Wolfpack eager for debut of quarterback Jacoby Brissett

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 11, 2014 

  • Kay Yow Spring Game

    Where: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh

    When: 1 p.m.

    Notes: There will be an alumni flag football game, featuring more than 70 former N.C. State players, at 10:45 at the stadium. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will have his jersey honored during the first half of the spring game.

    Parking is free in the stadium and fairground lots. The lots open at 8 a.m. Admission to the game is free but a minimum $1 donation to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund is suggested.

— It will take time for quarterback Jacoby Brissett to define who he is for N.C. State.

Wolfpack fans will get a second look at the Florida transfer on Saturday in the Kay Yow Spring Game at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Brissett already knows who he isn’t. That list includes Mike Glennon and Russell Wilson, the two NFL starters who preceded Brissett at quarterback at N.C. State.

Cross off Jordan Lynch, too, the undersized running quarterback who helped Dave Doeren lead Northern Illinois to a BCS bowl in 2012.

Go ahead and scratch Jeff Driskel’s name, as well. Driskel is another running quarterback who started for the Gators before Brissett decided to leave the SEC and land at N.C. State in January 2013.

Brissett already has won over Doeren and his new teammates with his big frame (6-4, 236 pounds), strong arm, quick feet and innate leadership abilities.

Brissett has been at N.C. State for 15 months and this will be his second spring game, but there’s still something of a mystery of what type of quarterback he’ll be for a Wolfpack that, in the least, could use a steady hand, and, in reality, could use a hero.

Is he a new wave, spread option quarterback?

“I’m not trying to run for a 1,000 yards,” Brissett said.

Is he a classic pocket passer?

“He’ll run when he has to,” senior receiver Bryan Underwood said.

So how do you describe the junior’s game?

“He’s a dropback quarterback that has very elusive feet,” Doeren said.

Or as Brissett puts it: “I just do whatever I’m supposed to do to get the job done.”

N.C. State’s offense needs a quick fix after a 3-9 season that was made exponentially more difficult when quarterback Brandon Mitchell broke his left foot in the first game.

In Doeren’s first season, the Wolfpack ranked 71st in total offense (403.5 yards per game) and 98th in scoring (22.8 points per game).

Doeren and offensive coordinator Matt Canada return seven starters to help Brissett. Mitchell and Pete Thomas, who started six games each, finished the season with a combined total of 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Doeren frequently mentioned the interceptions as a main reason for the team’s struggles in 2013. Continuity, with the injury to Mitchell and others on the offensive line, also was an issue.

Brissett is expected to solve both problems. There is still the matter of doing that on the field. A top 100 recruit out of high school in south Florida in 2011, Brissett hasn’t had a starting job to himself since his senior year at Dwyer High in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“As good as he is, he needs a lot of reps,” Doeren said. “It has been awhile since he has had 60 or 70 snaps that were his in a game. So all these reps, particularly in front of a crowd, are valuable for him.”

Brissett started three games in two seasons at Florida, where Driskel – also a top 100 recruit in the same class – ultimately won the job for coach Will Muschamp.

Driskel ran for 408 yards, and threw for 1,646 to lead the Gators to 11 wins in 2012. Brissett, as his backup, completed 23 of 35 attempts for 249 yards with a touchdown.

Former coordinator Charlie Weis recruited Brissett to Florida out of high school and his offense was more of a pro-style set. Weis left for Kansas before the 2012 season and Muschamp’s offense broke down to a modified option with Driskel.

“I could have done some of the stuff, but I’m not as fast as Jeff,” Brissett said. “That just wasn’t me.”

Brissett reconnected with Doeren after the 2012 season. Doeren, when he was an assistant at Wisconsin, had recruited Brissett out of Dwyer. With Glennon gone, and Mitchell as a one-year stop-gap solution, Doeren needed a quarterback.

A month after Doeren was hired, Brissett became his first official recruit. The only problem was Doeren had to wait, and still does, to get Brissett in a real game.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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