RALEIGH — N.C. State's first spring practice opened Thursday morning without Russell Wilson or Nate Irving, the leaders of last year's nine-win team.
Mike Glennon takes over at quarterback for Wilson and Audi Cole moves inside to replace Irving at linebacker.
Not that anyone in red was particularly concerned about the team's ability to produce new leaders.
"I've always thought Mike is awesome," senior tight end George Bryan said. "I've never had any worries about what Russell decided to do. Mike looks great."
Glennon, a junior, will have the reins to the offense during the spring, and maybe in the fall. At least for now, Wilson is off playing baseball in spring training with the Colorado Rockies.
Neither coach Tom O'Brien nor Glennon are talking like they expect Wilson to return for his final season of eligibility.
O'Brien praised Glennon's talent and work ethic on Thursday and Glennon talked about his wait, three seasons, to become the No. 1 quarterback.
O'Brien's biggest concern for Glennon was his tempo.
"I think he was going a little too fast today, probably a little bit too excited to be out here," O'Brien said. "He's just got to relax and play. He's got a ton of ability and he just has to make it work for him."
Glennon said he had to wait longer to start than he thought, when he signed out of high school as one of the best quarterback prospects in the country in 2008.
"I thought it would be a little different but at the same time it was good for me because I learned a lot from Russell," Glennon said. "Now I think I'm ready to take over this team."
There were the usual dropped passes and missed routes from any first day of practice, but in general, O'Brien was pleased with attitude of his team, which is coming off its best season since 2002.
"The whole key to spring is getting better each and every day," O'Brien said. "This is a starting point, we have to learn from today and we have to continue to get better."
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