Spring lookahead: N.C. State Wolfpack

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

2012 in review: Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said last fall’s group would be his best team in six seasons at N.C. State, 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). It was the same old story, which was a shame for QB Mike Glennon, who had a terrific season despite having no pro-caliber receivers to throw to. N.C. State’s vaunted secondary wasn’t so spectacular, either. So it came to 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 quarterback that Mike Glennon gave it the last two years, especially this past season. 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—freshman Manny Stocker, 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 when spring practice opens.

Watch out for: Senior cornerback Dontae Johnson isn’t exactly 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 corner, Johnson may get targeted more, so expect him to 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.