No QB decision on Wolfpack depth chart

jgiglio@newsobserver.comAugust 26, 2013 

NC State, football, ACC

N.C. State quarterback Pete Thomas throws during the Kay Yow Spring Football game Saturday, April 20, 2013, at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C. The Red team won the game 20-10.

ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell will probably find out on Wednesday who will start at quarterback for N.C. State in the season-opener against Louisiana Tech.

Everyone outside the Wolfpack program will have to wait until Saturday’s game.

N.C. State coach Dave Doeren released the depth chart on Monday for Saturday’s game with plenty of new names but with no decision at quarterback.

There is an “or” listed between Thomas and Mitchell on the depth chart. Thomas, a junior, sat out last season as a transfer from Colorado State. He finished spring practice as the starter but Mitchell, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, joined the program in the summer.

Doeren has said for competitive reasons he won’t make his decision public until Saturday but he expects to be able to tell the team before then.

“By the end of practice Wednesday, I think there’ll be a real firm grasp,” Doeren said. “I’ve told both of them that they need to be ready to be our guy.”

Thomas (6-6. 236) has 21 career starts under his belt and a full season of practice and spring practice with his teammates.

Thomas is more of a pro-style passer and was groomed to succeed Mike Glennon in the offense run by former coach Tom O’Brien. Thomas threw for 4,269 yards with 18 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in two seasons with the Rams.

Mitchell played receiver at Arkansas last season but was brought in for his ability to run, which Doeren’s offenses did successfully at Northern Illinois.

With the switch to an up-tempo, spread offense, Mitchell’s size (at 6-4 and 239 pounds) and running ability could be an asset. Mitchell caught 17 passes for 272 yards last season.

As a backup to Tyler Wilson, and Ryan Mallett before that, Mitchell completed 25 of 43 passes for the Razorbacks for 332 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also had 23 career rushes for 70 yards with two touchdowns.

Whichever way Doeren goes, and both quarterbacks could play on Saturday.

There’s a lot of personnel turnover in the depth chart from last year’s 7-6 team, especially on offense.

Left tackle Rob Crisp, running back Tony Creecy and receiver Quintin Payton are the only listed starters on offense in the depth chart who started last year’s opener against Tennessee. The defense has five potential starters back from the 2012 opener.

Of the 48 names on the depth chart released Monday, 13 are newcomers since the end of the 2012 season and 10 are freshmen, including seven true freshmen.

Doeren said he was told when he was hired from NIU in December he would have youngest team in the ACC. He said that can be both good and bad.

“We’ll get through the bumps in the road with them,” Doeren said. “I’m excited about what happens over time when you do that.”

“At Kansas, we played a ton of true freshmen my first year there. It was a tough year but those were the same guys that made that team into an Orange Bowl team a few years later.”

Note: Reserve defensive tackle A.J. Ferguson will be suspended the first two games of the season for “violating university policy,” Doeren announced Monday.

The Wolfpack will already be without running back Shadrach Thornton on Saturday for a one-game suspension stemming from a June arrest.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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