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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
NC State's many options

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Entering this season, there was a lot of attention given to what NC State coach Tom O’Brien didn’t have -- all four starters from the 2009 defensive line or any running backs with starting experience.

But O’Brien knew what he did have – a group of talented receivers deep enough to field their own entire offensive unit. With three --seniors, three juniors and one redshirt freshman, NC State’s receiving corps has proved to be one of the deepest and most productive groups in the ACC this year.

Sixteen different players have caught passes this season and six have double-digit reception totals. In four of the six games, passes have been caught by 10 or more different players, and 10 different players have at least one touchdown catch this season. Jarvis Williams leads the way with three.

“When the defense says who do we have to stop? They say the quarterback, No. 1, and No. 2, who’s he throwing it to? Well, when he’s throwing to 10 or 11 different guys, it’s kind of tough to single out one guy, here, there, or anywhere else,” said O’Brien.

Owen Spencer leads the team with 28 receptions, followed by Williams with 22 and tight end George Bryan with 17. They’re a big reason why NC State is currently leading the ACC with 37.5 points per game. The Wolfpack will face another high-flying offense on Saturday when it travels to East Carolina, which ranks second in Conference USA with 37.6 points per game. Both are among the top 15 scoring offenses in the country.

What has been most impressive about NC State’s receivers is the frequency with which they score. Williams has scored every 5.7 times he catches the ball -- the best in school history. Spencer is scoring every 7.8 times he catches the ball and is second on the team with eight plays over 20 yards.

It’s not just receivers, though, who are helping out quarterback Russell Wilson. Freshman running back Mustafa Greene has 17 catches for 161 yards.

“It’s an advantage for us because all of our players know they better be running the routes where they’re supposed to be, and be there when they’re supposed to be there, because they’re liable to get to the ball because he’s going to throw it to them," O'Brien said. "And it makes better for practice for us because everybody is engaged and knows that if they practice they get their opportunity to get on the field, somebody is going to throw them the football and they’re going to have a chance to make a play.”