As the N. C. State depth chart leaked into the twittersphere today I scrambled for my legal pad and got to scribbling. As the list unfolded, there were few major surprises, though it does appear that the Pack will attempt to slip a 12th man onto the field for the coming season.
The list includes five starting linemen. Normal enough. The dreaded "or" situation at QB. Fullback and running back. Tight end. And, count 'em, THREE wide receivers. Sneaky. That's 12 starters. We'll be the best team in football.
Here are the projected first teamers:
QB: Thomas OR Stocker
FB: Purvis (Winkles is second string for now; probably a disciplinary thing due to some off the field issues)
DE: West OR Norman
DE: Rose OR Cato-Bishop
I'll update as soon as the official chart is released on the interwebz.
And here you have it. There were no transcribing errors. Count them. That's 12 starters.
A quarterback controversy equals a quarterback problem, so the fact that neither Stocker nor Thomas has seized the position is concerning, but the cupboard may not be as bare as one might think following a coaching change.
On offense, there are six players returning that have started a good bit in their careers, including Crisp at left tackle, Christophe at left guard, and Chandler at right tackle. Both Creecy and Thornton have been starters in the past at running back, and Payton was a starter last year at wide receiver. Watson has been a second or third team guy for much of his career, but he has a ton of experience.
Fourteen of the 25 players listed on the two deep are either juniors or seniors, and only four freshmen make the chart, including early enrollees Cole Blankenship at left guard and Bra'Lon Cherry at the Z. Right guard Alex Barr is the only player listed as a starter who is basically totally untested.
If it doesn't work out for Barr (or Chandler, or Crisp for that matter), he might want to join the basketball team. The three aforementioned gentleman all stand 6-7.
On defense, one could stretch the truth just a tad and say that Dave Huxtable will have nine returning starters at his disposal. Granted, Green missed last year and Byrd's starting days were many injuries ago, but those gentleman do return, and once upon a time they did start.
If Norman and Cato-Bishop shed the "or" tag, the entire front four would be returning starters. Pittman started some last year, Burris played starter minutes, and of course Johnson is back after being arguably the team's best defender a season ago.
Twelve of the 22 on the chart are juniors and seniors with just four freshman listed, including both back up corners. The starters look like they could form a solid unit, but the inexperience on the second team at corner and linebacker is definitely a concern.