Balance Is The Key

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren says that he has been pleased with the offensive balance the Wolfpack has had through two games.

NC State currently ranks No. 41 nationally in total offense, averaging 479.5 yards per game with 207.5 coming on the ground (No. 47) and 272 through the air (No. 51). The Wolfpack has made a concerted effort to maintain balance offensively, and that was particularly evident in the win over Old Dominion.

NC State finished the game with 46 points and 495 yards of total offense. The Pack had 253 yards passing and 242 yards rushing. State totaled 28 first downs and converted 6-of-10 3rd-down attempts.

Through two games, NC State has attempted 69 passes and has had 74 rushes.

"That's what I want," said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. "Everybody asks me when I got here are you going to run the quarterback the whole game, and that's not what I do. What we're going to try to do is whoever our best ball carriers are are going to carry it, and we want to be able to be 50/50 in our offense.

"If you pack it in, we want to be able to throw the ball on you, and if you spread it out we want to run the ball, and we want to use misdirection to run people out of gaps and play action to get some balls over your head. That's kind of our system, and we have a lot of different tempos."

A big reason for the offensive balance has been the play-calling of offensive coordinator Matt Canada, and Doeren says that is because Canada has more weapons to work with than he did in 2013.

"Last year we couldn't do everything we wanted to," said Doeren. "We had what we had and we tried to make the most of it, and unfortunately for everybody it didn't work very well.

"I think Coach Canada and his staff have more weapons. They have a quarterback that's doing what he's coached to do, and so far our offensive line has been healthy and played together. We've got to keep that part of it going."

Starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett has certainly been the catalyst. Brissett is completing 71% of his passes and is averaging 272 yards passing per game with five touchdowns and just one interception.

He is currently tied with Duke's Anthony Boone for the ACC lead in touchdown passes (5). Brissett is second in the league in completion percentage (71%) and yards per game (272), and first in quarterback rating.

"He stays in the zone," Doeren said of Brissett. "In the spring he was doing too much, but now he’s doing what he’s coached. He’s reading pre-snap coverage, distributing the football.

"Last week he didn’t put our defense in a bad situation, and he made some plays with his feet, which was great to see. He had a couple of 10+ yard runs on his own. If he can manage the game and be accurate like he’s been he’ll have a good season."

As expected, the goal each week will be to maintain balance and not put too much pressure on either the passing game or ground attack.

"That's the goal," said Doeren.

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