It was supposed to be a huge season for the NC State offense, what with Russell Wilson returning for his third season and an experienced group of pass catchers around him. Back at the start of the season, there was plenty of optimistic talk, and while in hindsight it sounds like everybody went overboard, at the time it was hard to imagine anything but another step forward. At any rate, I'm not allowed to criticize after I termed Cincinnati's offense a death machine in August. Mistakes were made.
"Perfect Storm" is the name NC State offensive coordinator Dana Bible has bestowed upon a Wolfpack offensive unit that will make its 2010 debut against Western Carolina Saturday night at 6 p.m. Coverage on the Wolfpack Sports Network begins at 5 p.m.
With quarterback Russell Wilson again seeking out targets like Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams and tight end George Bryan, Bible has reason to feel confident about the ingredients of a passing attack that has already proven itself for going on two years now.
"He said we have receivers that want to catch the ball," said Williams, a 6-4 senior receiver who led the Pack in catches last season with 45. "We have quarterbacks that can throw the ball. We have one of the best tight ends in the country and an offensive coordinator that wants to throw the ball. "There's really no way around it: defenses are going to have problems with us this year."
Right out of the gate we have a problem--the nickname. I'd have gone with Explosion Storm or LASERBLAST, personally.
As we know now, the big year was never to be. After a strong start to the season that saw the offense average 6+ yards per play in three consecutive games, the offense slumped to the finish. The last month was particularly brutal:
Say what you want about the schedule, but if you're the perfect storm, I believe the idea is you're going to make good defenses look bad. NC State finished the regular season ranked 73rd with a 5.3 yards-per-play average, down from 5.6 a year ago. The small increase in scoring is entirely explained by the five non-offensive touchdowns NC State scored this season. In fact, if you take those out, the Pack's scoring output was nearly identical to its output in 2009. Russell Wilson set career-lows in yards per attempt and passer rating. Pass protection wasn't consistently good. The running game was either an afterthought or largely ineffective, sometimes both.
Maybe it's a simple as getting better up front. But it sure felt like there was a lot more to it than that. Let's hope that there is time enough between now and the bowl game for the team to find some adjustments that work.