The Wolfpacker

July 2016

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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30 ■ THE WOLFPACKER FOOTBALL PREVIEW 2016 BY JACEY ZEMBAL N C State went 7-6 overall in 2015 and reached a bowl game for the sixth time in the last eight years, but is still striving to reach a higher level. During the offseason, the Wolfpack added a new offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and director of strength and condi- tioning. Boise State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz replaced Matt Canada, who was fired and landed in the same role at Pitts- burgh. Appalachian State offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford filled the void left by Mike Uremovich, who departed to become the offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois. Former NC State star linebacker Dantonio "Thunder" Burnette was promoted from as- sistant strength and conditioning coach. He replaced the dismissed Jason Veltkamp, who landed with the Cleveland Browns. The various changes are aimed for NC State to improve last year's 3-5 ACC mark. The Wolfpack has also beefed up the non- conference slate, with a road game at East Carolina Sept. 10 and Notre Dame coming to Carter-Finley Stadium Oct. 8. Fourth-year head coach Dave Doeren has seven offensive and eight defensive players returning that started at least seven games last year. Plus, all the key components on special teams are back. "We return a lot of experience on defense, and offensively we are trying to replace some guys that have been a part of our program for a while at quarterback and O-line," Doeren said. "Watching those young players now try to step into new roles, as a coach, it's fun to watch, but the process at times can be painful." Doeren noted the transition for Drinkwitz and Ledford went smoothly this past spring. "I'm really proud of not just the way Eli and Dwayne have bonded with staff members, but also the way the players have bought in to working hard and doing the things they need to do to put themselves in the right position for a good summer," the head man said. He was optimistic going into fall camp, and the Wolfpack is eager to raise the bar and get some breakthrough wins. "The chemistry and the leadership on our team right now is as good as it's been since I've been here," Doeren said. The Offense NC State will be seeking a new quarterback from among redshirt junior Ryan Finley (a graduate transfer from Boise State), redshirt sophomore Jalan McClendon and redshirt freshman Jakobi Meyers. They are vying to replace Jacoby Brissett, a two-year starter that was drafted in the third round by the New England Patriots. "Jacoby was a very good player for us and a great person to be around every day," Do- eren said. "Any time you lose a guy like that, you lose something. I am really excited about the competition we have at quarterback. "We are not going to announce anything until we feel like it's a done deal. We aren't there yet." The new signal-caller will have starting junior right guard Tony Adams plus redshirt sophomore tackles Will Richardson and Tyler Jones, who started nine and six games respec- tively, last year. Jones can play either tackle spot and both guard positions. NC State returns the majority of its tight ends, wide receivers and running backs. Senior running back Matthew Dayes is back healthy and could challenge for All- ACC honors. He was poised for a big junior year before a toe injury ended his season after eight games. He still led the Wolfpack with 134 carries for 865 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he caught 24 passes for 172 yards. Dayes could thrive in the passing game of Drink- witz's offense. The injury to Dayes and dismissal of Shadrach Thornton gave plenty of younger running backs a chance to play. Sophomores RAISING THE BAR NC State Eager For Breakthrough Wins Against Upgraded Schedule Head coach Dave Doeren has seven offensive and eight defensive players returning that started at least seven games last year. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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