Dave Doeren will announce N.C. State’s starting quarterback before the season opens with William & Mary on Sept. 1.
Or he won’t.
Doeren will pick a starter, from three possible candidates, and go with one quarterback.
Or he won’t.
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The fourth-year Wolfpack coach wasn’t being glib when he answered questions about his quarterback situation on Friday at the ACC Kickoff. With the start of practice still eight days, Doeren doesn’t have any definitive answers.
“We’ll announce something during camp at some point,” Doeren said. “One way or another.”
The only thing Doeren knows for sure is that Jalan McClendon, Jakobi Meyers and newcomer Ryan Finley will each get a shot to win the job.
Doeren said it’s possible he might use more than one quarterback, as he did during his first season in 2013.
“It might be a deal where we play two of them,” Doeren said.
We don’t know who the quarterback is right now.
NC State running back Matt Dayes
Doeren’s not sure how the competition will play out. Neither is senior running back Matt Dayes.
“We don’t know who the quarterback is right now,” Dayes said.
There were only two options in the spring with McClendon, a third-year sophomore, a step ahead of Meyers, a redshirt freshman, in the race to replace two-year starter Jacoby Brissett.
Then Finley, a graduate transfer from Boise State, was added to the mix in June. Normally a newcomer would need to play catch-up. That’s not the case for Finley, who followed first-year offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz from Boise State to Raleigh.
“He definitely has a better grasp of the offense than any of us,” Dayes said.
Finley, who started three games for the Broncos last season, will use hand signals in workouts, Dayes said, that the returning Wolfpack players don’t recognize.
“We had to tell him, we’re just babies in this offense,” Dayes said. “You have to take it slow with us.”
Finley, who’s 6-4 and 200 pounds, has more experience in Drinkwitz’s offense and more game experience than either McClendon or Meyers.
Finley won a training camp competition last year with the Broncos and started the Broncos’ first three games. He completed 46 of 70 passes for 485 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions before he injured his ankle in the first quarter of the third game of the season.
Freshman Brett Rypien stepped in for Finley and threw for 3,353 yards and 20 touchdowns and was named all-conference.
Finley, who has two seasons of eligibility left and could petition the NCAA for a third, has quickly acclimated himself to his teammates and his fellow quarterbacks, Doeren said.
“Those guys understand,” Doeren said. “They’re on the team and they want to win. They’re very mature about it.”
This is not the first time Doeren has gone into August practice without a designated starter or at least without publicly naming a starter.
Before his first season in 2013, Doeren had a graduate transfer, Brandon Mitchell from Arkansas, and Pete Thomas, a holdover from the previous coaching regime.
Mitchell won the job fairly early in camp but wasn’t designated as the starter until kickoff of the opener.
Doeren admitted Friday he strung that race out but he had a reason.
“At that point, no one had ever seen our offense, either and it was a little different,” Doeren said.
On a perfect timeline, Doeren said the three quarterbacks would be able to go through a few scrimmages before he made a decision.
“You’d like to give those guys enough opportunity in a live situation, where guys are getting tackled and the pass rush is on them, to know who can handle it.”
And then Doeren said he would make decision and share it with the public, even if the decision is not to name a starter.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio