The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 113 of 155

112 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL N C State fifth-year senior quar- terback Jacoby Brissett has suc- ceeded in several different styles of offense. Brissett passed for 2,606 yards and 23 touchdowns last year, and often had the Wolfpack playing in a hurry-up attack. The upside to the no-huddle offense is being able to keep defensive personnel on the field, wear them down and get them on their heels. The downside is having the occasional quick three-and-out series, resulting in the Wolfpack defense ending up on the field for long stretches. The up-tempo of- fense was the preferred style of head coach Dave Doeren and offensive coordinator Matt Canada during their first two years in Raleigh. NC State's offense wanted to combine the power of Wisconsin and the manipula- tion that has been so successful in Texas Christian's spread offense. Both Doeren and Canada had coaching stints at Wiscon- sin, and the influence of TCU came when the Badgers lost to the Horned Frogs in the 2011 Rose Bowl. NC State used the no-huddle offense extensively last year — including in the near miss against Florida State, when the Seminoles rallied for a 56-41 victory on Sept. 27, 2014. Accusations of FSU players faking injuries followed the contest. The next week ended up being the proverbial letdown and the low of the season, when Clemson and its spread no-huddle offense thrashed NCSU 41-0 in Death Valley. The Pack is doing things differently on offense this season, compared to Doeren's first two years. He half-joked that he is a contrarian to the trends of college football. "I look at our league and besides Boston College, Georgia Tech and us, everyone else goes fast," Doeren said. "I don't want to be like everyone else." NC State came out in the hurry-up of- fense for the first time on the opening se- ries at Wake Forest Oct. 24, with the drive taking three plays before Brissett threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to redshirt fresh- man wide receiver Maurice Trowell. The Wolfpack mixed in the hurry-up attack ev- ery few series, but after building up an early 28-0 lead, the huddle-up approach was more practical in the eventual 35-17 win. "We practiced that [up-tempo offense] all summer, and obviously in the first four games, we didn't need it," Doeren said. "In retrospect, we should have had it ready for games five and six [versus Louisville and at Virginia Tech]." The coach admitted that how the offense does on the first few plays of a drive really dictates the tempo for rest of the series. "Hurry-up offense is based on getting a first down, and we didn't get a whole lot of first downs [over the final three quarters against Wake Forest]. That was part of the problem. On second-and-10, going fast is really not that good," Doeren said. "First down becomes a critical down." He did leave the door open for a mix of tempos over the final five games of the regular season. "It is something we need to be able to do," Doeren said. "We have to be able to change tempo in the game. We can't just break the huddle and let them know to get their cleats set all the time. We have to change it up from fast, slow, shift, trade, motion. That is what we have to be to be successful. "I'll take all the blame for not having it ready when we really needed it." Brissett pointed out that the offensive line is a major key, no matter the tempo. "The guys up front help us out in switch- ing tempos and being able to expose some of our talent," Brissett said. "We haven't showed it a lot on film this year, so it was great to get it on film [versus Wake Forest] to show that we could do both." NC State was on the field for at least 40 minutes in each of its the first three games, and for 35:12 in the fourth at South Ala- bama Sept. 26. "Each year is different," Canada said. "We've had some up-tempo plays and used to have that, but it's a matter of each game being different. When you get the lead, you do those things and want to take care of the clock. "All we are trying to do is win." Naturally, Brissett is in the middle of the adjusted NC State offensive style. He threw for 1,332 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first seven contests. Those numbers have him on pace to compile 2,474 passing yards and 19 touchdowns if the Wolfpack play 13 games this season. "When you stand in the huddle and Ja- coby talks to you every play, he is our best leader and I think that is a positive thing to let the offensive kids see," Doeren said. "He will encourage them, talk to them and give them a nugget here or there. "When you're a no-huddle team, you don't ever get that conversation. I like that when you have a leader at quarterback. It has been helpful for us." Brissett said the ability to look his team- mates in the eyes and give advice in the huddle can't be underestimated, and that option does get lost in no-huddle schemes. "I'm able to talk in the huddle and just get in the guys' ears," he explained. "In the huddle, you have some time to recap the last play for a quick second and make sure we are on to the next play. The offensive linemen are locked into down and distance, and we are locked into the game." The quarterback is the unquestioned leader of the offense and is closing in on five years of college football under his belt. He knows what is needed to win games. "We'll get into the thick of the game and those guys will look into my eyes, and we can see where our minds our at," he said. "It helps us make sure we know the person next to us is going all out for us." In 2014, NC State was averaging 30.9 points and 414.1 yards per game through seven contests. The Wolfpack ran 484 plays, which averaged out to 69.1 per game and 6.0 yards per play. The time of pos- session numbers also reflected NC State's quick-strike abilities, with the Wolfpack losing the ball-control battle, 31:52-28:08. NC State's altered offensive approach has resulted in a significant change in the time of possession statistic this year, with the Wolfpack holding a 34:49-25:11 advan- tage after seven games. That figure ranked second in the nation, behind only Stanford (35:36-24:24). "I still like no-huddle," Doeren said. "It's just not what we're best at. I take pride in doing what is best for us." The emphasis on ball control has been effective for NCSU. During its 5-2 start, the Wolfpack was averaging 35.1 points and 412.4 yards per contest while running 496 plays and averaging 5.8 yards per snap. "It's a different tempo than we regularly run, and it's good to get a different person- nel group in and exploit what the defense puts out there against our particular group," Brissett said. "We saw the fake injuries and stuff like that, and that was something we had to deal with. "For the most part, it's a weapon we can use, but as long as the ball is in my hands I'm good." The slower tempo has allowed the de- Style Change NC State Is Adjusting Its Tempo Offensively

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - November 2015 Issue