This might be the most ambiguous evaluation I’ve had to make. On the front end, there’s the impact of prior quarantines/isolations on reviewing the game; based on NC State’s depth chart, it looks like they’re running out the same group against Tech, but there’s no way of knowing for sure until they take the field. On the back end, last year’s State film wasn’t much help—they have new schemes, new coaches, and a healthy roster. After chipping away at these guys for a while, this year’s film looks like our best shot for getting any specific understanding of what’s going on with these guys, so that’s where I’ll focus. This will be Coach Fuente’s first time facing a Dave Doeren-coached team since the Rose Bowl, when Doeren served as Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator. Let’s see what he’s up against.
This is Tim Beck’s first season as OC for the Wolfpack. I only knew him for getting demoted at Texas, though from watching his squad’s work against Wake Forest and some old UT and Ohio State games, he seems to be your standard collegiate OC when it comes to broad strokes of scheme and calls.
The Outside Zone was the workhorse play of the night for State. Here’s the first time we saw it, with the Pack in 2nd and long on their opening drive:
On the same drive, NC State went to it again; watch what happens to Ryan Smenda (#5), a pretty good linebacker for the Deacs:
It took a few quarters for Wake Forest to begin stopping the play, but even then the Outside Zone had breakouts. It also set things up for Inside Zone:
The second thing that jumped out at me was the misdirection and gadgetry they had. They had Bone formations for the shovel sweep, ran stalk-and-go plays, had the TEs regularly faking blocks before releasing on routes, and motioned the QB out of the backfield not just for direct snaps to the RB, but for pop passes, too: