The Wolfpacker

January 2014

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 35 of 79

T By Ryan Tice he NC State offense went through its share of struggles in 2013 due to a rotating cast of characters that was brought on by injuries. Fortynine games were missed due to health on just that side of the ball, including 35 by projected starters. A torn ACL sidelined starting fullback Logan Winkles before the season even started, and health would also claim senior left tackle Rob Crisp, the team's best lineman, by week three. Fifth-year senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell missed six games, while the wide receiving corps had to be re-shuffled frequently because of injuries. The fluid lineup contributed to an average of just 22.8 points per game and 31 touchdowns, the latter a total that ranked 12th in the ACC. It stands as State's fifthlowest touchdown output of the last 26 years, but the biggest area that needs improvement is red-zone offense. The Wolfpack ranked 102nd nationally in red-zone offense with 30 scores in 39 opportunities (76.9 percent), but that included just 17 touchdowns. Only seven programs in the country found paydirt less often from inside the 20-yard line, and success next year starts with the ability to finish drives with touchdowns. Room To Grow The Wolfpack Offense Needs A Healthier Season To Build On Year One Offensive Line It's often said that the battle near the goal line is won up front, so it's only natural to start in the trenches. Next fall, NCSU will boast five returning big men who have started double-digit games — a far cry from this past campaign when the team entered the season with just three linemen, including Crisp, with more than one career start. The group goes from a bunch of inexperienced underclassmen to a lineup flush with upperclassmen, almost all of whom have redshirted. Three of eight returning blockers, who combine for 72 career starts and 178 appearances, will be entering their junior year of eligibility, while the rest are seniors. The expected return of Crisp for a fifth year will provide a huge boost and also allow redshirt sophomore Joe Thuney, who filled in admirably on the blind side and has now played every position in the last year except left guard, to slide back inside. Sophomore Quinton Schooley, a late addition to the recruiting class, surprised last year at center and will also be back after he played every snap last fall. The front wall will also be bolstered by the presence of redshirt sophomore right The Wolfpack will look to Jacoby Brissett,'s No. 3 dual-threat signal-caller nationally in the class of 2011 who appeared in 13 games with three starts in two years at Florida before transferring to NC State, to bring some stability to the quarterback position. photo by ken martin guard Alex Barr, who started 10 games in 2013, and redshirt junior right tackle Tyson Chandler, a veteran of 36 games and 23 starts, numbers that will stand as the most on the offense next season. Rounding out the elder statesmen are Andy Jomantas, Ali Kassem and Cameron Fordham, who all enter their final year of eligibility. Quarterback The Pack can't suffer from quarterback 36  ■  the wolfpacker 36,38.2014 FB Offense.indd 36 12/5/13 3:59 PM

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