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Searching for a QB

By Matthew Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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The quarterback situation in Raleigh is likely to remain unsettled until much closer to the start of the season, but for a young team which desperately is searching for leadership and guidance, the uncertainty under center does not bode well for the 2013 season.

First-year NC State head coach Dave Doeren has a rather large challenge in front of him in his first campaign in Raleigh.

Inheriting a unit which loses 11 starters from last year’s team which won just seven games, Doeren will attempt to successfully implement his proven system while working with an inexperienced collection of talent.

Losing more than half of the starters from last season, most of the Wolfpacks’ starting positions will be open for legitimate competition over the next few months.

None of those positional battles will be more highly scrutinized than the open quarterback competition, though.

NC State was happy to learn that ex-Florida quarterback and former four-star prospect Jacoby Brissett decided to use the remainder of his collegiate eligibility in Raleigh. The immediate problem, of course, is that Brissett is not eligible to play for NC State until the start of the 2014 season, meaning he is automatically out of the current quarterback competition.

For the Wolfpack, that leaves two players as the most likely candidates to secure the starting position under center by the time the team opens its 2013 season against Louisiana Tech: Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas and rising sophomore Manny Stocker.

Thomas, who sat out the 2012 season due to NCAA transfer regulations, completed over 60% of his passes in two seasons at Colorado State. He did also, however, finish his tenure in the MWC with more interceptions than touchdowns (21 to 18).

Stocker spent his true freshman season as the de facto backup behind soon-to-be NFL signal caller Mike Glennon. Seeing action in just five contests, Stocker did not complete either of his two passing attempts last fall.

Without a single quarterback on the roster that has completed a pass while playing in a BCS automatic qualifying conference, Doeren has had no other alternative but to allow both signal callers to take extensive repetitions with the first team offense this spring.

Now just a little over a week away from NC State’s annual spring game, it appears that Thomas has taken an ever so slight lead in the competition to be the leader of Doeren’s historically high-powered offense.

As Doeren commented to Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer, Thomas’ slight lead in the competition has to do with the fact that he has displayed better decision making thus far in spring practice.

“We just have to have a guy that doesn’t hurt us,” Doeren said. “That’s what we’re looking for right now, the rest of it will come.”

Both quarterbacks have made a fair amount of mistakes through their first few weeks in Doeren’s system, but that is to be expected when making the transition to a fast-paced offense which utilizes unfamiliar terminology.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada recognized that, while both players have shown flashes of potential, there is still tremendous room for improvement for both players.

“There’s a long way to go for everybody, but at the quarterback position there’s a lot to learn,” Canada said.

The quarterback situation in Raleigh is likely to remain unsettled until much closer to the start of the season, but for a young team which desperately is searching for leadership and guidance, the uncertainty under center does not bode well for the 2013 season.

As the Wolfpack continue their preparations for the upcoming campaign, the competition under center will be one which ACC fans will watch with great interest.

Matthew Osborne - With an extensive background in both writing and high school recruiting, Matt serves as the Editor and Director of Recruiting for Southern Pigskin. Once serving as the South Region Senior Scout for a national scouting service, Matt is very familiar with the top football prospects in the south. If it is a weekend in the fall, you can rest assured that Matt is on the road watching some of the top high school and college games in the region. To keep up with all of the latest recruiting news in the south, be sure to follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborneSP. You can email him at matt@southernpigskin.com.