Mitchell: "We Want To Be Great"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Senior Brandon Mitchell believes the competition at quarterback will make all of them better players.

Senior Brandon Mitchell believes the competition at quarterback will make all of them better players.

"I'm ready for it," Mitchell said of the competition. "The biggest thing between me, Pete [Thomas], and Manny [Stocker] is we just have to focus on getting better. Whoever is the starting quarterback... we're always just one play away. I saw that last year [at Arkansas] and even the year before.

"You just always have to be ready and mentally focused. The best thing is just competing and build together, come together... let the coaches make that decision."

Early in camp the players are participating in shorts and shirts but this week the pads have been put on. Mitchell, a player who has the ability to make plays with his legs, says that he still hasn't been able to show everything he can do.

"It's hard as a quarterback to showcase everything you can do, especially when you can move around a little bit," he stated. "I've always been a passing quarterback. I wasn't able to move and be mobile until my senior year in high school.

That's something I worked on, trying to get faster and make plays... extend plays when it wasn't there. As a quarterback you can't really show it until the game starts. [In practice] you can argue back and forth about a sack, things like that. Until you can actually get tackled, it's hard to show what you can really do."

It's been a whirlwind couple of months for Mitchell. He enrolled at NC State late in the summer and quickly had to start learning the offense and developing chemistry with his teammates.

"There hasn't been a huge adjustment," he said. "The attitude around here is pretty much the same that we established at Arkansas, especially with my same strength coach being here with coach Veltkamp and coach Brad Stewart. They preach the grind and hard work. It's the same thing coach Dave preaches.

"When I signed I met a lot of guys on my visit, and we kept up... building that relationship from a far. Then when I got here it was a smooth transition, just hanging out with a lot of guys like Underwood, Rob Crisp, Winkles, and Shad... just getting to know a lot of guys."

Ironically, one of the players that has helped Mitchell with the transition is arguably his stiffest competition for the starting job: Wolfpack junior quarterback Pete Thomas.

"I've learned a lot from him," Mitchell said of Thomas. "He's taught me a lot of the code words and keys and things like that... little tips that our defense likes to do, what guys can do, what they can't do, where they like balls thrown. He's been very essential with me in this building stage."

The offense has been hard at work the first few practices, not only working on the system but also competing for starting jobs. While everyone wants to talk about the competition at quarterback, there are battles at wideout for playing time as well.

What are Mitchell's thoughts on that position group?
"I've been very impressed with them," he said. "They remind me of the class we had with Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Jarius Wright, and Cobi Hamilton... all of those guys were drafted in the top three rounds. They all can make plays.

"I'm even excited about the freshmen that came in. They came in and already kind of knew the playbook. I was really impressed by that. Everybody is trying to be a student of the game and learn... make each other better."

Mitchell knows this is it for him. He's a fifth-year senior and he wants to go out a winner. With a new coaching staff at NC State outside expectations might be low, but the players have a different mindset.

"We want to be great this year," said Mitchell. "We don't want to rebuild and have a down year. We want to go out there and win all our games. Everyday we're working towards that goal.

"We want to go into every game knowing we can win that game and play to the best of our abilities."

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