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NC State’s pass protection held up in 2019, but run blocking needs improvement

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North Carolina State v Georgia Tech Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

ESPN college football writer David Hale has been putting together some illuminating numbers on ACC teams’ play in the trenches, which you can find here. NC State’s defensive line production last year was, as you probably guessed, not good. But the offensive line put up some excellent numbers in pass protection, at least.

For instance, NC State’s line allowed quarterback pressure on non-blitz plays just 22.2% of the time, which led the ACC. The Wolfpack offensive line also topped the league with an average of one penalty per 130 snaps. Dwayne Ledford’s influence wasn’t about to just disappear after one offseason.

The run game was a bit more of an issue for the line, though that has been a theme for a while now, with or without Ledford coaching the big uglies. Obviously it didn’t help last year that nobody considered State’s passing game to be a threat—even with a good quarterback, the Pack would have been limited vertically—but there’s no question that the guys need to be better in this regard.

I’m not as optimistic as David on this one, though I can’t imagine the line’s performance being any worse in 2020.