#63 North Carolina State Football 2014 Preview

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Overall Rank: #63
#10 ACC

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North Carolina State started the Coach Dave Doeren era with a 3-1 record. Those wins were against Louisiana Tech, Richmond and Central Michigan, which is not all that impressive, but it was still a good start. In part due to injuries and in part due to the inability of the players to adjust to the coaching staff’s new scheme and the coaching staff’s failure to adjust to their players, the Wolfpack went winless in their last eight games.

2013 Record: (3-9, 0-8)
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Dave Doeren (3-9 at NC State, 26-13 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Canada
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Huxtable

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Shadrach Thornton, RB, 768 yards
Passing: Garrett Leatham, QB, 146 yards
Receiving: Bryan Underwood, WR, 382 yards
Tackles: Hakim Jones, S, 61
Sacks: Art Norman, DE, 4.5
Interceptions: Hakim Jones, S, 2; Jack Tocho, CB, 2

Other Key Returnees: CB Justin Burris, DT Thomas Teal, K Niklas Sade, P Wil Baumann

Key Losses: QB Pete Thomas, WR Rashard Smith, WR Quintin Payton, LB Robert Caldwell, CB Dontae Johnson, LB D.J. Green, LB Brandon Pittman

The revolving door at quarterback was a huge problem last year. NC State never found any consistency with Pete Thomas or Brandon Mitchell. But the best quarterback in Raleigh last year was sitting on the sidelines. Jacoby Brissett did not play much at Florida during his two seasons there, but he did start a few games. He is a good athlete with a decent arm, but more importantly he is the starter and this is his offense. Now Coach Doeren needs to find him some help. Bryan Underwood is the top returning receiver after catching 32 passes for 382 yards in seven games. The hope is underclassmen like Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jumichael Ramos and Bo Hines are ready to give Brissett some big targets down field. Valdes-Scantling, a 6-3 sophomore, caught 22 passes for 281 yards in 2013 and Hines is an early enrollee who was Brissett’s favorite target in the spring. At running back Shadrach Thornton returns after leading the team with 768 yards on the ground. The offensive line has been an issue for NC State lately, but the return of four starters, not to mention tackle Rob Crisp who missed just about all of last season, will help this team establish a better ground game.

Simply getting more bodies that fit into the system is going to help the Wolfpack defense. The unit ranked 13th in the conference in rushing defense and scoring defense, so there is barely anywhere to go but up. Yet, they will have to do much better if this team hopes to reach a bowl game. End Art Norman leads a relatively experienced defensive line. Tackle Thomas Teal is also back, but he was surpassed on the depth chart in the spring by freshman B.J. Hill. Another freshman, Kentavius Street, should crack the regular rotation at an end spot and take the pressure off of Norman. Coach Doeren is switching to a 4-2-5 in the hopes of finding more speed. With not much experience returning at linebacker, only having to fill two spots is helpful too. The secondary at least has more experience this year and that could be enough to change their fortunes. The influx of talent, most notably coming from freshman Germaine Pratt, cannot hurt either.

The Bottom Line:
Things will get better, but it is difficult to imagine this team reaching six wins. Fortunately, they could start 4-0 with a pretty easy non-conference slate that includes Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, South Florida and Presbyterian. That stretch could get this team gaining some much needed confidence and momentum. But the real story is how they respond after that momentum is crushed in the following two weeks against Florida State and Clemson.

Projected Bowl: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 162.7 (70th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 240.8 (56, 7)
Total Offense: 403.5 (70, 7)
Scoring Offense: 22.8 (97, 10)
Rushing Defense: 180.2 (81, 13)
Pass Defense: 219.3 (47, 5)
Total Defense: 399.4 (61, 9)
Scoring Defense: 30.2 (83, 13)
Turnover Margin: 0.0 (61, 9)
Sacks:  1.67 (87, 13)
Sacks Allowed: 3.00 (110, 13)

Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#58 Kentavius Street


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