Through the first two games NC State's passing attack has not been near what it had hoped. Fifth-year senior quarterback Mike Glennon has completed 42 of 76 passes for 492 yards and two scores but also four interceptions.
Against Connecticut, Glennon was sacked six times and completed just 15 of 30 passes.
The weather was part of the problem Saturday, head coach Tom O'Brien, believed. He noted that all of the scoring was on the side of the field with the wind to the offense's backs. Going the other way, the two teams managed to cross midfield just three times, twice by State.
But O'Brien also stated that there is a three-pronged problem with the passing attack.
"It starts with the protection, it goes to the route running and being in the right spot at the right time, and it goes to him and decision making in what [Glennon] has to do," O'Brien said. "All three of those aspects have to get better if we are going to get better at throwing the football.
"Protection was blown, he's looking for a guy to run an in, the guy is running an out. He's got to get rid of the ball on some occasions because there are some you are in five-man protection, they are bringing six or seven, you can't block them all. You got to get rid of it. It's a combination of everything. It's something we have to solve and we have to make it work this week."
Redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Tyson Chandler is a good bet to be starting again at left tackle with junior Rob Crisp sidelined by an undisclosed injury.
Chandler had a tough job at Connecticut. In addition to trying to block Connecticut's pressure package, he had the one-on-one assignment with their star defensive end Trevardo Williams, whom O'Brien noted has drawn comparisons to NFL star Elvis Dumervil.
The combination of one change in the lineup already just two games into the year after shuffling the line to have three players starting in new positions has led to early continuity issues.
"The biggest thing on the offensive line is continuity and playing with the guy next to you," O'Brien noted. "We had the guys in the right spot, but now we start the second game with a new guy at left tackle which is a premier spot in what we have to do in protecting the quarterback.
"Is it a position of strength today? No, can it be? Yes, absolutely I think going forward if we can get guys back and in a groove and going where they should go. The [R.J.] Mattes move I still think was good inside. We just got to solve the left tackle position going forward."
Watch O'Brien's full press conference on the video module above.
- Redshirt sophomore running back Mustafa Greene is likely to get a second straight start at tailback. He has led State in rushing in each of the first two games and has 28 carries for 101 yards thus far this year.
Senior James Washington (14 carries for 32 yards, one touchdown) and redshirt sophomore Tony Creecy (16 carries for 62 yards, one touchdown) will continue to be in the mix however. O'Brien is still waiting for a tailback or two to separate themselves.
"I'm not going to play the rest of the year with three tailbacks," he said.
- O'Brien had no word on whether or not fifth-year senior safety Earl Wolff would play Saturday against South Alabama after he left the field with an injury at Connecticut. Wolff had an interception in the game before leaving.
"I was glad he intercepted that ball," O'Brien said. "He must have dropped 10 balls in preseason camp, and then one day last week he intercepted five and I asked him if he went to the hardware store and got new hands."
- Getting home after the Connecticut game proved to be eventful. The team had to circle around RDU waiting for weather to clear up and eventually landed at Piedmont Triad Airport in Greensboro, N.C.
As the team was coming down, they actually went in between two thunderclouds, and as O'Brien noted "took a little roller coaster ride."
- O'Brien is okay with playing South Alabama in back-to-back years and would much prefer a non-conference setup that way versus the nine-year gap between games with Connecticut.
"Back-to-back games help," he said. "We have some frame of reference evaluating personnel."