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October 23, 2013

Jacoby Brissett taking advantage of year off

NC State junior quarterback Jacoby Brissett is well versed on rivalry games against Florida State.

Brissett played against FSU twice during his two-year stint at Florida. He ended up transferring to NC State in mid-January, and is sitting out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Brissett will be relegated to watching NC State take on Florida State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla.

"At Florida, we won one and lost one but it's a unique place to play," Brissett said. "It will be fun. You just have to make sure you go in with a purpose and block out everything and execute your plan."

Florida and Florida State had its rivalry game end the regular season each year. The Gators improved to 11-1 last year with a 37-26 victory over the Seminoles in Tallahassee, but Brissett didn't log any action.

Brissett played as a freshman in the 2011 meeting. FSU won a defensive struggle 21-7 behind a pair of Devonta Freeman rushing touchdowns and Terrance Parks' pick-six interception return. Brissett and John Brantley were under center for the game, with Brissett going 4-of-13 passing for 27 yards, one touchdown pass and one interception in the loss. He also rushed five times for a loss of six yards.

Freeman remains FSU's starting tailback two years later, and Brissett is good friends with Seminoles' junior tight end Nick O'Leary. The grandson of famed golfer Jack Nicklaus was Brissett's teammate at Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Dwyer High.

"I know a couple of the FSU players, and my best friend is Nick," Brissett said. "I know a couple of their other players through Nick. I told [the NCSU defenders] just hit him low and he won't do anything else."

Brissett watched Florida State crush Clemson 51-14 on Saturday night and improved to 6-0 and ranked No. 3 in the country by The Associated Press.

"That was a good job on their part in executing the defensive plan and just playing a good tough game," Brissett said. "They are now playing a different team and different plan. We just have to execute our plan."

Ironically, Brissett could have ended up being the starting quarterback at Florida this season after starter Jeff Driskel went down with a season-ending injury for the 4-3 Gators. Sitting out has been tough, but Brissett is glad he made the move.

The former Rivals.com four-star recruit completed 41-of-74 passes for 455 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions in his two years in Gainesville, Fla.

"I wouldn't change anything and I'd do it all over again," said Brissett about his college path. "I just need to make the most of my opportunity and that is all I can do."

Brissett picked NC State over West Virginia during his second recruitment due in part to his relationship with Wolfpack first-year coach Dave Doeren.

Doeren met Brissett during his sophomore year at Dwyer High. Doeren recruited him hard for Wisconsin, but eventually got the head coaching job at Northern Illinois. When Brissett announced he was leaving Florida, NC State became the beneficiary of Doeren's previous recruiting relationship.

"He hasn't changed at all and is the same person," Brissett said. "He got a little smaller [in size], and then got back bigger a little bit. He is the same size, same person. He's a big reason, just our relationship, and I wanted to come here to play and change the culture."

Brissett has been able to get a good understanding from NCSU offensive coordinator Matt Canada on how the offense works. He'll get his chance to compete for the starting job this spring.

"Every time we get the chance, we just talk just to talk, and not even about football," Brissett said. "We'll tell jokes and stuff and we are just building a relationship."

Brissett was recruited hard by Miami and Florida eventually jumped in, where he signed.

"Early on in the process, but nothing major," said Brissett on being recruited by FSU.

Sitting out the season and playing on the scout team hasn't been easy for a competitor like Brissett, but he looks forward to playing teams like Florida State next year at Carter-Finley Stadium.

"I can't wait and I get chills just thinking about it," Brissett said. "I think about it all night and can't wait for my turn."

Brissett was able to get some extra work in the past two weeks thanks to NC State have a bye week following the Syracuse loss Oct. 12.

"I am just getting better and trying to help out the team whatever way I could," Brissett said. "I am getting the scout players going. When I see stuff, I just let everyone else know. If they ever need help, I'll help them out."

Brissett isn't sure what areas he has improved since transferring to NC State. He figures the games next year will tell a clear picture. Testing his abilities against the scout team is giving him a good idea of what he can and can't do at times.

"I try to see what I can do and what the arm can do," Brissett said.

Arkansas graduate transfer Brandon Mitchell returns from a foot injury suffered in the season opener against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31. Brissett jokes that he always knows he needs to keep Mitchell sharp, but that was because Mitchell was within ear host of the remark Tuesday.

"If he asks me something, I'll help him out, but I'm just a tool for resources," Brissett said.

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