A year ago, NC State quarterback Mike Glennon spent spring practice throwing in the shadow of Russell Wilson -- the Wolfpack signal-caller who opted for baseball over football drills, before eventually transferring to play his final season at Wisconsin.
But after passing for 3,054 yards and 31 touchdowns in 13 starts last season, there’s no doubt this team is now Glennon’s.
We caught up with the fifth-year senior on Monday:
How are things different now, for you, than they were during spring practice a year ago?
Mike Glennon: I think I just know now, understand now, how everything relates to game days. I can put myself more in the situation of what we’re doing in practice and how it relates to actually being in the game. Last year, it was more a speculation of what it would be like. Now, I have more of an idea of how everything will be once game day comes around.
How do you build on a season where you threw for more than 3,000 yards, plus 31 touchdowns?
Mike Glennon: I think the biggest thing is probably the win column. We expect to be, we want to be, ACC champions. And in order to do that, we have to improve a lot from last year. And that’s kind of the approach I’m taking: that we have a lot more work to do to accomplish those goals.
What’s the biggest strength of your offense, from what you’ve seen this spring?
Mike Glennon: Our veteran offensive line. We have four or five guys who are seniors [Zach Allen, Andrew Wallace, R.J. Mattes, Camden Wentz], and another guy [redshirt junior Duran Christophe] who has played a lot of football for us. And that’s really showed this spring; our offensive line has done a great job protecting the quarterback and opening up the running game. ... It’s really the quarterback’s best friend, the offensive line. Obviously, you don’t want to get hit too much. You know it’s going to happen, but if they can take that pressure off of you, it makes throwing that much easier, and it really helps our running game and our passing game. It all works hand-in-hand, and they’re the core of our offensive group.
You lost a couple of starting receivers [including T.J. Graham]. Who in that group has impressed you?
Mike Glennon: We know the guy that came back from last year, Tobais Palmer, we knew he was going to be good. He looks good. And the two guys who have played a little, but not a ton, who have done a really good job this spring are Quintin Payton and Bryan Underwood.
What, or who, has been the biggest surprise to you during spring practice?
Mike Glennon: I would still go with [cornerback] David Amerson. It’s been long time since I’ve thrown against him, and I threw against him a little bit in practice, and I was curious to see if I could go against him after the year he had [13 interceptions in 2011]. And he’s showed he has not dropped off at all. It’s great practice for me to go against such a talented player. … At times, you think you threw the perfect ball, and the reality is that you pretty much did. But he still breaks it up.
What do you want to accomplish between now and the spring game?
Mike Glennon: Just to wrap things up on a great note. We still have more opportunities this week to get better as individuals and as an offense and team. And we want to have a better team next week than we were this week.
Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.