I wanted to write about something, but I couldn’t decide on what, so I decided to write about everything. Enjoy the following collection of words about stuff. Viewer discretion is advised.
NC State is Lucky to have Ryan Finley
Can we talk for a second about how incredibly important snagging Finley from Boise State was and is going to be this year? No, he’s not going to light the world on fire, but he doesn’t have to. He doesn’t have to be a superstar to lead this offense, as loaded with talented football players as it is. As long as he makes good decisions, throws accurate passes, and delivers on a respectable percentage of deep balls, everything will be great. These are all things he proved himself more than capable of last season.
The reason getting him on the transfer wire was so crucial though is because the Pack would be probably be lost at quarterback without him. He’s far and away the best quarterback on the roster. He doesn’t have the natural physical abilities of Jalan McClendon or (now wide receiver) Jakobi Meyers, but he can make good decisions and throw accurate passes. No other quarterback on the team has proven they can do that. If it wasn’t for Finley’s decision to come to Raleigh, we’d be looking at a much bigger set of concerns this year than we are.
Josh Jones is the Biggest Loss from Last Year’s Team
Matt Dayes was a superstar last year for the Pack and I don’t mean any slight to him by this, but State will miss Josh Jones much more this year. The difference is that Dayes’ role is going to be filled by two upperclassmen with superstar potential of their own. I trust the running game is in good hands with Gallaspy and Hines carrying the ball, but there is going to be a much bigger question mark at the spot where Jones used to take the field. He would’ve been a senior leader for the defense and an All-ACC candidate in a secondary that will now be the weakest unit on the defense this year. Now his spot will be filled by likely either redshirt junior Dexter Wright or redshirt sophomore Jarius Morehead, which have a combined one start.
Place Kicking is a Complete Wildcard
Hoooo boy is this going to be an adventure. The expectation among a lot of people is that Carson-Newman transfer Carson Wise would assume the duties this season. This is for two reasons. The first is that people had decided that junior Kyle Bambard had been given his last chance after he missed the game winner at Clemson (this is why viewer discretion was advised) and the second is that Dave Doeren has actually said Carson-Newman transfer Carson Wise would assume the duties this season.
Wise was 21-31 over the last two years at Carson-Newman, which isn’t phenomenal but statistically much better than his competition. Taking a division two player and sticking him in the highest level of college football though is never just plug-and-play, even with something as straightforward as kicking a field goal. Throw in the fact that Bambard went something like 5-6 in the spring game and who knows how this will play out. The only guarantee is that butts will be held onto tightly when the first field goal attempt comes around this season.
The Defensive Line is going to Ruin Lives
This is one impressive unit. It’s been a while since State has had a position group that was truly one of the best in the country, but a lot of ESPN dudes have this d-line right up there with some of the country’s most elite programs, and it’s not for no reason. This is a scary unit full of large fast people. Chubb is obviously the headliner but the whole group is pretty frightening going all the way down to the second team. Darian Roseboro is one of the highest rated recruits Doeren has ever signed and as a junior he might not even start. That says a lot about how strong and deep this unit is.
Bruce Feldman recently names defensive end Kentavius Street to his list of top 40 workout warriors, likely because of his ability to bench press the state of North Carolina. He may not be a great pass rusher coming off the edge like Chubb, but he doesn’t need to be when he can just pick up offensive linemen and throw them at the quarterback. Despite not receiving as much publicity as the likes of Street and Chubb, Justin Jones and B.J. Hill are both very stout at their respective defensive tackle spots as well. These guys are going to be fun to watch.
This is the year for Doeren
He’s started to creep onto some of the hot seat lists. Last year’s team should have been better. The year before that’s team should have been better. This year’s team has to be better. His efforts to rebuild State Football through strong recruiting and development have culminated with this year. He’s got a veteran team that is very good on paper and a manageable schedule with plenty of opportunity. Things are going to get tough for him if State lights itself on fire this year like it did last. This roster is simply too good to 7-6 again. Doeren and his team need to reach new heights this year. Here’s hoping they get there.