Nothing’s sure to drum up emotions and post counts quite like the topics of replacing last year’s star performers – Russell Wilson and Nate Irving. That said, I think the real burning issue for 2011 (and 2012 – comprising the best two year window for NC State to land that long-awaited conference title) involves the WR corps. The N&O profiled one candidate to step up (Tobais Palmer – yes, apparently that is the correct spelling) here.
Hopefully, Palmer really is ready to step up. Because losing Owen Spencer and Jarvis Williams causes me more concern than losing Wilson and Irving. The only returning options who have logged significant playing time have been either role player/blocking types (like Stephen Howard, Jay Smith, and Quinton Payton) or come with serious question marks (TJ Graham’s questionable route-running and even more dicey hands). George Bryan returns for his senior year, and should be a great security blanket for Mike Glennon. But unless State can demonstrate the ability to spread and stretch the field, opposing pass rushes can tee off on the less elusive and experienced Glennon, and/or devote more resources to shutting down Mustafa Greene.
Other than that, I’m quite excited about what I hear and expect about the defense, returning loads of depth and entering their second year under the effective Archer/Tenuta leadership combination. As I’ve trumpeted frequently, you can also expect to see a more prototypical Tom O’Brien offensive line – especially in 2011 and 2012. And what Pack fan isn’t excited about Mooooooose, a fan favorite and dynamic wrecking ball type? Mike Glennon won’t be asked, or need to, win games by himself. Much as Russell Wilson was exactly what we’ve needed the past three seasons, I feel there’s a very good chance that Mike Glennon is exactly what we need now. He will be in a good position to succeed…as long as we get decent WR play.
And that, my friends, is the real open question for 2011 and 2012. God knows this fanbase needs a really special football season, and sooner rather than later.