Youth Movement

RALEIGH, N.C. -- There is a youth movement going on at NC State within the football program, as this year's team will be one of the youngest in school history.

As of now NC State is projected to have 51 freshmen, 26 sophomores, 15 juniors, and 16 seniors on the 2014 football roster, meaning 71% is made up of freshmen and sophomores.

"The [challenges] are obvious," said Dave Doeren on the eve of the Wolfpack's first spring practice. "The challenge is experience. You can't just plug that in... you can't, but at the same time, these guys are hearing everything for the first time.

"They are very eager. Being young, there are not a lot of bad habits. I know the excitement to play. College game experience, they will not have."

The current roster includes just 15 juniors and 16 seniors, the lowest number of upperclassmen (31) for the Wolfpack since the 1995 squad was made up of just 27.

"That's part of what happens when you rebuild programs," said Doeren. "Guys leave from graduation, guys transfer, and there are a lot of new guys coming in."

One of those new guys expected to impact is junior quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who sat out the 2013 season due to transfer rules.

"We're excited for Jacoby to be our starter at that position," said Doeren. "I think every good quarterback has to understand that they don't have to win the game on every play. Sometimes the next play is the most important. Just because we've named him the starter doesn't mean we've named him the Heisman winner. We've named him the starter, that' sit. He has a lot of stuff to do to prove what his production is going to be and all he needs to be is the best that he can be everyday for us.

"Last year at this time we had no idea who that guy would be and this year we do. I feel a lot of comfort in that. Our guys really look up to him. The leadership he brings at that position will help our football team. The production will come, and I know he's excited to be competing again."

Last year, there were 46 juniors and seniors on the spring roster. In the last 10 years, the average number of upperclassmen at NC State has been 45.7.

Because of the roster turnover, Doeren said that he can't even put together an accurate depth chart for spring ball.

"There is going to be a lot of competition at position groups. That's why I didn't release a two-deep. I just feel like it's a waste of time until we get some practices in. It could change daily."

Doeren did seem excited to potentially welcome back two seniors most may have believed had played their last games at NC State. He stated that senior left tackle Rob Crisp has been granted an extra year of eligibility and the school has applied for an extra year for safety Jarvis Byrd, who missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons with knee injuries.

"In the summer we will have Rob Crisp back with us," said Doeren. "We're excited about that. With Rob, we applied for his year to come back through the waiver process and that has been granted.

"We're going through the proper steps to have him back for summer school and conditioning. I'm excited for Rob's eligibility and to have him back with the football team this summer."

"We have applied for a sixth-year on Jarvis Byrd," added Doeren. "We're still waiting on results of that. You'll see Jarvis out there. He's still recovering from his third ACL. Jarvis is a great leader for us. We hope that we can get that back."

Losing players like Crisp and Byrd, two projected starters, obviously played a role in the Pack's 3-9 record. However, that hasn't impacted Doeren's optimism, who feels the fans are just as excited as he is.

"The fans are excited, and we had a tremendous recruiting class," said Doeren. "The fans knew in year one it would be tough, and I'm not promising anything. We're working as hard as we can to get better. We are a young team that has a lot of work to do, but I like the way our guys are acting, the way they are working, and our fans have been tremendous.

"The fans have been tremendous. They are fans, they want us to win and we're coaches, we want to win too. I look forward to that day when the product they want is on the field for them. I'm hoping it's sooner than later."

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