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Q&A with Backing the Pack for Georgia Southern vs NCSU game.

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A short question and answer discussion about the North Carolina State Wolfpack prior to Saturday's opening game of the 2014 football season for both teams.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You can read the questions posed to me and my answers over on Backing The Pack HERE

1) How do you feel about NCSU this season?

About as well as anybody could following a winless run through conference play. NC State isn't going to suddenly challenge for the Atlantic Division title, but the Wolfpack is talented enough to get back to a bowl game. Besides, it's August! We all feel great about everything!

This year is more about the larger picture--this coaching staff needs obvious signs of progress. Progress they can sell to fans, and more importantly, progress they can sell to recruits. 

2) Who are NCSU's studs that Georgia Southern needs to worry about?

Wide receiver Bryan Underwood is probably NC State's most explosive playmaker, and he can do a variety of things within the offense. He's not a big kid, but his speed makes him dangerous. He has a knack for getting behind defenses, though this skill largely went wasted on State's quarterbacks in 2013. 

On the defensive side, I'm hoping the depth up front translates into a more disruptive defense. Defensive tackle T.Y. McGill and defensive end Art Norman are a couple experienced guys to watch. 


3) Do you think having a brand new head coach running a different scheme will affect how NCSU plans for GSU?

No, not really. The staff has been watching Sam Houston State film to prepare as best they can for the hybrid SHSU-GSU monster Willie Fritz could present. 

I'm sure they have a good idea of what to expect from GSU, though they probably have little clue what to expect from their defensive personnel. Execution needs to be exceptional to contain this sort of offense, and this is week one. Bad stuff's gonna happen. 


4) What unit/player matchups are you most confident and most worried about?

I like NC State's odds of controlling the line of scrimmage offensively. I think wide receiver is the team's deepest position, and I just don't see Southern's defense getting stops consistently. 

On the other hand, almost everything about Southern's offense frightens me. The experience the Eagles have up front should help them adjust more quickly to Fritz's changes, and State's run defense was not even in the neighborhood of respectable last season. 

5) What are some things Georgia Southern fans making the trip shouldn't miss about NCSU's gameday activities/atmosphere?

The stadium is off campus, so there is a lot of room for tailgating. Take the opportunity to do all the tailgating you can tailgate. It's a good idea to get there early--like several hours early--if you do not have a parking pass. General parking is limited and will be a hassle if you try to show up an hour before kickoff. 

No alcohol is allowed (ha!) or served in Carter-Finley, but fans can leave at halftime and be re-admitted. If you need a halftime beer break at your tailgate, you can take it without worry that you'll be restricted from getting back into the stadium. This might be State's finest policy/tradition.