Spring Football Check-In: N.C. State shifts to the spread

The Clemson Sports Blog

Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren, center, holds the Mid-American Conference championship trophy after defeating Kent State 44-37 in the second overtime in an NCAA college football game at Ford Field, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Northern Illinois head coach Dave Doeren, center, holds the Mid-American Conference championship trophy after defeating Kent State 44-37 in the second overtime in an NCAA college football game at Ford Field, Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Offensive-charged MACtion – meet ACC – is what Dave Doeren aims to bring from Northern Illinois, earning an Orange Bowl bid last season, and he hopes to do the same soon in Raliegh, N.C.

He says he’s already seeing the look he wants from a Wolfpack unit he’s been in charge of since early last December.

“Some of the guys are starting to emerge already,” he told ESPN recently. “Some of these seniors are seeing the light. You’re starting to see them emerge and become the guy I’m sure everyone wanted them to be all along.

“(This season), we will not be a shell of what we’re going to be during the spring.”

More on the Wolfpack…

N.C. State

2012 Record: 7-6 (4-4 ACC)

Plays Clemson: Sept. 19 (Thursday), at State.

Returning Starters by Position (12)

Offense (5)

QB: 0

RB: 1

TE: 0

WR: 2

O-line: 2

Defense (5)

D-line: 3

LB: 0

DB: 2

Kicker/Punter (2)

PK: 1

P: 1

Outgoing Starters: 12

Offensive Leader: WR Quintin Payton – The T.L. Hanna product jumped from seven to 51 catches from his sophomore-to-junior seasons, averaging 15.7 yards per.

Defensive Leader: DE Art Norman – The rising junior has 12 sacks to his name over the last two seasons.

Key Issues This Spring: 1) New coach, new scheme – Out with the air-it-out pro-style attack, and in with the spread-it-out ground game. Under Doeren, Northern Illinois had the 12th-ranked rushing offense back-to-back seasons, while still averaging at least 230 passing yards a game (top-60).

2) Who runs the new offense? – Mike Glennon is off to the NFL, leaving State with two pass attempts returning from 2012. Those come from sophomore Manny Stocker, a three-star pro-style QB, who will compete with junior Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas, another geared towards pro-style scheme. Before leaving Fort Collins, Thomas set the school completion percentage record (64.7) as a freshman, but threw more picks (8) than TDs (7) in 2011. “They’re totally different guys,” Doeren told ESPN. “All the run game we have because we are a Pistol offense, we have the ability to turn around to hand off just like you would under center as a pro-style quarterback, and we also have the ability to read those plays. So nothing will change for the backs, or the o-line or the tight ends or the receivers. It’s just based on what quarterbacks’ in there, it could be a zone read in a zone, it could be a power read.”

3) Experience lost on o-line, secondary and linebacker – N.C. State loses over 100 career starts from the offensive line (LT Robert Crisp, LG R.J. Mattes, C Cameron Wentz) and over 40 just from safeties Earl Wolff and Brandan Bishop. Also gone is cornerback David Amerson, who took a step back last season, but is expected to go in the first few rounds of the NFL draft. At linebacker, one starter graduated (Sterling Lucas) and another opted to transfer to an NAIA school (Rickey Dowdy). Dowdy would have been the Wolfpack’s leading-returning tackler (88).

More Spring Football Check-Ins

Florida State

Syracuse

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