!
-- In reference to the performance of the White Team, made up mostly of reserves: And it looks like we will have to keep the white offense off the field
What we think is...N.C. State won't go winless in ACC play again, and with the nonconference schedule it could be bowling. Getting to the postseason won't indicate a massive turnaround, but definitely a significant step forward in the rebuilding process. Doeren himself has mentioned the influx of youth -- 51 freshmen and redshirt freshmen are expected on the roster for 2014 -- and many of those players will be primary contributors this fall.
The Wolfpack get all their nonconference games out of the way early, facing Georgia Southern, ODU and Presbyterian at home with a road trip to USF on Sept. 13. Winning three, or all four, of those games would be good for young team before facing a brutal early ACC schedule that features Florida State, Clemson and Louisville in a four-week span.
After a much-needed bye, the health and development of the team will determine where it falls in the hunt for a bowl bid. This program is still probably one year away from having the right combination of talent and experience to contend with the top of the ACC's Atlantic Division, but this young team is going to surprise a team or two in conference play. Brissett has a deep collection of receivers to target and some experience in front of him on the offensive line.
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