N.C. State Football

NC State football gets back to work

jgiglio@newsobserver.comMarch 5, 2014 

— It was cold Wednesday morning at N.C. State’s first spring football practice.

The Wolfpack was up early and on the field before 7:30 a.m. because there’s work to be done after a losing a season. A 3-9 record doesn’t fix itself.

Second-year coach Dave Doeren said he liked what he saw from his players, who went through the regular paces of practice for about two hours with the temperatures in the 30s.

If nothing else, Doeren liked that the players were more familiar with his system in their second spring together.

“It’s a lot different when you’re out there the first time and they’re not just learning all the different things you want out of a practice,” Doeren said.

A major difference for Doeren in Year 2 is clarity at the quarterback position. Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett is the starter, no question, after the 2013 season consisted of a rotating door between Brandon Mitchell and Pete Thomas and sometimes others.

Brissett, a top 100 prospect coming out of high school in Florida three years ago, has been with the Wolfpack for a full year and he’s eager to finally be “The Guy.”

“It’s amazing but you have to make sure everybody knows why you’re ‘The Guy’ and make sure you don’t embarrass yourself,” said Brissett, who started three games in two seasons for the Gators.

At 6-foot-4, 236 pounds, Brissett has the size and skill set to run the preferred offense by Doeren and coordinator Matt Canada.

Even with problems at quarterback, the Wolfpack averaged a respectable 403.5 yards per game on offense, which ranked 71st nationally. Their 22.8 scoring average ranked 98th out of 124 teams and was more of an issue.

Brissett had limited numbers in two seasons with Florida, where he was passed on the depth chart by Jeff Driskel during the 2012 season. Brissett completed 41 of 74 passes for 455 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for three touchdowns.

Doeren has still seen enough in practice to turn the offense over to Brissett, a declaration he made last spring before the redshirt junior was eligible.

The trick now for Doeren is to balance the reality of Brissett’s experience with the expectations of a previously ordained savior-in-waiting.

“He has a lot to prove,” Doeren said. “He hasn’t started a game here yet.”

For his part, Brissett doesn’t seem to pay much to attention to what he’s supposed to be.

“I’m just going out there having fun, with the mindset to get better each day,” Brissett said. “I know if I get better, everything will be fine.”

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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