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Interception rate is standing on NC State's ceiling, but all is not lost

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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Brissett drew some warranted criticism during his time in Raleigh. He was conservative as a passer and at times could hold on to the ball too long, creating unnecessary problems for himself. There were fumbles that probably should have been avoided.

But his disposition also decreased the probability of a crippling mistake in the passing game. Brissett threw a total of 11 interceptions in two years as the starting quarterback. State finished in the top 10 nationally in fewest interceptions thrown in both of Brissett's seasons as the starter.

Pack quarterbacks have thrown a total of 12 interceptions in 794 pass attempts over the last two seasons. Both Mike Glennon and Russell Wilson had career interception rates worse than that at NC State. What we've seen the last two years, in this specific category, is not normal.

NCSU Passing Offense INT% Pass Att./INT
2015 1.5 68.8
2014 1.6 63.5
2013 3.5 28.4
2012 3.0 33.5
2011 2.6 38.8

State's overall ability to protect the ball has been crucial in the Dave Doeren era since Doeren's defenses have never been much better than average when it comes to forcing turnovers. The Wolfpack has nonetheless been even or better in turnover margin in all three of Doeren's seasons.

All of which brings us around to a worry, among numerous other worries, that comes with a green starting quarterback. With Brissett under center, the NC State offense posted its lowest team interception rates in at least a decade. Tough standard to follow.

But passing games don't operate in a vacuum. Just as Tom O'Brien and Dana Bible left their quarterbacks out to dry with bland run schemes, so has Dave Doeren diversified the ways in which NC State can hurt defenses. The Pack's offense is better for that, and theoretically that should lower the pressure on the new starting quarterback, which should theoretically decrease the likelihood of big mistakes.

No telling how it will work out in the end, because there is a lot of randomness in turnovers no matter how conservative/pragmatic or talented your quarterback. In order for a successful season, State's got to find another way to be stingy with giveaways or get more support from its defense. It's plausible one of those two things happens. If neither does, then 2016 is going to hurt a lot.