2019 NC State Football Season Preview
The Wolf Pack lost a lot of talent from their 2018 squad, but Dave Doeren has recruited well and the team should not see that much of a drop-off in 2019.
2018 Record: 9-4 overall, 5-3 in ACC
Head Coach: Dave Doeren, 7th year: 43-34
Gone are quarterback Ryan Finley, wide receivers Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers, along with elite offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury–and that’s just on offense.
It appears sophomore Matt McKay took a firm hold on replacing Finley in Spring ball and while he lacks the experience and grasp of the offense–he is talented enough to get the job done.
Emeka Emezie leads a promising group of receivers, but the goal for NC State should be to find more balance in their offensive attack.
Ricky Person Jr. is the main dog after rushing for over 400 yards as a freshman and Trent Pennix is next in line although he and those behind him lack any real in-game experience. That being said, for a team that averaged over 300 yards through the air last season and no real rushing attack–this group will need to step up.
Garrett Bradbury was a star center for a front five that has to replace three starters. The pass protection was special last season and despite the losses, it should not take that far of a step back this year.
NC State has become a revolving door for defensive lineman heading to the pros and despite losing names like Bradley Chubb, BJ Hill, and others over the last couple of years–they should have enough talent this year to hold up. Remember the name James Smith-Williams, who is a solid pass rusher and can really put his name on the map with a solid season of production.
The d-line is crucial to do their job in the 4-2-5 alignment the team runs. Isaiah Moore is the Pack’s best linebacker and will need to work aggressively to get to the ball carrier.
The secondary struggled last year despite being very good on third down–and most of the parts will be back, so hopefully 2019 will be more successful than 2018.
NC State has relied on the passing attack under head man Dave Doeren, but last year was the first time the program finished with fewer than 2,000 yards on the ground since 2013. Even worse, the Pack averaged under four yards per carry for the first time in five seasons, too. Ricky Person needs to be the main man for the offense to succeed–the question is, will he?
In a difficult conference, it’s hard to predict this team reaching the nine-win mark again–there is no chance they dethrone Clemson for the Atlantic title, but this is a bowl team.