Running Wild

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State has had a lot of success this season with running the football out of the "Wildcat" formation, and they do so with multiple different options to line up at quarterback.

When Dave Doeren arrived at NC State most believed that the quarterback running with the football would be a critical element to the offense because Northern Illinois did so with a lot of success in Doeren's two years at the MAC school.

Doeren admits that he wants to have a rushing element from that position, but he doesn't want to do it with starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

"We want to have [the Wildcat] package this year because Jacoby is not a guy we want to run all the time," said Doeren. "That part of our offense, the quarterback run game, is important to me. So it's kind of replaced the stuff you'd have seen do with Lynch at NIU, we replaced it with the Wildcat."

The "Wildcat" is a simple formation where a non-quarterback, normally a running back, takes a direct snap from center. He can either run, hand the ball off to a player in motion, or pass.

NC State has mixed it in at various times during the first four games, and initially the usage was simple with senior Tony Creecy lining up at quarterback.

"How much we use it, it's just kind of evolving," said Doeren. "When we started, Creecy was the only guy back there."

However, in recent games the Pack has started to use Shadrach Thornton and Matt Dayes more and more in the formation, and Doeren hinted that others could also be involved.

"Now all three guys can do it," he said. "There's even receivers that can do it. "[The defense] can't say 'Hey, when 26 is in look Wildcat.' All of three of them can do it. Our receivers, we have two guys that were high school Wildcat guys that play receiver so we can do that with multiple people."

That versatility and additional options is what will make it so hard to defend.

"It's kind of taken on a deal," said Doeren. "It's like any offensive play, once you have success with it you want to have plays that come off that look so you're not predictable. It's going to continue to grow as long as it's successful. I know the guys like it."

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett doesn't leave the field during the play, as he often lines up at wide receiver. Could he maybe catch a pass at some point?

"It's been working great for us," said Brissett. "Just getting it on film with teams having to prepare for that... three different quarterbacks at Wildcat, it's hard to gameplan for that.

"You don't know what plays we have for each person or how each person plays that role. I have to talk to coach Canada to get me more respect out there... throw it out to me."

Expect NC State to continue using the Wildcat formation as the season progresses.

"I'm happy with it," Doeren said. "I think it's one of the sky is the limit type of packages. Coach [Matt] Canada is a creative guy and I think he's really good at formatting people, using motions and tight-end movement to pull people certain ways.

"I like that package and I think we can still do some more things. There are a lot of plays people haven't seen out of it, and I'm excited where that will go."

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