ACC: T.Y. McGill

NC State season preview

August, 13, 2013
Today, we're looking at NC State, which changed coaches in spite of a third straight bowl appearance last year and is now entering a season of transition.

North Carolina State Wolfpack

Coach: Dave Doeren (first year at NC State, 23-4 overall)

2012 record: 7-6 (4-4 ACC)

Key losses: QB Mike Glennon, LG R.J. Mattes, WR Tobais Palmer, LB Rickey Dowdy, S Earl Wolff, CB David Amerson

Key returnees: WR Bryan Underwood, WR Quintin Payton, RB Tony Creecy, DT T.Y. McGill, DE Darryl Cato-Bishop, CB Dontae Johnson

Newcomer to watch: QB Pete Thomas. The redshirt junior sat out all of last season after transferring from Colorado State, but he may be the answer to NC State's gaping need at quarterback this year. A two-year starter before transferring, he threw for 18 touchdowns and completed better than 63 percent of his passes to establish his credentials, then outplayed Manny Stocker this spring to gain an edge on the starting job with the Wolfpack.

Biggest games in 2013: vs. Clemson, Sept. 19; at Florida State, Oct. 26; vs. North Carolina, Nov. 2

[+] EnlargeDave Doeren
Andrew Weber/USA Today SportsCan Dave Doeren lead NC State to a fourth straight bowl game despite losing numerous key members from the 2012 squad?
Biggest question mark heading into 2013: It would be easy enough to look at Miami's dismantling of NC State's secondary to the tune of an ACC record 566 passing yards and assume there was nowhere to go but up. But the truth is, in spite of its notable missteps last season, there was a ton of talent in the defensive backfield, and much of it has moved on for 2013. Gone are longtime stalwarts Amerson, Wolff and Brandan Bishop, meaning a massive overhaul is in store. Johnson is the lone returning regular from last season, and Hakim Jones and Jarvis Byrd will need to step up into bigger roles.

Forecast: The Wolfpack won 24 games in the past three seasons, but it wasn't enough to save Tom O'Brien's job. He was fired before a bowl loss to Vanderbilt, and Doeren, the former Northern Illinois coach, was brought in to right the ship. It's a tall order for the new coach.

It's a year of transition across the board for NC State. Not only has Doeren revamped the coaching staff, but the Wolfpack will be looking for a new starting quarterback after sending Glennon to the NFL. They also must replace four offensive linemen and overhaul a significant portion of the defense. That's a lot of transition, but there is room for optimism.

NC State returns ample talent at the skill positions on offense, including its two top rushers from last season in Creecy and Shadrach Thornton, who combined for nearly 1,200 yards rushing in 2012. Doeren has a strong track record of running the football with success, and after finishing 111th nationally in that department last season, there's plenty of room for improvement.

The secondary is a concern defensively, but NC State does return some serious talent on the line of scrimmage -- including all four starters from a year ago. McGill is a rising star, and Cato-Bishop and Art Norman should disrupt plenty of opposing quarterbacks. Whether it's enough to overcome the questionable defensive backfield, however, remains to be seen.

Of course, the swing vote on the season is likely to be Thomas. NC State's schedule is manageable and there are plenty of weapons on offense if Doeren can find a quarterback capable of exploiting them. It's a new era at NC State, but a fourth straight bowl game isn't out of the question.

Weak and strong: NC State

June, 24, 2013
We move on in our series looking at the weakest and strongest positions on each team in the ACC with NC State.

Strongest position: Defensive line

Considering the returning starters here, this position is the Wolfpack's most experienced headed into the season. And when you have a veteran line with the ability to get into the opponent's backfield, you can make up for weaknesses on other parts of the defense (we'll get there in a minute). The Wolfpack return T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal in the middle of the line, along with Darryl Cato-Bishop and Art Norman at defensive end. Cato-Bishop (6.5), Norman (5.5) and McGill (5) accounted for 17 of the team's 33 sacks a year ago. But Cato-Bishop and Norman are not quite locks to start opening day. Cato-Bishop was challenged this spring by rising talent Mike Rose, and that position remains open for competition headed into the fall. Forrest West is pushing Norman as well. Defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable does have some concerns over depth at end, but there is a veteran group returning that has proven it can hold its own up front.

Weakest position: Defensive back

There are a number of spots we could have chosen here, as the Wolfpack have major concerns at quarterback, receiver and the offensive line as well. But defensive back has the most questions of all because only one starter returns, and there are some depth concerns here as well. NC State has to replace starting cornerback David Amerson and starting safeties Earl Wolff and Brandan Bishop -- both Amerson and Wolff were selected in the NFL draft this past April. Though Amerson did not have the year everybody expected in 2012, he did start 35 games in his Wolfpack career. Juston Burris, slated to replace him, had a great spring but only has five career starts, all at nickel back. Dontae Johnson, the lone returning starter from a year ago, will be expected to provide leadership for the entire secondary. As for safety, Huxtable also has depth concerns here though coach Dave Doeren was encouraged by the way Jarvis Byrd performed this spring after knee injuries have had a major impact on his career. Sophomore Hakim Jones is ahead of Tim Buckley at the other safety spot. Both are sophomores. Of the eight players listed on the post-spring depth chart, Byrd and Johnson were the only seniors. The other six? Freshmen or sophomores.

