RALEIGH — In all the talk, debate and hand-wringing over N.C. State's change in quarterbacks from Russell Wilson to Mike Glennon, just about everyone has ignored the person it impacts the most.
When you get right down to it, no one is more affected - in a very personal way - by the switch than Wolfpack center Camden Wentz.
Whether heaving the ball between his legs to a quarterback in the shotgun or engaging in the oddly intimate hand-to-hand exchange known by the phrase "under center," Wentz has the responsibility of getting the ball to the quarterback, no matter who he may be: short or tall, new or old, Wilson or Glennon.
"Mike's our guy now, and we're all behind him 100 percent," Wentz said. "It doesn't make a difference who's snapping the ball. It has to be the same place for whoever's back there. It doesn't matter."
Wentz's confidence belies the changes afoot for the N.C. State offense. With Wilson at quarterback, the Wolfpack was almost exclusively a shotgun team. By spreading the field in front of Wilson, it allowed N.C. State to make the most of Wilson's mobility and ability to throw on the move while minimizing the negative impact of his height.
That put pressure on Wentz to unfailingly deliver the ball to the proper spot, because a snap that goes awry in the shotgun can lead to huge changes in field position, if not points for the opposition.
Look no further than North Carolina's opening game against Louisiana State last season, when a pair of misfired snaps helped put the Tar Heels in a hole from which they couldn't recover - and prompted a permanent change on the depth chart in the middle of the game, from Jonathan Cooper to Cam Holland.
If, as expected, N.C. State is more of a dropback passing team with Glennon, that makes Wentz's job easier, but even that exchange is fraught with peril. A 6-foot-6 quarterback can squat only so low. The ball has to come up, quickly, with the laces in the right position, every time - no easy task for a quarterback and center who have taken only a handful of snaps together against actual opposition.
"Wherever the quarterback puts pressure, I got to get the ball to the pressure," Wentz said. "And the shotgun, it's the same for everybody."
Either way, the junior and second-year starter said he's ready. And he's been through this before. In high school in Marietta, Ga., he went through the same transition, backward.
"Early on in my high school career, we were predominantly run," Wentz said. "Senior year, we were spread in the shotgun. So I've done both, and I work at both evenly."
It was still cool out when N.C. State's first practice of the day ended Wednesday morning. Another awaited in the afternoon, but it was time for rest and treatment. Wentz walked through the gate to N.C. State's practice fields and headed back to the Murphy Center, but not alone.
Glennon walked next to him, the new quarterback and the old center, already inseparable.