How much can we really glean from Brandon Mitchell’s 46 career pass attempts and 27 career rushes? A lot, I hope. Oh please let it be a lot.
Because if Mitchell’s career stats are indicative of his future performance, the hamster-wheeling N.C. State offense is about to gain traction and matriculate in the direction of the opposing team’s goal posts. (Or at least it will starting the week right after the FSU game.)
The Bearded-Wonder has a career 155.7 QB rating. That number would rank 22nd nationally this season and would have been good for 16th last year, one spot ahead of Heisman-winning Mr. Jonathon Football of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. To further put that mark in perspective, Mike Glennon had a career rating of 132.3. Russell Wilson posted a career 147.2 mark, but just 135.5 in his time with the Pack.
As noted in the rejiggering expectations piece, N.C. State’s quarterback play has masked a number of ills over the past five years. But Pete Thomas, and god love the man for trying, simply does not have the ability of Glennon or Wilson. Thomas, a Colorado State transfer, has posted a 119.8 career QB rating, but he has been even worse in a Wolfpack uniform: his 115.2 mark in 2013 ranks 96th in the FBS.
Mitchell, who spent time at receiver at Arkansas, obviously fits the dual-threat requirement Dave Doeren desires as his trigger puller from the pistol better than Thomas. (Though, again, god love the man for trying: Thomas entered the season at -153 in rushing yards from his CSU days but has lumbered for 184 yards this year to get into positive territory for his career.) Thomas has found the endzone twice and averaged 3.1 yards per carry despite a lot of negative sack baggage, which is really not bad. But Mitchell has averaged 3.7 per carry in his career and can likely extend a well-blocked run for more yards than Thomas due to his better speed, not to mention potentially scrambling away from potential sacks more frequently.
I don’t expect Mitchell to post a QB rating north of 150 for the rest of the season, but if he can settle in around the 135-level we were accustomed to with Glennon and Wilson, N.C. State suddenly has enough at the position to compete at the FBS level. In fact, the offense may suddenly jump ahead of where it was even under Glennon/Wilson, as this team can run the ball at least a little bit. Glennon never had the support of a running game, and Wilson running for his life was the running game. Additionally, if teams have to respect Mitchell’s ability to run, the rest of the new regime’s pistol run package should open up all the more.
Heck, if a Chase Rettig-led offense can hang 34 on FSU, maybe N.C. State can turn this thing around sooner than we might think, especially since the Seminoles will be coming off the closest thing to an ACC Super Bowl we’ve ever seen. Whether they win or lose against Clemson, the Noles will be in the classic trap-game position with rival Miami coming to Tallahassee the following week.
Am I really talking myself into…
Probably better not to even complete that sentence.