After sitting out last season per NCAA transfer rules, NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett is in his first spring as the Wolfpack's full-time starter. I caught up with him before spring practices began. Here are the highlights of our conversation:
Every time I’ve spoken with coach Dave Doeren, he’s had great things to say about you. How does it feel to have him already name you the starter?
Jacoby Brissett: It’s great, but my whole mindset is I want to make sure I solidify what everybody else says. Go make sure it was earned, not given. It’s great knowing you’re going to be the starter. It’s another step in the progression, I guess.
How difficult was last season for you?
JB: It was very difficult, just the fact of sitting out and not being able to practice with the team as far as practicing with the offense and being with the offensive side of the ball. Other than the fact you couldn’t play, it wasn’t that bad. I got a chance to work on my skills and try things out and see how I like different stuff as far as my mechanics and things. The main thing was I got to get to know the defense a lot better, gained a lot of respect from them, and also got to study a defense, how a defense prepares for a quarterback and things like that.
How much time did you spend preparing? What kinds of things have you done to prepare to be the starter, even though you haven’t been able to play?
JB: I was doing everything with the quarterbacks, watching the teams we’d play against, going through the install with Coach [Matt] Canada, sit through all the meetings. I would spend my whole time looking at film, looking at practice and just seeing how I’d get myself ready for the offense rather than trying to get ready for the defense at that time.
Do you feel your teammates have embraced you as the leader?
JB: Yes I do. I feel like people looked to me a lot throughout the season to get to know me better. I went to players on the team as well for insight. I was a resource for the team. Not to say I knew everything, but it was good for us to talk about something rather than not talk at all.
What about your trip to Tallahassee? Coach Doeren told me you drove down there by yourself for the FSU game. What was that trip like to you and why did you feel like you had to do that?
JB: That trip, it meant a lot to me to be there because I honestly thought we were going to win, and I wanted to be with the guys even though I couldn’t play. I just wanted to say we beat the No. 1 team in the country and I was on the field that day. I just felt like whenever it was my turn to play, I would go through great lengths to be there for them and had their backs, just to know I’m there for them regardless of the situation. I was with them till the end of the game. I felt it helped me grow as a leader, made me mature more.
Did you feel like that was the moment that kind of defined your role as a leader on the team? It seems like such a big statement to make and a big commitment. What was the reaction from it?
JB: I agree to a certain extent with what you’re saying as far as them seeing I was going to be that guy, that leader-type player, but I don’t feel like there was an exact moment because there was so much stuff throughout the season that we went through. I tried to help out.
There are already high expectations for you. What do you think you’re capable of?
JB: I honestly don’t know. I’m just looking to go out and compete every day. I enjoy the process of practicing, taking mistakes on film and getting better. My expectation is to always get better each week, just to be a great teammate and great asset for the team.
How much better do you think you guys can be as a group offensively?
JB: To be honest, I think we can be great. With the weapons around, and with another year in the offense, it gives us an opportunity to improve on where we are and expand on the foundation we already laid last year. It just gives the players who played more confidence than they had a year ago. In Year 1, not a lot of players trust the system, not a lot of players trust the coaches. Getting them to go from one thing to another is hard for anybody to do. It gives the players a lot of confidence, and we played a lot of young guys, too, so we can build off that.
How comfortable are you with the playbook? It’s one thing to run the scout team offense and another to line up against Florida State’s defense.
JB: I feel great. I got to spend a lot of time with Coach Canada last year, so the mental aspect is there as far as knowing where to go and what to do. It’s all about going out and doing it and making our profile picture collide with one another so I’m an extension of him on the field.