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NC State football suspensions: What they mean for the two-deep

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Grant Halverson

NC State suspended seven players Monday for their roles in a "game with BB guns" at their apartment complex off-campus. Those seven: receivers Jumichael Ramos and Johnathan Alston, linebacker Jerod Fernandez, safety Josh Jones, defensive tackle Justin Jones, defensive back Mike Stevens, and defensive end Pharoah McKever.

All seven have gotten snaps this season, and here's a visual look at the impact of the losses, based on NC State's depth chart for Boston College:

depthchartlosses

State released an updated depth chart for Louisville today.

The losses on the offensive side shouldn't make a huge difference--Ramos has played only sparingly and has one reception on the season. Alston is fourth on the team in receptions and sixth in receiving yards. Bra'Lon Cherry figures to get more snaps with those guys on the bench.

The defense is another story entirely. Fernandez is the team leader in tackles with 58 and interceptions with two. He's been locked into the MLB starting spot all year, and the linebacker group was frighteningly thin with him. He's logged 364 plays this season, according to Austin's spreadsheet, while replacement Airius Moore has been on the field for 61.

Josh Jones has also been on the field for a lot of plays in 2014 and ranks fourth on the team with 38 tackles. His replacement, Jarvis Byrd, has not been on the field for more than 25 plays in a game this season.

Here is a look at the total losses, by snap count:

Jerod Fernandez (364)
Josh Jones (292)
Johnathan Alston (197)
Justin Jones (82; DNP vs. BC)
Pharoah McKever (74)
Mike Stevens (45; DNP vs. BC)
Jumichael Ramos (17)

Ramos got in on a season-high 12 snaps against Boston College, while McKever saw only two plays, and neither Justin Jones nor Stevens played. They're depth players who weren't likely to make significant impacts against Louisville in any case, but there could be a painful cumulative effect with these guys no longer options.

New strong safety starter Jarvis Byrd has plenty of experience, but he's a step or three slower after multiple major knee injuries, and the new No. 2 at SS, freshman Shawn Boone, has only been in for 15 plays so far. The new No. 2 at MLB behind Moore is Bradley Chubb, who has not played since the USF game. He saw two snaps against the Bulls--his only action of the year.

The rotations there could be terrible adventures, with far more pressure on players who are either green or decidedly less capable than the guys they are replacing. This opens up extra avenues that Louisville can exploit, and for an already-maligned defense, that's a scary prospect.