Wolfpack QB Mitchell making progress toward return

jgiglio@newsobserver.comOctober 10, 2013 

N.C. State, NC State, football, ACC, La Tech, Louisana Tech, Doe

N.C. State's quarterback Brandon Mitchell (8) talks to Tony Creecy (26) before the snap during the first half of N.C. State's game against Louisiana Tech at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh Saturday, August 31, 2013

GREG MINTEL — newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— N.C. State quarterback Brandon Mitchell impressed coach Dave Doeren in practice on Thursday.

Mitchell, who has missed the past four games with a broken foot, worked out pain-free on Thursday and will be a game-time decision for Saturday’s home game against Syracuse.

“He got better all week,” Doeren said. “We’ve made a lot of progress and we’ll see what the next 48 hours bring us.”

Mitchell, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, won the starting job in August and led the Wolfpack offense to touchdowns on the first two drives of the season in a 40-14 win against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31.

Mitchell broke a bone in his left foot in the first half of the opener and was sidelined until he returned to practice Sunday. Doeren said Mitchell ran for about 20 to 25 minutes on Thursday without pain.

“His mobility (Thursday) was the best we’ve seen so far,” Doeren said. “He’s close. I’ve got to see him on gameday.”

N.C. State (3-2, 0-2 ACC) might also get receiver Rashard Smith back for Saturday’s game with the Orange (2-3, 0-1). Smith sprained his right knee on a kickoff return in last Saturday’s 28-13 loss at Wake Forest.

Smith, a senior, has caught 21 passes for 242 yards and rushed for 105 yards in four and half games this season. He also has a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Smith has been limited in practice this week but Doeren said there’s a possibility Smith will play on Saturday.

“He feels a lot better,” Doeren said. “It’s all about the swelling. Structurally, he’s great.”

The news was not as good for senior safety Jarvis Byrd, who suffered a leg injury after an illegal block by a Wake Forest player in the second quarter of last week’s game. Byrd, who has already had two major knee injuries in his career, is out for Saturday’s game and Doeren said Byrd will have to see a specialist.

Running back Matt Dayes (ankle) and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) were not on Thursday’s injury report. Doeren said earlier in the week he expected both to play against the Orange.

Left tackle Rob Crisp will miss his fourth straight game with concussion issues and defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop (ankle) will miss his third straight game.

Mitchell’s return would be a boost for the Wolfpack’s offense, which has averaged 13.5 points in two ACC games.

Mitchell completed 3 of 3 passes for 93 yards and ran for 19 yards in one quarter against Louisiana Tech.

Junior Pete Thomas would make his fifth straight start at quarterback if Mitchell can’t play.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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