N.C. State QB Glennon has less to worry about

jgiglio@newsobserver.comMarch 28, 2012 

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N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon during the first day of spring practice on Friday, March 23, 2012.

SHAWN ROCCO — srocco@newsobserver.com

— N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon still gets asked plenty of questions, just not the same ones from last year.

The specter of Russell Wilson, the All-ACC quarterback who graduated and led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, hung over Glennon and the Wolfpack during the 2011 season.

Glennon, a first-time starter, quelled any doubts about his game by leading the Wolfpack to an 8-5 record, after a 2-3 start, and a second straight bowl win. Glennon put up one of the most productive seasons by an N.C. State quarterback, throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 31 touchdowns.

As Glennon, who’ll be a fifth-year senior when the season starts on Aug. 31 against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff, goes through the paces of spring practice, he has been asked fewer questions about Wilson, who is preparing for the NFL draft.

"Who?" Glennon joked.

"Yeah, it will definitely be different, to kind of just get that over with this past year and not have to worry about it this upcoming year."

Not that Glennon showed any concern about the comparisons to Wilson, who had a public split with Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien in Feb. 2011 after Wilson chose baseball over spring practice. Ultimately, O’Brien decided last spring two seasons of Glennon would be better than one from Wilson, who ended up being an All-Big Ten selection for the Badgers.

"There was no distractions for us, it was you guys that were distracted," O’Brien said, in reference to the media.

Glennon went about his business in 2011 and completed 283 of 453 passes with 31 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 13 starts. The touchdowns equaled Wilson’s single-season mark from 2009 as the second-most in school history. The yardage was fifth-most in school history.

Glennon was particularly good at the end of the season with 11 touchdowns, to two interceptions, in the final three games – State’s upset of ACC champion Clemson, its school-record comeback over Maryland and its Belk Bowl win over Louisville.

O’Brien, who projects Glennon as the latest in the line of NFL quarterbacks he has coached, was impressed with the strides Glennon made during the practices between the Maryland win, a 27-point rally by the Wolfpack in the regular-season finale, and the 31-24 win over Louisville in the bowl game in Charlotte.

O’Brien expects a more comfortable, and confident, Glennon to continue his improvement this spring.

"He’s no longer worried about anything (with the offense) because he has played it, he knows it, he understands it," O’Brien said. "He can spend more time on the little things and the fundamentals that can make (him) a better quarterback."

There are a few questions about State’s receivers – T.J. Graham (46 catches, 757 yards, 7 TDs) and Jay Smith (40-391-4) need to be replaced – but that’s about the only common thread of questions for Glennon from last spring and this one.

Glennon was never bothered by the extra attention from Wilson’s exit, and soft landing at with a top 10 team, but he’s also happy it’s in his rearview mirror.

"It’s a whole different situation," Glennon said. "You can just worry about N.C. State rather than worry about other things and I think that’s really good for our football team."

Staff writer Chip Alexander contributed to this report.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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