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August 27, 2013
Head coach Dave Doeren said Monday that by the end of practice Wednesday the two quarterbacks vying for a starting job — fifth-year senior Brandon Mitchell and redshirt junior Pete Thomas — could have an idea of what their respective roles will be Saturday in the opener against Louisiana Tech.
Mitchell insists that regardless, he will approach the situation in similar fashion. He thinks it's important for the offense to have two guys with similar leadership style, which he believes Thomas and himself do. He also remembered being a backup for two years at Arkansas.
"You never know when you are going to get in," Mitchell said. "You got to keep being ready at all times."
And if the staff should decide to play both Mitchell and Thomas, Mitchell said that he sees no reason why that could not work, noting that LSU won a national title in 2007 playing two signal callers.
Whatever decision Doeren and the offensive coaches may make, Mitchell is appreciative of having the opportunity. When he decided to transfer after graduating from Arkansas and took a visit to NC State, he was fully briefed on the situation in Raleigh.
"They told me they had a guy here that was No. 1 coming out of spring but they haven't named a starter," Mitchell recalled. "They were going to give both of us a full opportunity to try to win the job. When I met Pete on my visit, me and him talked about it. We were real comfortable about it."
From Mitchell's standpoint, his experience in Raleigh has exceeded his expectations.
"Coming in here I just wanted a fair chance to play," Mitchell said. "Coaches have more than given me that. They gave me all the tools I wanted and more."
If Mitchell does end up under center Saturday though, the Amite, La., native will face an opponent in Louisiana Tech that was just a four-hour drive from his hometown.
He thought he knew of about eight players on the Bulldogs' roster, although not terribly well. Mitchell was offered by Louisiana Tech as a sophomore in high school, but Mitchell's goal at that point was to play in the SEC.
He got the chance when he signed with Arkansas, but after spending last season as a reserve receiver, Mitchell decided he wanted one last opportunity to be a quarterback. One of the first schools to call was Louisiana Tech.
"My high school coach was once roommates with one of the coaches on the staff there," Mitchell noted. "We talked a little bit, and he was trying to get me to come there."
Mitchell was going to take a visit to Louisiana Tech. He was familiar with school since he had family go there. Often times when Mitchell would travel back and forth from Arkansas to Amite, he would pick up and then drop off some of those family members. UAB was another school on the list, but NC State got him on campus first, and he committed without taking another trip.
He does not find it ironic though State opens the year with the Bulldogs.
"I kind of knew the schedules when I was making my decision," Mitchell said.
What Mitchell does not know much about is what to expect from Louisiana Tech after the Bulldogs had a coaching change of their own.
"It's kind of hard to watch film on and try to figure out what they are trying to do," Mitchell said. "We're not really too sure. What we're doing is just focusing on us and trying to execute our offense on a high level and have them trying to worry about stopping us and not worry about what they are trying to do us."
And that's the approach Mitchell will take for the rest of the week, regardless of the outcome of the quarterback battle.
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