The Wolfpacker

July 2016

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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42 ■ THE WOLFPACKER FOOTBALL PREVIEW 2016 BY JACEY ZEMBAL N C State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz will need to settle on a starting quarterback, and redshirt sophomore Jalan McClendon is battling redshirt freshman Jakobi Meyers and Boise State graduate transfer Ryan Fin- ley to earn that honor. The winner of the quarterback competition will have a cadre of talented running backs, versatile junior tight end/fullback Jaylen Samuels and four wide receivers that have started in the past. NC State returns three offensive linemen with starting experience, plus South Alabama graduate transfer Joseph Scelfo, who is ex- pected to handle the center position. NC State averaged 33.2 points, 202.1 rush- ing yards and 210.8 passing yards per game last year under former offensive coordina- tor Matt Canada, who is now at Pittsburgh. Drinkwitz will keep most of the offense, but will add his own wrinkles to it. Here are the highlights from an interview with Drinkwitz. How did your first spring practice with the Wolfpack go? "I thought the spring was really productive, and we got a lot of really good reps. We were able to go back when the spring was over and see what corrections we have to make and what things we need to work on. "Maybe they didn't understand this con- cept exactly the way we wanted it or the way we taught it. Or maybe we didn't teach it exactly the way we wanted to. "Spring was really good to learn from. We were also able to identify some key playmak- ers, some guys we think can really stand out for us. It is all valuable information." After watching the players on film, how was it to meet them in person? "It has been great to build relationships with those guys and figure out who they are outside of football. You can see what they do on the football field [on film], but it is just important to know what their lives are like outside of football. What are they trying to be when football is no longer here for them? "It has been good to get to know them, and I got to meet most of their parents after the spring game. It has been fun building relationships. That is what we do during the summer. We are focused on building these relationships and getting to know each other." How is the offensive line developing? "The jury is still out on what the unit will look like. There are a lot of talented pieces, but the offensive line is about getting guys to work together as one unit. That is really what Coach [Dwayne] Ledford has been working so hard on this spring and summer, just get- ting everybody working together. "We have to get everyone on the same page and get our best five guys out there. We have to allow those guys to work together. They have to work through so many differ- ent things. "It might look so easy to the casual eye, but you have to get five people on the exact same page and to block it exactly right. That is what they have been working on. Any offense that is worth its salt starts with the offensive line. There are some really good pieces, but it has to come together." What do you want the quarterbacks — Jalan McClendon, Jakobi Meyers and Ryan Finley — focusing on over the summer? "Each of them got a homework assignment — a specific thing that they are supposed to work on and go back and review from this spring. They had end-of-the-year evaluations and identified things they need to work on, and what were those things for each quarterback. OFFENSE Q&A Drinkwitz inherits a unit that averaged 33.2 points, 202.1 rushing yards and 210.8 passing yards per game in 2015, but also one that will feature a new starting quarterback. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN FRESH IDEAS Eli Drinkwitz Is Excited To Put All The Pieces Together

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