North Carolina State shows signs of building depth
That’s something that should show through against non-Power 5 opponents, and it proved to be the case in the first game of the season.
The Wolfpack will aim to follow the 24-13 victory against James Madison when the team plays host to Georgia State on Saturday afternoon.
“Depth is critical in a lot of ways,” coach Dave Doeren said. “When you have players who can’t play, you don’t want to have a big drop-off at that position.”
N.C. State had a few players go out with injuries in the first game and veteran receiver Stephen Louis sat out with a leg injury.
But for the first game, the Wolfpack had enough in terms of backup power.
That’s something that Doeren sensed would be available.
“(The depth) creates competition in practice because those guys are competing for reps,” he said. “You can’t have a bad day if there’s a great player behind you taking reps. Those things matter, and we’ve definitely improved ourselves there in a lot of spots.”
It also comes in handy at this time of the season when some games are played in steamy conditions.
That paid off in the James Madison game because on a fourth-quarter drive that resulted in a touchdown to extend what had been a four-point lead, the Wolfpack used three different running backs for carries.
Still, Doeren will be looking for more from the rushing attack in upcoming games because the Wolfpack was limited to 83 yards on the ground.
Reggie Gallaspy Jr. accounted for 68 of those yards.
“I thought Reggie ran hard but I didn’t think our run game was as good as it will be in time,” Doeren said. “We’re missing some parts (up front) right now.”
Another area where depth might have mattered was with N.C. State’s goal-line defense. Twice, James Madison settled for 19-yard field goals when the Wolfpack stiffened.
“They found a way to stop them,” Doeren said of his defenders.
Georgia State opened the season with a 24-20 home victory against Kennesaw State, rallying to score the game’s final 10 points.
–WR Jakobi Meyers is coming off a career-best performance after making 14 catches for 161 yards in the opener vs. James Madison. The converted quarterback has turned into a key member of the receiving corps. The redshirt junior had nearly half of the team’s 29 catches in the first game.
–RB Reggie Gallaspy Jr. is expected to be the go-to guy in the rushing attack. While others were used at times during a final touchdown drive against James Madison, Gallaspy finished it off with a touchdown run. He had 17 of the team’s 29 carries, racking up 68 yards.
–LB Germaine Pratt made a team-high 12 tackles in the opener. He’s the only experienced linebacker on the team entering the season and he set a good example in the first game.
–The Wolfpack’s secondary avoided giving up big plays in the first game of the season, but James Madison passers completed 24 of 30 attempts. The challenge against Georgia State will be stopping WR Penny Hart, who led the Sun Belt Conference in 2017 with a school-record 74 receptions for 1,121 yards and eight touchdowns.