On Wednesday, NC State’s football players will learn the identity of the starting quarterback to take the field when the 2013 football season kicks off on Saturday.
Brandon Mitchell and Pete Thomas will find out which one will be N.C. Stateâ€™s starting quarterback on Wednesday. The rest of us will have to wait until just before kickoff of the Wolfpackâ€™s season opener against Louisiana Tech on Saturday.
â€œWeâ€™ve talked with all of the quarterbacks about where they stand and what they need to work on,â€ coach Dave Doeren said Monday at his first regular weekly press conference. â€œThere isnâ€™t a magical count that weâ€™ve talked about with those guys or first play or anything like that yet.
â€œBy the end of the practice Wednesday I think there will be a real firm grasp on those guys parts. Iâ€™ve told both of them that they need to be ready to be our guy â€¦ to be ready when their name is called. Theyâ€™re both excited. I think they know in a 12-game season thatâ€™s a good possibility.â€
I could be mistaken, but – along with the Starnewsonline – I have a hard time believing that Brandon Mitchell is not the first quarterback to take the field for the Wolfpack in 2013. Nonetheless
The reality, however, is that the battle has already been decided. And in many ways, it was over before it ever really began.
Doeren made that abundantly clear after spring practice when, unconvinced that either Thomas or fellow holdover Manny Stocker was ready to run his up-tempo spread offense, he went out and recruited a fifth-year free agent who he felt was.
Mitchell was an appealing choice because of his experience, his dual-threat ability and the fact that, having already received his undergraduate degree from Arkansas, he was able to play right away without having to sit out a season under NCAA transfer rules.
Though itâ€™s uncertain what, if anything, Mitchell was promised before deciding to attend State, itâ€™s a fair assumption that he didnâ€™t come here to be a backup for his final year of college eligibility. He could just as easily have done that by staying with the Razorbacks.
As long as the athletic 6-foot-3, 239-pound Louisiana native was able to learn the playbook quickly and gain the trust of his new teammates, the foregone conclusion was that the Wolfpackâ€™s starting quarterback job was his for the taking.
In other personnel developments (click here for some key updates), AJ Ferguson will miss the Wolfpack’s first two games of the season due to a suspension for violating University policy, so he is not on the depth chart released yesterday for the Louisiana Tech game. After spring practice Ferguson was listed as a backup to returning starters T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal. Instead of Ferguson, you will note the presence of Carlos Gray (So) and Monty Nelson (Fr).
A few other notes of interest from the depth chart:
(1) Despite all of the preseason talk of MJ Salahuddin’s emergence, he is listed as a co-starters at weakside linebacker with Brandon Pittman.
(2) Mike Rose and Darryl Cato-Bishop are listed as co-starters at a defensive end.
(3) As expected, JUCO transfer Quinton Schooley is listed as the starter at center and Joe Thuney has been moved to the starter at right guard in order to get the ‘best five’ offensive linemen on the field at the same time.
(4) True freshman Patrick Roane makes an appearance as back-up at left tackle further underscoring our lack of depth on the offensive line.
(5) I am surprised to NOT see the name Travares Copeland (WR) or Cameron Fordham (OL) on the two deeps.
In case you missed it yesterday, Sports Illustrated has projected Coach Doeren’s first installment of NC State football to go bowling in December. In that same entry we commented that, “The national football previews that I have seen over the summer almost unanimously project Dave Doerenâ€™s first installment of NC State Football to be generally â€˜middle of the roadâ€™ in the national picture â€“ consistently projected to be â€˜ratedâ€™ somewhere between the #52 and #67 team in the county.” As another example, Athlon rated the Wolfpack #54 in their pre-season work:
NC State athletic director Debbie Yow has already said she expects 2013 to be a rebuilding season, but Doeren won quickly at NIU with a roster he inherited from another coach. The offense will have to run the ball more effectively, and Thomas will have to learn a new scheme. The defense should be able to carry the mail, especially with the first four games at home, as the team adjusts to the new staff. Donâ€™t expect State to be a significant factor in the ACC Atlantic Division race, but there is enough talent on the roster to return to a bowl game for the fourth straight season.
If you aren’t feeling the excitement for this weekend quite yet, the following video will start to get you going!