This Saturday, the Seminoles will welcome in the 3-3 N.C. State Wolfpack into Doak Campbell Stadium. I don’t think any Florida State fan needs to be reminded of what this game actually means, given what happened last year down in Raleigh.
But, just as Florida State is a different team this season, so are the Wolfpack. They’re operating under first-year head coach Dave Doeren and are trying to integrate his fast-paced, spread offensive system into the fold. In week 1, they had a minor setback in that integration when Arkansas transfer QB Brandon Mitchell suffered a broken foot. They’ve been operating under Pete Thomas since, who has managed to get the ‘Pack to those three victories.
With the pressure that the Florida State defense brought on Tajh Boyd last week in Death Valley, it’ll be interesting to see how much the nerves of his return will play into Mitchell’s overall performance. There weren’t many arguments that he was the right choice to run this offense, although we haven’t had much to evaluate due to the injury.
In Mitchell’s absence, the passing game has struggled under Thomas. Overall, NC State is ranked 51st in passing at 250.2 yards per game. It’s not terrible, given the circumstances, but a little more effectiveness in the passing game could have meant the difference between them having three wins, as they do right now, or five.
But, then again, running the ball hasn’t been a strong suit neither. Freshman Matt Dayes is the leading rusher on this team right now with just 188 yards and four touchdowns. Next up on the list is Pete Thomas with 184 yards and two scores, which isn’t a good indication of progression.
Bottom line is that it’s going to take Doeren some time to get all the pieces he needs to make this offense work. This year, those pieces just aren’t there, plain and simple.
Saturday, the Florida State defense should have no trouble exploiting every bit of that.