Learning Experience For Stocker

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Statistics weren't given from NC State's first spring scrimmage, and it sounds like the offense was up-and-down.

"We have a lot of things we can learn from," said sophomore quarterback Manny Stocker. "We just have to capitalize better on plays we know we can make. We just have to make more plays."

One of the problems, according to some players and head coach Dave Doeren, was penalties. That is something that the Wolfpack is hoping to clean up as soon as possible.

"The biggest thing I was disappointed in was just too many pre-snap things that we control, whether it was a procedure penalty or an illegal motion," said Doeren. "A guy jumping, a cadence thing, or defense jumping offsides. There were too many situations where we hurt our own team.

It's one thing, post-snap, if you have a guy fighting and you get a pass interference or holding penalty, you don't like those things but at least you know it's a straining penalty. The mental ones we have to get rid of... that's the biggest thing. The good thing is those are easily corrected. Next Saturday we hope we can take some of that off the film."

"Penalties... it's something we have to work on," added Stocker. "They were mental errors, and we just need to be focused on everything we have to do. We must come out here and eliminate the penalties in practice so there isn't a carryover to games."

A bright spot was the play of senior wideout Rashard Smith. The 5-foot-9 speedster seems to be an ideal fit for the Pack's spread offense that is predicated on getting the ball in a playmaker's hands as much as possible.

That is exactly what Smith is.

"He's a playmaker," said Doeren. "He's playing with confidence. When the ball is in the air he believes it's his ball. He'll fight for it.

"He plays bigger than he is. I love that about him. He's just a competitor."

"Rashard showed up," Stocker stated. "He showed that he's great with the ball in his hands. He made some good third-down plays and a couple of fourth-down plays. We were excited to see that out of him."

What has helped guys like Smith make more plays is the Pack's fast-paced offense. A no-huddle, spread attack that is intent on snapping the ball as quickly as possible, it could yield more big plays during the course of the game and also tire out an opposing defense.

"Last year we weren't lining up so fast," said Stocker. "Now we want to tire out the defense with the no-huddle. That's what we're trying to do.

"I mean overall, I think it's a big-play offense. We utilize a lot of players on the field. We can use the tight end, running back, receivers, and the quarterback. Anybody can score with it, and if the defense knows that they are on their heels even more. When they don't know who has the ball they can miss assignments and key tackles that turn into big plays."

Still, it all is a work-in-progress. The good news for the Wolfpack is they have several more practices, this spring and in the fall, before the season opener.

"We definitely have some work to do," said Stocker. "But, we're picking it up. We aren't as fast as we'd like, but we're definitely picking it up."

Pack Pride Top Stories