In what seems like it has become an annual event under multiple coaches, it’s time to play everyone’s favorite game, “What counts as progress for N.C. State football?”
Coming off two straight bowl appearances, the Wolfpack has some raw offensive talent, should show improvement on defense and the offensive line and will certainly benefit from a change in offensive philosophies. But N.C. State also has to replace Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, will be adjusting to that new offensive system and faces the most difficult schedule – the first difficult schedule – in Dave Doeren’s tenure.
N.C. State this season has to go to East Carolina – never easy, even with the Pirates undergoing a coaching change – Clemson, Louisville and North Carolina while hosting Notre Dame, Florida State and Miami. There will be no padding this record, even with William & Mary and Old Dominion on the schedule. Any bowl berth this season will be earned.
The most interesting dynamic is on offense, where Eliah Drinkwitz arrives from Boise State to take over for Matt Canada, who never seemed to get the idea that he might want to run a play or two for his best players, especially in seasons where N.C. State didn’t have very many. The Wolfpack has weapons and Drinkwitz looks like he knows how to use them. But there are always issues in the first season under a new system, and N.C. State will have to deal with that.
So given all of that, what counts as progress? Is merely getting back to a bowl game against this schedule enough? Or should more be expected in Year 4 under Doeren? There are no easy answers to those questions.
Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock