When you’ve had success calling plays like new North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren has, it’s disconcerting to have to change offensive styles.
However, the personnel he inherited with the Wolfpack lacked one key ingredient he had at Northern Illinois … a running quarterback. Doeren’s top rusher the last two years have been his quarterbacks, Chandler Harnish in 2011 and Jordan Lynch in 2012. Lynch amassed huge rushing numbers for any player, let alone a quarterback, running for 1815 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry in 2012.
His pistol style offense at Northern Illinois featured a variety of quarterback draws, counters, and zone reads. Doeren told SiriusXM College Sport Nation that his offense wasn’t simply a spread offense.
“The best way to explain what we did there was a blend of Oregon and Wisconsin. We could go fast, we could spread you out, we could run our quarterback, but we could turn around and run power zone and stretch and play-action you too. I really liked that form of offense.”
Now at NC State, Doeren is going to have to alter his style because neither of the options to replace Mike Glennon at quarterback are candidates to run the ball very much. While sophomore Manny Stocker and Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas are both solid throwers of the football, neither is going to carry the ball 15-20 times a game.
Instead, the Wolfpack will have to rely on their running backs Tony Creecy and Shadrach Thornton to shoulder the load.
It will be interesting to see the ways in which Doeren tries to make up for not having a true running threat at quarterback. Expect the same pistol look with a variety of shifts and motions to allow wide receivers to become a part of the run game in 2013.
Ultimately, he won’t be able to run the quarterback with the frequency he has previously, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be any less successful.
B.L. writes for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip or by pressing “Like” on his Facebook page.