Quarterback search continues at State
With quarterback Mike Glennon having exhausted his eligibility last spring, one thing certain for N.C. State is that it will have a new person leading the offense this fall.
Just who that will be was still up in the air when coach Dave Doeren started his first preseason practice as the Wolfpack’s head coach Friday.
Pete Thomas, a transfer who threw for 4,269 yards and 18 touchdowns in two seasons at Colorado State, was listed first on the depth chart last spring with Glennon’s seldom-used understudy, sophomore Manny Stocker, listed as his backup.
But they have plenty of competition. Doeren brought in graduate transfer Brandon Mitchell from Arkansas to add depth, even though Mitchell played primarily at wide receiver last season and completed 25 of 43 passes for 332 yards in spot duty at quarterback. In addition to Mitchell, freshmen Bryant Shirreffs of Jefferson, Ga., and Josh Taylor of New Bern will also get looks.
“Pete came out of the spring ahead of Manny. And then we added Brandon Mitchell because we didn’t feel like we were in position to name a starter and we needed more competition for Pete,” Doeren said last week at ACC media day. “I think those two (Thomas and Mitchell) being the eldest are the two frontrunners, but I wouldn’t count out what our freshmen can do either.”
Doeren is not sure if he will have one main quarterback chosen before the Wolfpack play host to Louisiana Tech in the season opener Aug. 31 or if the competition will continue past the start of the season.
“All five guys will get reps in practice, and the older guys will get more early on,” Doeren said. “The rep count will change pretty quickly. If we can name one, we will. If we can’t, then we’ll compete a little bit and let a guy win it in a game.
“In a perfect world, we would like it decided before the first game, but I can’t tell you that’s going to happen,” Doeren said.
Doeren, who had the luxury of having quarterbacks who were named conference player of the year in his two seasons at Northern Illinois, isn’t bothered by the prospect of possibly going with a two-quarterback system.
“I want to put the best possible formula out there for our players to win. And if that’s two guys, that’s what it will be,” Doeren said. “In a perfect world, it wouldn’t be like that. But it’s not. So, we have to deal with it.
“I like the fact that there were two quarterbacks when I got here and now there are five. So, maybe there are better odds that one of them can get it done. We’ll see where it ends up.”