Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson's job is difficult enough without having to juggle quarterbacks, but that's what he's had to deal with in 2015. Incumbent starter John Wolford injured an ankle during the Deacs' game against Syracuse in September, and aggravated it against UNC last weekend. Backup Kendall Hinton suffered a back injury in early October that still has him less than 100%.
Wolford's injury provided an opportunity for Hinton, who at times has looked impressive; and that's why NC State is preparing for both players on Saturday, even if neither one is entirely healthy. Clawson wanted to get through the UNC game without playing Hinton but had no choice after Wolford went down again. Via the Winston-Salem Journal:
"Right now our two quarterbacks are not 100 percent,'' Clawson said. "It's been a juggling act every week figuring out who can go and what they can do. Our sports med staff has done a great job getting those guys ready to go, but we really wanted to get through the last game not playing Kendall. He's not healthy. He's probably 80-90 percent. But some of the things he does best, he couldn't do at the level he can do it at."
If Hinton's name sounds vaguely familiar to you, it's probably because he was at one point a significant recruiting target for NC State. At one point he was also widely expected to pick NC State. Instead he went with the Deacs, where he's had the opportunity to play right away.
Wolford's injury pushed Hinton into near-full-time duty for three games, with mixed results. Against Army, he ran for over 100 yards. Against Indiana, he led a fourth-quarter rally that came up short. And the week after that, he completed 64.3% of his pass attempts for 215 yards against FSU. He also threw four interceptions over those three games.
So for the most part he hasn't been a consistent player, particularly as a passer, which you might expect from a true freshman. In the larger picture, Wolford probably gives Wake a better chance to succeed offensively and is clearly the better, more experienced passer. But Hinton can also be useful in ways Wolford can't, whether that's in the running game or in extending plays by getting out of the pocket. NC State has to worry about all of these things.