The Dave Doeren era for the North Carolina State Wolfpack officially kicked off Saturday in Raleigh in the annual Kay Yow Memorial Spring Game. With a lot of questions going into the game, mainly about the adjustment to Doeren’s up-tempo offense as well as replacing long-time starting QB Mike Glennon, there was a ton of interest involved in this one.
As far as the offensive adjustment goes, given the short amount of time the team has had to learn the new playbook, everyone seemed to have picked the schemes up quite rapidly–especially the candidates to replace Glennon.
While no clear-cut answer was given Saturday as to whom the successor will be, both Pete Thomas and Manny Stocker ran the offense well.
Thomas led two scoring drives, both in the third quarter, while going 15-for-26 passing. Thomas’ numbers may have been even more impressive, had senior wide receiver Quintin Payton not dropped a deep touchdown pass earlier in the first half.
Stocker led just one scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, but still also showed little signs of struggling with the offense. The sophomore went 11-for-20 passing with 96 yards. Stocker’s only mishap came on an interception in the first half by DB Juston Burris.
It should also be noted that University of Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett, while not being eligible to play until 2014, also saw reps under center completing 4 of 10 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Aside from the QB battle, what was also interesting to see was a possible change in the RB landscape. With expected starter Shadrach Thornton rushing for just six yards on 10 carries, including fumbling the ball three times, Tony Creecy took advantage.
Creecy rushed for 75 yards on 20 carries and may have spun the wheels in motion for taking the starting spot off of Thornton. Whatever the case may be, this will also be a fun story to follow come training camp time.
Now defensively, Doeren was very pleased with their progression. And, as well he should have been.
Noting that they’re further along than he thought they would be at this point, Doeren watched his first-team defensive unit give his offense some fits.
Sophomore linebacker M.J. Salahuddin led the way for the defense with eight total tackles as well as scooping up one of Thornton’s fumbles. With the linebacking corps being somewhat of a weak link in recent years for the Wolfpack, Salahuddin should be able to make people’s perception of that change just a bit.
A main concern of ‘Pack fans also was how Jarvis Byrd would make the transition this season from cornerback to safety. Well, if yesterday was any indication, he’s doing just fine. He showed really limited struggles with his move. He made good reads on most of the passing plays and was a force breaking in on tackles.
The progression of the defense, at this point, seems to be a little bit ahead of the offense. But, Doeren was quick to express that he is perfectly fine with that.
This N.C State team is going to look a lot different, but we knew that with the coaching switch. This team has the talent needed to develop into a definite ACC championship contender. It may not be this season, but yesterday showed that Dave Doeren is steering this ship in the right direction.