Spring lookahead: N.C. State Wolfpack

What is on the spring practice checklist for N.C. State and new coach Dave Doeren?

2012 record: 7-6 overall, 4-4 ACC
Spring practice opened: March 19
Spring game date: April 20

2012 in review: Then-North Carolina State coach Tom O’Brien said last fall’s group would be his best team in six seasons, but it wasn’t. It was another underachieving group that won a game it shouldn’t have (over Florida State) and lost a couple it shouldn’t have ( Tennessee and Virginia) and the Wolfpack's vaunted secondary wasn't so spectacular.

Same old same old, which was a shame for quarterback Mike Glennon, who had a terrific season despite having no pro-caliber receivers running routes.

With those struggles, it came as little surprise that O’Brien was fired after the season.

Biggest hole to fill: No matter what kind of offense new coach Dave Doeren runs, it’s highly unlikely the Wolfpack will get the caliber of play at QB that Glennon gave them the last two years.

Glennon completed 66 percent of his pass attempts for 4,031 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2012 and for his career as a two-year starter totaled 7,411 yards and 63 touchdowns.

Whether the new signal caller is already on campus – rising sophomore Manny Stocker or Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas – replacing Glennon is a significant task. Thomas, a two-year starter for the Rams, who passed for 4,269 yards and 18 scores, may have the edge this spring. 

Watch out for:
Senior cornerback Dontae Johnson isn’t going to come from out of nowhere this season.

He registered 70 tackles a year ago, including a sack, and broke up eight passes, deflected eight more, forced a fumble and had two quarterback hurries. But with Juston Burris on the other side of the field, Johnson may get picked on some and he should pick off some passes -- something he didn’t do a year ago -- and turn in a good enough season that the only concern in the secondary for the Wolfpack will be at safety.

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