More in this series here.

ACC announces Players of the Week

October, 22, 2012
Here are the ACC's Players of the Week for Week 8 as announced by the league offices in Greensboro, N.C.:

OFFENSIVE BACK – Sean Renfree, Duke, R-Senior, QB, 6-5, 225, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Renfree led Duke to a 33-30 win over North Carolina by completing 23 of 36 (.639) passes for 276 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The senior engineered a game-winning, 14-play, 87-yard drive that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder on 4th-and-2 with 13 seconds left in the game. On the drive, he completed 8-of-11 (.727) passes for 78 yards including the TD and converted three 3rd-down chances through the air as well as the 4th-down conversion for the touchdown. Renfree directed the Duke offense to 510 yards of total offense – the highest total of the David Cutcliffe era versus ACC competition – against a Tar Heel defense that entered the week ranked third in the ACC and 22nd nationally in total defense, allowing just 327.0 yards per game.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Perry Simmons, Duke, R-Junior, OT, 6-5, 300, Raleigh, N.C.

Simmons spearheaded Duke’s 33-30 win over North Carolina by playing all 91 offensive snaps and helping the Blue Devil offense compile 510 yards of total offense against a Tar Heel defense that entered the week ranking third in the ACC. Simmons was a key component of Duke’s offensive front that opened holes for a ground attack that amassed 234 yards – the highest output under David Cutcliffe at Duke. Simmons and the offensive line protected quarterback Sean Renfree, who completed 23 of 36 passes for 276 yards, and only allowed one quarterback sack to a North Carolina squad that entered the game tied for third in the conference in sacks per game (2.43).

RECEIVER – Bryan Underwood, NC State, R-Sophomore, WR, 5-11, 174, University Heights, Ohio

Underwood hauled in six receptions for 134 yards in the Wolfpack's 20-18 victory over Maryland in College Park. He played 57 snaps from scrimmage. The redshirt sophomore scored on a 68-yard strike from quarterback Mike Glennon in the third quarter, and had a 17-yard catch on the Pack's final offensive drive en route to the winning field goal. Underwood has scored a receiving touchdown in seven straight games - a Wolfpack record and just two games shy of the ACC record.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – T.Y. McGill, NC State, Sophomore, DT, 6-1, 298, Jesup, Ga.

McGill anchored the defensive front that tallied six sacks in the 20-18 win at Maryland. While in for just 32 snaps from scrimmage, he made eight total tackles (six solo) and had two sacks for a total of 16 yards.

LINEBACKER – Telvin Smith, Florida State, Junior, LB, 6-3, 215, Valdosta, Ga.

Smith registered a season-high eight tackles, including seven stops, and led Florida State with two tackles for loss in the Seminoles’ 33-20 win at Miami. He also forced a fumble that set up Florida State’s first points on the night after falling behind 10-0, and came up with two pass break-ups. The Seminole defense held Miami to a season-low 258 total yards and only 29 on the ground. Miami had minus-12 yards rushing in the second half against Florida State, whose defense leads the ACC and ranks in the top seven nationally in all five major statistical categories.

DEFENSIVE BACK – Jonathan Meeks, Clemson, Senior, S, 6-1, 210, Rock Hill, S.C.

Meeks had two interceptions, including one he returned 74 yards for a score in Clemson’s 38-17 win over Virginia Tech. He also had four tackles and a pass broken up for three total passes defended. The 74-yard return for a score was the longest interception return for a score by a Clemson player since 2006. Ahead 10-7 in the second period, with the Hokies driving, Meeks intercepted the pass at the Clemson 26 yard line and returned it 74 yards for the score to give Clemson a 17-7 lead. With the interception, Meeks jumped to fifth in Clemson history in total interception return yards with 192.

SPECIALIST – Niklas Sade, NC State, Sophomore, PK, 6-3, 200, Wake Forest, N.C.

Sade kicked the game-winning field goal with 32 seconds left on the clock at Maryland to give the Wolfpack a 20-18 lead. The sophomore also booted a 21-yarder earlier in the contest. Sade started out the season 2 for 5 on field goals and has since gone 5 for 5. He hit both extra points and kicked off five times against the Terrapins, averaging 60.6 yards and had one touchback.

ROOKIE – Jela Duncan, Duke, Freshman, RB, 5-10, 200, Charlotte, N.C.

Duncan helped Duke to a 33-30 win over North Carolina by totaling 118 all-purpose yards and scoring one touchdown. The rookie running back rushed 22 times for 74 yards, caught three passes for 12 yards, and returned two kickoffs for 32 yards. His 2-yard touchdown was his third rushing score in the last four games. On Duke’s game-winning, 14-play, 87-yard drive, Duncan converted a 3rd-and-6 from the North Carolina 19 yard line with a 6-yard reception. Duncan was a key component of Duke’s ground attack that amassed 234 yards against a Tar Heel defense that entered the game ranked third in the ACC and 14th nationally against the run, surrendering just 99.7 yards per contest.