In college football, it’s never to early to start getting familiar with the competition. That is exactly what Morgan and Allan have been doing recently on The Morgan Thomas Show, previewing the ACC Atlantic Division.
Today, we start doing the same, as we begin our early look at the teams not named Clemson in the ACC Atlantic. Each preview will include my early, quick take, as well as lead writer Freddie Huth’s take. They will also include the way Morgan and Allan see each team in 2020.
The previews begin with North Carolina State, otherwise known as The Mighty Laptops.
North Carolina State
2019 was always going to be a rebuilding season in Raleigh. Add in the fact that there might not have been another team in the nation that was hit harder by the injury bug and it is no surprise they went 4-9 after posting back to back nine win seasons in 2017 and 2018.
Head coach Dave Doeren reshuffled his coaching staff, bringing on five new assistants, including a new offensive coordinator. The first thing they will need to do is settle on a quarterback. Devin Leary is not the answer in my opinion and it would not have shocked me to see them scouring the transfer portal for an answer.
Due to the current dead period, that may not be an option. Either way, quarterback is where it starts and ends with the Pack. Leary will be QB1 heading into camp, but can he hold off the youngsters Bailey Hockman and Ty Evans. Maybe true freshman Ben Finley can find some of that old magic older brother Ryan once had in Raleigh.
They have enough talent on defense, even is some of it is inexperienced, to be serviceable. They have three solid running backs returning as well. The difference between a winning season and a losing season rides on the quarterback position.
The Pack will be better in 2020, but not much better. Time is starting to run out on Dave Doeren.
The Wolfpack went 4-8 last season after winning nine games the previous two seasons, leading to many changes on head coach Dave Doeren’s staff. These moves, along with the improvements being made down I-40 in Chapel Hill, along with the success in Tigertown, have some expecting Doeren to be on the hot seat this season.
The NCST defense will be talented, but inexperienced. Although, that alone, will not help them out when facing offenses like that of Clemson. They are hoping that their new defensive line coach Charley Wiles will get the most out of the top returnees up front. In their secondary, the Wolfpack lost three players to season ending injuries last year and should get them back in time for the start of fall camp.
Their strongest position on offense appears to be their backfield. They are returning all three leading rushers from last season. This includes Zonovan Knight, who paced the group with 745 yards and five touchdowns on the ground last season. They also will get Ricky Person Jr. back, who is the most experienced back of the group. Person suffered an ankle injury last season, causing him to miss some time. Even with that he was able to return late in the year and still rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns.
At the end of the day I expect NC State to be better than 4-8. I’m just not sure they will improve enough to keep the support that Doeren needs to keep his job leading the Mighty Laptops.
Morgan and Allan: