Through five games, NC State has had a hard time coming by big plays through the vertical passing game. Before the Louisville game, this wasn’t a huge concern as the Pack appeared to be content playing “vanilla” offense, and racking up huge numbers on the ground.
That all changed Saturday. Louisville is a fast athletic team who gambles and will sell out to stop the run, and dare you to challenge their secondary. Whether it was due to poor throws, poor protection, or poor play calling, the NC State offense just wasn’t up to that challenge.
This was probably the first game all season in which NC State took multiple shots deep downfield, but for a variety of reasons, nothing came from it.
1. The O-Line couldn’t give enough time.
There were multiple instances where Rankins, or one of Louisville’s blitzing Linebackers came free through the middle, and got to QB Jacoby Brissett just as he had completed his drop. Brissett throws only an average long ball already, so adding any degree of difficulty only exacerbates the problem.
2. Brissett Was Not Accurate
Its hard to criticize Jacoby. By all accounts he is a fantastic leader, and for the most part he has been a rock for the team, but during the 4th quarter he looked shaky. Every throw seemed to be one hopped to the receiver. There were multiple times where WR Nyheim Hines got a step on his man, only to be under or overthrown. It isn’t really time to be too concerned about this yet, but if this trend continues into next week, it might be.
3. Check Downs need to be check downs.
Matt Dayes and Jaylen Samuels are fantastic weapons, I get it, I really do. I would even acknowledge that they need to get more touches in a game. But when a passing play is dialed up, it seems as if Brissett only gives the wideouts a brief check before checking down to the flats. Primary routes are named that for a reason. On one play Maurice Trowell had about 10 yards of separation, and would have scored an easy TD had he gotten the ball. Brissett chose to instead pass the ball to Jaylen Samuels. The play resulted in a big gain, but the drive didn’t result in points.
Where does it go from here?
If NC State wants to be a high scoring team, it is going to have to mix in some long passes. While they may have been able to manhandle inferior teams with the run, they just can’t do that versus ACC competition. Simply put, the line needs to give a little more time, Brissett needs to be a little more accurate, and our wideouts need a few more chances.
NC State Locks In an Official Visit with Notre Dame Transfer Center Zeke Correll
NC State is in need of a starting Center (I did confirm with NC State Center Dylan McMahon himself that he is heading to the NFL), and the Wolfpack coaching staff has prioritized Notre Dame Transfer Zeke Correll (6’3″/306). I confirmed with a source that Correll will be on an Official Visit to NC State next weekend.
Correll is a Graduate Transfer, with one year of eligibility remaining. He is a multi-year starter for the Irish, starting in 30 of the 41 games he played in. Out of high school, he was a consensus 4-star prospect, with 247Sports ranking him as the #81 overall player nationally in the 2019 recruiting class.
247Sports ranks Correll as the #3 overall Interior Offensive Lineman in the Portal, and ON3 ranks him 6th. Correll’s strength lies in pass protection, recording a grade of 78.0 according to ProFootballFocus, which was 2nd on the team. His run blocking grade on the other hand was 57.5.
Adding a multi-year starter from the Notre Dame Offensive Line would be a win.
It Looks Like NC State Center Dylan McMahon Will Not be Returning in ‘24
NC State redshirt Junior Center Dylan McMahon was honored on Senior night, but walking on Senior Night doesn’t guarantee that the player won’t return for another season if they are eligible. It has been unknown at this point if McMahon would return for a final season in Raleigh, or enter the 2024 NFL Draft.
It looks like McMahon will be heading to the NFL, after accepting the invitation to play in the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl.
McMahon is a 4-year starter at NC State, starting in 43 of the 48 games he has played in. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranks McMahon as the #9 Center in the 2024 NFL Draft.
McMahon was a 3-star prospect in NC State’s 2019 recruiting class out of Savannah, Georgia.
Breaking Down NC State’s Assistant Coach Salaries
USAToday runs a report every year on the salaries of Head Football Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Strength Coaches. Here’s a look at the salaries of NC State’s Assistant Coaching staff.
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers – Tony Gibson – $1.3 million
Offensive Coordinator/Inside Wide Receivers/Tight Ends – Robert Anae – $899,000
Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator – $548,473
Offensive Line – Garrett Tujague – $520,000
Defensive Line Charley Wiles – $490,023
Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers – $482,966
Safeties – Joe Deforest – $430,459
Quarterbacks – Kurt Roper – $430,459
Cornerbacks – Brian Mitchell – $417,205
Nickels – Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay – $330,644
NC State ranks 4th in the ACC in total pay of Assistant Coaches. Tony Gibson is the 2nd highest paid assistant Coach in the ACC (28th overall), and the highest paid Defensive Coordinator. Robert Anae is the 4th highest paid Offensive Coordinator in the ACC, and the 7th highest paid Assistant.
With 9 wins, in accordance with Head Coach Dave Doeren’s contract, the salary pool for Assistant Coaches increases by $300,000. If the Pack wins a 10th game, that number becomes $400,000. (WRAL)
NC State Wants Pop Tarts
NC State wants Pop Tarts. Who doesn’t?
According to Brad Crawford of 247Sports, NC State has requested the Pop Tarts Bowl, which will be played on December 28th in Orlando, Florida.
You might be like, I’ve never heard of the Pop-Tarts bowl. That’s because this is the first rendition of the Pop Tarts Bowl, but it used to go by other names you might be familiar with: Cheez-It, Camping World, Russell Athletic, Champs Sports, Tangerine, Micron PC, Carquest, and Blockbuster (the last three were when the bowl was in Miami).
Below is an updated list of 15 bowl projections, with 12 of the 15 picking NC State to go to the Pop-Tarts Bowl.
(The three above the line have changed their projections since my last bowl projections post on 11/28.)
The Athletic – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
CBS Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Oklahoma State – January 1st – Tampa, FLA
College Football News – Pop Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State – December 29th – Jacksonville, FLA
OddShark – Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl – NC State vs. Rutgers – December 28th – New York City, New York
Covers.com – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
USA Today – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
247Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Athlon – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
ESPN – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
ESPN – Gator Bowl – NC State vs. Tennessee – December 29th – Jacksonville, FLA
Sporting News – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Fox Sports – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Oklahoma State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
Action Network – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA
College Football Network – Sun Bowl – NC State vs. USC – December 29th, El Paso, TX
Betting Pros – Pop-Tarts Bowl – NC State vs. Kansas State – December 28th – Orlando, FLA