NC State Offense vs. Richmond Defense
BUILD ON LAST WEEK
When it comes to running the football, NC State has been inconsistent at best over the last several years. The Wolfpack unveiled a new look in the run game a week ago and you have to credit the coaches for coming up with different looks and formations to manufacture yards in the run game.
Expect more of the same this week as State will likely continue with one back sets, Pistol formations, jet sweeps and the Wildcat. The only negative will be that Richmond will have game film to evaluate so they will not be caught off guard. The Pack will likely add some new wrinkles in the run game and there should be a talent and depth advantage for State- particularly as the game wears on.
Like last week, State has to have success on first and second down and allow Pete Thomas to manage the game and not force him into a position where he has to bail the offense out of third and longs too often. Thomas wasn't flashy a week ago but he showed that he can manage the offense and can keep the chains moving when he was faced with manageable down and distance.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PLAYMAKERS
FCS programs are at a numbers disadvantage because they can only offer up to 63 full scholarship players. This means that State should have a number's advantage and one area they can try to exploit is at the skill positions.
The Pack has speed at the wide receiver position and a talented trio of running backs in the backfield. State should be able to get these players the ball out in space and force the Richmond defenders to make plays out in space. State doesn't necessarily have to go deep down the field. The Pack should be able to utilize swing and screen passes that will spread the Spider defense across the field and give the Wolfpack skill guys an opportunity to turn short plays into potential explosion plays.
JUMP OUT EARLY AND LIMIT MISTAKES
Richmond will not be intimidated by NC State. They've played their share of FBS programs over the years and the Spiders have owned Duke. Since 2006 Richmond has beaten the Blue Devils three times. State isn't Duke but the Pack can't afford to take the Spiders lightly.
Defensively, Richmond has a veteran squad. The Spiders starting 11 is completely comprised of juniors and seniors. They have good size, averaging roughly 270 pounds across their front four and 227 pounds in the linebacker corps.
Richmond won't give NC State a thing so the Pack has to continue to play sound, error free football like they did a week ago. State's focus, demeanor and attention to detail a week ago was impressive- particularly for a first game.
The Pack has to continue to avoid pre-snap penalties and turnovers. Richmond made a living last year winning the turnover battle and actually lead the FCS ranks in that category. The Spiders snagged 23 interceptions on the year so that's something Pete Thomas has to be aware of.