In a perfect example of armchair quarterbacking, I want to text Dave Doeren and tell him I’ve cracked the code on how to beat BC: throw the dang ball like you’re offended by its proximity to you.
In our group discussion, we lamented the play calling we’ve seen so far this season. Whether this is a result of Doeren’s philosophy on offensive balance, or the co-OC’s learning on the job, or the QB, or all of the above.. the results have been less than stellar. State has only 6 passing TD’s on the year, good enough for 107th nationally.. and 2 of those are from WR Thayer Thomas. Removing those puts State tied for 120th in the country.
That being said...
If ever there was a game that could be used to test out who the one true quarterback ought to be, this is the game. The opportunity against BC comes at just the right time in the season. NC State really should figure out who’s slinging the rock. Yes they could keep trotting out two (or three or four) guys to throw, but I think it’s in the team’s best interest to settle it sooner rather than later. The fan’s expectations for this transition season have been consistent: make a bowl, find a quarterback, and get experience necessary to take a step up next year.
BC isn’t having the worst year, they currently stand at 3-3 (1-2), but more than other units their defense is having a rough go of it against opposing passing attacks.
Here is a summary of the BC Passing Defense through 6 games:
284.3 yds/game (117th nationally)
8.5 yds/attempt (114th)
33.5 attempts/game (86th)
135 total completions (108th)
201 total attempts (81st)
67.2 completion pct (125th)
1706 total yards (113th)
13 passing TD’s allowed (100th)
5.0 sacks (T-123rd but really second to last)
Admittedly, their rushing defense is not all that much better:
191.83 yds/game (101st)
1151 total yds (98th)
7 rushing TD’s allowed (37th)
As a whole, they’re at 28.8 points allowed/game (82nd), while NC State is 27.5 points scored/game (77th)
BC’s opponents have not exactly been a murders row: VT, Richmond, Kansas, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Louisville (where they allowed a season high 428 passing yds). None of these teams were ranked at the time, though Wake became ranked after beating BC (and subsequently lost it after the Louisville game). Is Louisville good now? Anyway, the point is that BC hasn’t exactly faced a SEC level schedule or Heisman candidates at QB.
Doeren has said Devin Leary will again see the field this week. Personally I’m hoping this is for more than just a paltry single series. This small sample size is not going to help you see how can run a team in a game environment. Yes, the real time to test drive him was against WCU and the like, but that ship has sailed. He needs several series in a row to get in the flow.
But more than that, both Leary and Bailey Hockman need to throw the ball. Not only for them to get more game reps, but also because this is specifically BC’s weakness. They have a low sack number combined with high passing yardage allowed, so it’s not like they’re getting burned deep because they’re trying to get pressure on the QB. Teams are just throwing on them, a LOT, and successfully.
Will they do it? Honestly I’m doubtful. Doeren has been very steadfast in his dedication to establishing a strong running game, even with NFL talent at QB and WR. I’m not saying to drop the run completely, but BC has shown little ability to limit teams who try to pick them apart through the air.
So, Dave, hear me out. Pull out the playbook from the last few years and dust it off. We know there are good plays in the book, we’ve seen them sprinkled here and there. The ECU game is a great example of great plays meant to get the ball to a WR in space with room for yards after the catch. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just put all those plays onto Hockman and Leary’s wristbands, and fly all over these Eagles.