RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State will need a while longer to find a quarterback to run its new offense.
There are three players vying to lead the Wolfpack's attack — though one is limited by injury — as the team pushes into the second week of training camp. Coach Dave Doeren said Sunday that new offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz is installing more pieces of that scheme ahead of the first game-situation scrimmage next weekend, which could go a long way in sorting out who will start Sept. 1 against William & Mary.
"This will be a critical week for that," Doeren said during the team's media day. "We haven't had a full gamelike scrimmage. But this week, we install the 2-minute (drill) . and we'll do the 2-minute drill three or four times this week. And that's a big aspect of what that guy has to be able to do."
The Wolfpack went through spring with redshirt sophomore Jalan McClendon battling with redshirt freshman Jakobi Meyers in the faster-tempo scheme Drinkwitz brought with him from Boise State. But the team in May added graduate transfer Ryan Finley, who had played under Drinkwitz with the Broncos, to make it a three-man race in training camp.
The wrinkle, though, is that Meyers has been limited by a sprained ankle suffered late in the summer. That's left the early focus on McClendon and Finley, with Doeren saying the team needs to get Meyers healthy enough to "where he can run around and jump into the competition."
McClendon saw some relief duty behind two-year starter Jacoby Brissett last year in former coordinator Matt Canada's offense. Doeren made a change after the Wolfpack didn't take a step forward offensively, most notably sputtering in winnable games that turned into midseason losses to Louisville and Virginia Tech.
"I think the biggest challenge is getting everyone set," McClendon said. "The quarterback knows where he wants to go and knows how the tempo needs to be. It's getting everybody else to have that mindset and that same tempo."
Finley played in three games last year, starting one, at Boise State before suffering a season-ending ankle injury against Idaho State. He had thrown for 485 yards and one touchdown with four interceptions in those games running Drinkwitz's offense.
"I think it's an advantage but I mean, college football's a lot of the same concepts," Finley said. "It's just different ways to do things. So I think those guys had a completely different offense but it was a lot of the same concepts, a lot of the same reads and a lot of the same general terminology."
N.C. State also announced this weekend that redshirt freshman receiver Brian Sessoms tore his Achilles tendon and would have surgery Monday. In addition, Doeren said true freshman receiver C.J. Riley will redshirt the season with a knee injury, further cutting into the depth at a position that won't have senior Jumichael Ramos this fall due to his own knee injury that required surgery.