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Q&A With Backing The Pack

Earlier this week me and Akula Wolf from SB Nations N.C. State site Backing the Pack exchanged a few emails about Thursdays impending contest. What follows is the result of all that hard work.

1 How has the transition from the Russell Wilson era to the Mike Glennon era gone? Is he capable of leading NC State to the kind of success that the Wilson era brought to the program.

Admittedly the schedule (overall) hasn't exactly been a challenge, but I think it's gone as well as could be anticipated, if not better. Mike Glennon has completed well over 60% of his attempts, has 8 TDs against 1 INT, and the offense is averaging about six yards per snap. Every week is a learning experience for Glennon, and he's had his problems here and there, but if we're making a list of this team's issues, he's nowhere near the top.

I think this offense can be more productive than the one a year ago, though that's not saying as much as you might think. I've been encouraged by Glennon's decision making but there's still plenty of uncertainty attached to the passing game. The schedule's about to start getting tougher.

2 After taking good care of the ball the first 2 games the Pack gave it up three times last weekend. Was that a one game aberration or a harbinger of coming turnover woe

With turnovers, you never know. It's not a thing that you can project week-to-week. Mike Glennon's judgment has been fine. The running backs have had trouble hanging onto the football, and that's something that I could see continuing throughout the year, at least as long as Mustafa Greene is sidelined. We are playing with running backs who are used to reserve or third down roles, which does not help.

3 NC State had terrible injury luck in the off season, and with the news Terrell Manning is out Thursday it keeps getting worse. how well do you think the backups have performed this season in emergency roles

In spots they've been fine. In general, the injuries have been too much for this defense to handle. We were terrible against Wake Forest and we've yet to dominate the line of scrimmage despite a pair of games against undersized I-AA teams. It doesn't portend good things. I'm trying not to think about it too much. We don't have the luxury of quality depth in the front seven, so we're not in a good place right now.

Manning's backup has been in the program a long time and has plenty of experience. But he is not a guy you want to carry the load as first stringer, and that's true at a lot of positions for us. I don't know what the heck we're gonna do on Thursday. Could be unpleasant.

4 Looking at the stats the offensive line has had their struggles this year ranking near the bottom nationally in sacks allowed and looking very average in terms of TFL allowed. What is the root of the issue.

Good question. It's taken a lot of time for Tom O'Brien and his staff to recruit and build depth at that position, but given his reputation from Boston College, we thought his staff would have a real impact there eventually. Now that we're in year five, I'm not sure what to make of the situation. I thought this would be the year we saw real progress, but so far it isn't working out that way. We have experience up front and some kids who were well regarded out of high school. I'm not sure why it's been so difficult for this staff to build a quality offensive line this time around, but I know it's been frustrating.

5 The secondary seems to get engulfed in a ball of flame and destruction almost every game. Is the secondary as bad as the raw yardage indicates or is this a bend but don't break group.

That's good imagery. I'd certainly enjoy watching this defense play much more if there were actual explosions involved, but short of a move to Mutant League Football that's not happening. The secondary has had its issues but I think the primary issue is up front where we've been unable to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Wake Forest's quarterback in particular had all day to throw the ball and the results where what you'd expect them to be under the circumstances. The secondary is not without talent--Earl Wolff is an outstanding safety--they just aren't getting a lot of support.