As Dave Doeren takes the reins for the NC State Wolfpack in 2013, he will be working to put his stamp on the program. Offensively, he will likely bring a more balanced offensive approach, but he will still need to develop the Wolfpacks’ passing game next season if they hope to contend in the ACC. While Doeren has to try and find a new quarterback to take control under center, he will also need receivers to step up. Can Bryan Underwood be that breakout playmaker for the Wolfpack in 2013?
Underwood proved that he can be a major contributor in 2012, finishing third on the team with 44 catches for 620 yards with a team-high 10 touchdowns. He averaged 14.1 yards per reception and showed that he was capable of breaking off huge gains, including a 68-yard catch and score against the Maryland Terrapins. The opportunity is there for Underwood to step up in his junior season following the graduation of Tobais Palmer, who finished with a team-high 54 catches last season.
The key for Underwood in 2013 will be consistency and finishing strong. During his sophomore campaign, Underwood came out on fire to start the season, catching at least one touchdown pass in the team’s first eight games. He came back down to earth, however, as the season wound down, failing to find the endzone in any of the Pack’s final five games. In their regular season finale and bowl game, in fact, Underwood was M.I.A., catching just two passes for two yards.
NC State has to have a reliable second option step up in 2013 to play beside their big-play threat, Quintin Payton. Underwood has the skills to be that guy for Doeren in the passing game, but has to find better consistency next fall to take the Wolfpack to the next level through the air.