Both NC State and ECU will be releasing their depth charts on Tuesday, though the Wolfpack’s doesn’t figure to show much that we don’t already know. Dave Doeren essentially went through it anyway during his game week press conference on Monday, and you can read through that in the transcript here.
Among other things, Dave talked about the challenge of playing in front of ECU’s crowd and noted that State hasn’t had a lot of luck in Greenville lately:
We know that their fans will be loud and for us, it’s something we need. We need to go play on the road and play in front of a fanbase like that. We’re going to come home after this game for three weeks and then have to go play at Clemson and that’ll be our next time to really have that.
So I’m excited. We have that challenge in our opener as well, and it’s a stadium that NC State has not played well in as a program. We’re 1-4 in Greenville, and my last time there we had 13 penalties and lost a one-possession game. I know this is a tough place. Trust me, our team knows that as well.
He makes a good point as well that this will be useful experience ahead of the trip to Death Valley, as that will undoubtedly be the loudest atmosphere that NC State faces all year. Getting something of a preview from Pirates fans should be useful.
On the Pirates:
Their quarterback has played a lot of football. I’ve known Holton since he was in high school... big, strong kid that can run around and super smart... has a lot of game experience.
He’s got skill players around him. They’re impressive. His top receiver, Johnson, obviously is a high school teammate. So there’s chemistry there. The tight end that transferred in from Oklahoma, Ryan Jones, we recruited from Mallard Creek and was a really good athlete in high school. I think their tailback is a really, really good football player for them. The o-line has some starters back and also have added some competition to the roster in the portal there on defense. They’re very multiple, a lot of pressure, a lot of stunts changes, change up their coverage packages quite a bit. They play hard. I do see good defensive speed when you watch their film.
Holton Ahlers has about as much experience as it’s possible for a college quarterback to have, with four straight seasons of at least 260 passing attempts under his belt. He’s thrown for over 3,000 yards twice. There ain’t much at this point that he hasn’t seen.
Fortunately, NC State’s defense is well-built for the situation, and I hope that the unit’s experience will help it avoid the kinds of breakdowns that can be typical in the first game. The absolute last thing we want to do is go in there and hand ECU a freebie early on and help that team and their crowd stay amped up.
All part of the challenge of playing on the road.