For Wolfpack QB Mike Glennon, best still to come

CorrespondentNovember 17, 2012 

N.C. State quarterback Mike Glennon, left, dressed as his football coach Tom O'Brien, right, for Halloween. (Glennon photo via @PackFootball on Twitter; O'Brien photo by staff photographer Ethan Hyman)

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— For Halloween, Mike Glennon wore a pair of khakis, a black mock turtleneck with an N.C. State logo on its collar, a white N.C. State hat, sunglasses and a headset.

When Glennon crossed his arms and stared into the camera, he looked like a junior version of the man he was impersonating, Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien.

“I’ve been saying that since my freshman year that I’d do it,” said Glennon, explaining his costume. “Everyone on the team wanted me to do it. I figured it was my senior year; I might as well do it.”

Almost two years after O’Brien bet on Glennon in a big way by announcing Glennon would be the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback in 2011 even though Russell Wilson had not exhausted his eligibility, Glennon’s college career is quickly approaching its end.

The 6-foot-6 senior will start Saturday when N.C. State (6-4, 3-3) plays at No. 11 Clemson (9-1, 6-1) at 3:30 p.m. (ABC). After that, the Wolfpack will host Boston College in its regular season finale before bowl game machinations take center stage.

With 23 starts, Glennon is a little ambivalent about how his season and career have panned out.

“I think there’s been ups and downs,” he said.

There are several games and plays that are competing for the top position on Glennon’s personal highlight list.

He completed three fourth-down passes on the game-winning drive against Florida State earlier this season, including one over the middle to Quintin Payton under duress that O’Brien said was the best throw Glennon had made in college.

A couple of weeks later, Glennon threw for a career-high 467 yards and five touchdowns in a 43-35 loss at North Carolina. It was the second time Glennon had gone over the 400 yards, but the other time – 441 yards and four touchdowns at Miami – also ended in defeat.

Even if some of the losses have left Glennon disappointed, he hasn’t let frustration – or a recent flurry of dropped passes – seep in to his on-the-field demeanor.

“I don’t think it affects him,” O’Brien said of the drops. “I think we would’ve seen it by now because there’s been multiple opportunities for him to be frustrated.”

There has always appeared to be a certain level of affection between Glennon and O’Brien, with Glennon’s choice of Halloween costumes being only one example.

Early in Glennon’s career, O’Brien said the tall quarterback reminded him of former Boston College standout and current Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan at a comparable point in their careers. O’Brien reiterated those comments this week, saying there are similarities in how Ryan and Glennon approach and play the game.

With some NFL scouting analysts suggesting Glennon could be the first quarterback taken in April’s draft, Wolfpack offensive coordinator Dana Bible thinks Glennon has only started to tap his potential.

“You’re not talking about a four-year starter,” Bible said. “I believe, strongly, that his best football is ahead of him. So I believe that this weekend, he’ll be significantly better than last weekend.”

N.C. State likely will need Glennon to at least match his final drive against the Seminoles if it hopes to upset a Clemson team that averages 42.9 points per game.

“I just want to finish my senior year strong,” he said. “Obviously, I would’ve liked to have won a few more games, but I can’t really dwell on that now. I’m just looking forward to these next few games and the bowl game.”

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