I thought the effort was outstanding Thursday night--it was just the execution and the luck that appeared lacking for the Wolfpack. Dave Doeren spoke afterward about the team's mistakes, and the lack of depth that they have to deal with right now.
"One thing that I think is that our kids are very tough," he said. "I think the one thing we've got to do better is not beat ourselves. We don't have a lot of depth. We played a lot of young guys. Rob Crisp was out of the lineup, so it was our third O-line set. We were playing with our backup quarterback and our third different offensive line and we battled against a very good defense."
Crisp's absence obviously was a hindrance considering State racked up a bunch of pre-snap penalties and looked out of sorts in some other notable situations. It's tough to go into a game like this one without your starting left tackle or starting quarterback, and then Darryl Cato-Bishop and Juston Burris went down. It's especially tough to contend with all of this crap when you're NC State. Clemson is difficult enough to handle for an opponent at full strength.
Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes you're the last seven iterations of NC State football teams. Still, this is, barring some oncoming epidemic, a team that will win at least six games and earn some extra practice time as a result. In any case, some reserves have had to step onto the field out of necessity, which is not a bad thing at the beginning of a new coaching tenure.
If we're still talking about these problems in year four, then yeah, we got trouble. It might not be a coaching problem; it might be more of a who-walked-under-a-ladder-recently problem. I don't know which of those would be more easily fixed.