Depth Chart Reload

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren quickly pointed out in his weekly press conference that his team is a battered group right now. However, that doesn't excuse their play in the loss to Wake Forest.

NC State head coach Dave Doeren quickly pointed out in his weekly press conference that his team is a battered group right now. However, that doesn't excuse their play in the loss to Wake Forest.

"We're never going to make excuses on winning and losing based on injury," he stated. "The next man in has to go in and play better. That's where we are at as a program. There are a lot of guys here that came here because they wanted to play and now they are playing. They have to play better.

"We're really thin at some spots now and asking a lot of young guys to play and play above their ages maybe, but that's okay. We're going to get better."

With that being said, the Wolfpack is without several major weapons, but it sounds like two of those guys will definitely return this week.

"The continuity is the biggest issue," said Doeren during his weekly teleconference. "You go from one week to the next and you don't have the same guy next to you. We're doing everything we can. Our guys will continue to work hard. We'll get a few guys back this week. After this game we'll have a bye week, and hopefully we'll get healthy down the stretch and be able to get back to form.

"I know gaining Matt Dayes and Valdes back this week is a nice spark for us. Copeland is progressing for us. He was out the first three games, and now he's playing in his second game."

Freshman wideout Marques Valdes-Scantling missed the Central Michigan and Wake Forest games with a hamstring injury and freshman tailback Matt Dayes didn't play against Wake Forest (sprained ankle).

Doeren added that senior left tackle Rob Crisp will sit out the Syracuse game, his fourth missed game after suffering an injury against Richmond. However, the status of the other injured players (Darryl Cato-Bishop, Jarvis Byrd, and Rashard Smith) remains up in the air. Byrd and Smith both were injured in the loss at Wake Forest, while Cato-Bishop has now missed multiple games.

"Some of the other guys that are injured, I'm not sure on yet," said Doeren. "But, once I get an injury report later in the week you guys will know.

"[Byrd and Smith] are both sore, but there hasn't been a clear 'he's out,' so I'm kind of waiting to see how they feel. We're hopeful. The one block on Byrd was pretty bad... it was a dangerous block, so hopefully he will be okay."

It is worth pointing out that senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell could return to action this week after being sidelined since the season opener with a broken foot.

"There is a chance," Doeren said today. "He was out in pads yesterday. He's throwing the ball well every day. He feels really good in the pocket. He's just getting more and more comfortable with the side-to-side and straight ahead movements that you have to do. "So we're day-to-day with him. I'm not going to put him out there until I feel like he's in a place of comfort and when he feels protected. So we've still got 72 hours until game time. But last week he was in a boot and this week he's in cleats.

"So there is progress. It's just how long will it take him to feel like he can be full speed? I think every day is a new day for him."

Mitchell's return would be ideal because it enables NC State to utilize their full playbook.

"He can do the entire thing," added Doeren. "Right now we feel like we're kind of a two-quarterback system to be able to run the ball at times with our QB, and not that he can't, because he's running the ball effectively.

"But we don't want to get him beat up. Once Brandon's in there, you have both where he can stretch the field. There is just one extra runner in the back field all the time that the defense has to be concerned about."

The situation is what it is for NC State, but the season doesn't stop because you're facing adversity.

"We didn't play well enough or coach well enough to beat Wake Forest," said Doeren. "They obviously did a nice job, and we didn't. We have to eat that sandwich and look in the mirror... get better.

"That's the way it works. That's why I love what I do. You get judged every Sunday when you play every Saturday."

Pack Pride Top Stories