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The one big worry: James Madison edition

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In which I fret about something despite the small sample size involved.

James Madison v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Now, sure, one game is hardly enough football to realistically judge anything, but it ain’t like that’s going to stop the worry. NC State brought about a B- effort overall on Saturday, against a really good FCS team, and still won by 11. That’s good. I feel good about that.

NC State was also pretty one-dimensional in earning that win. The Wolfpack managed only 83 yards rushing on 29 carries (2.9 YPC) against James Madison, which is not the sort of opening effort we were looking for. We’ve been searching for reasons all offseason to calm us down about the loss of Nyheim Hines, and Saturday provided no aid.

There’s a non-zero possibility that State’s Week 1 performance was a fluke. A zone blocking scheme is basically the football equivalent of rocket science, so it takes time to nail it down. I think we learned, though, that a back like Reggie Gallaspy is simply ill suited for it. He needs to be going downhill at the snap and not trying to make reads while he’s going east-west. They’ll figure that out.

The other thing, too, is that the staff understandably wasn’t quite ready to trust its freshmen running backs on those plays. Ricky Person and Trent Pinnix are going to thrive on those plays, once the game slows down for them, but they weren’t ready.

So it was not the perfect fit in any particular sense, for any of the backs that played Saturday. NC State has an elite left side up front, though, and that’ll start to matter with the more reps they get.

All of which is a roundabout way of getting back to the primary concern coming out of the first game, which is that State couldn’t even muster three yards per carry against an undersized front seven. These things take time, but there ain’t much of that available in-season.