After one of the more depressing losses in recent NC State football memory (and that is saying something), there is a lot to assess. We will keep it to three major observations, but many more could be drawn from this weekend.
1. The Coaching Staff Is Officially On Watch
Dave Doeren and Co. had their detractors coming into this season, but he was given somewhat of a clean slate heading into the season. He has now lost that little bit of a free pass and will have to really impress down the stretch to not have the fan base calling for his head. With a tougher schedule than the Wolfpack have had in a long while, finding enough wins to make a bowl game will be tough. That will be the barometer that could keep the Pack fans from wanting blood. The coaching mistakes in Greenville started this, but they still have time to win some trust back.
2. This Is Not Ryan Finley's Fault
In an ironic twist, perhaps the biggest question heading into the season was the quarterback play. However, Finley has been solid, if unspectacular, through the two games. He has shown he can move some with a rushing touchdown and has shown good touch on short-to-intermediate routes. With the skill players at State's disposal and Finley's lack of mistakes, the reasonable fan would think the Pack would be sitting at 2-0. If he continues to be solid, one would think the Pack may have a chance at bowl eligibility after all.
3. Reggie Gallaspy Is A Strong Second Back
Anyone who watched the game knows about Gallaspy's long touchdown run where he bowled over a Pirate defensive back on his way to the endzone. Beyond that, he looked like a real threat running and receiving. With Matt Dayes needing to stay healthy, it will be a nice luxury for the coaches to be able to rely on the sophomore to keep Dayes' legs fresh. Gallaspy is a workhorse-type back and Dakwa Nichols and Johnny Frasier are still waiting in the wings should they be needed.
The defensive line needs to get more push, as the quarterbacks have had too much time through two games. They have made a few plays in the run game, but not consistent enough to forgive the lack of pass rush. This was supposed to be the strength of the team and they have been average.
The tight ends have been largely ignored, especially in the ECU game. Just Thad Moss had a catch as an end in Greenville. In the past, State has done well with a receiving threat at the position.