Mitchell Making Strides

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren had some encouraging news today on senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell.

NC State head coach Dave Doeren had some encouraging news today on senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell.

The Wolfpack's starter has been out since the season opener with a broken foot, but he is now out of his walking boot and has been cleared to begin working out.

"I know a lot of people want to talk about Brandon," said Doeren. "He was cleared to start moving around without a boot on and it's going to be day-to-day... how fast he can progress. Yesterday was the first day that he's been in cleats, dropping back and throwing the football, and he looked really good doing it.

"But he hasn't run, he hasn't sprinted, he hasn't done the change of direction stuff required at quarterback. I haven't talked to the trainers yet [today], and we'll see where he's at tomorrow."

NC State faces Syracuse and then will have a week off before heading down to Tallahassee to battle Florida State. Doeren indicated that there are no plans to rush Mitchell back into action.

"Having him back helps our depth, but I'm not going to rush it either," he said. "Putting him out there too early is not in anyone's best interest. I think we have to make sure his health is where it needs to be.

"Part of it is the doctors saying he can do everything... every muscle in his foot was protected. Just getting the muscle tone back and doing all those things. It's going to be day-to-day and as soon as the docs say he's ready to play and Brandon looks like he has the rust off we'll get him back out there."

Mitchell's replacement, Pete Thomas, has completed 63.7% of his passes with four total touchdowns, seven interceptions, and 1,316 yards of total offense.

Doeren evaluated his play in the loss to Wake Forest.

"It's tough when Rashard goes down and your offensive line struggles in pass protection in that game," said Doeren. "He was running for his life a little bit there.

"He made a bad decision on the one wheel route that the threw up on third and four, that's a throw he can't make, but he made a lot of other good throws. Bra'Lon Cherry should have caught a ball that would have been a huge play in the game... it was a great throw with the blitz in his face. The one throw he threw to Q.P. was a nice play. He bought time."

Overall, Doeren seems pleased with the play of Thomas.

"I think he's playing really hard," he said. "To be honest with you, I think he's giving us everything he has. Is it as perfect as people would like it to be? Probably not, but when you go out there and you're missing seven starters in your offensive lineup at one point in the game.

"He's doing a lot without everything he has from an arsenal standpoint at times. I'm proud of his effort. I know Pete is excited about the reps he's getting and we have to protect him better. He can't get hit as much as he did last week."

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