North Carolina State running back Matthew Dayes (21) stretches during the team's first NCAA college football practice of the season in Raleigh, N.C., Monday, Aug. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome
August 01, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren got his first look Monday at how well his players have learned a new offense after a summer of study.

The Wolfpack opened preseason practice with the question of who will start at quarterback at the helm of an attack installed by new offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz.

''Their grip of what we're doing on offense is obviously a lot better than it was in the spring,'' said Doeren, who is entering his fourth season.

Drinkwitz, who took over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach after the dismissal of Matt Canada, had spent the past two seasons at Boise State and formerly worked with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. With his arrival and the departure of two-year starter Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, the Wolfpack spent the spring installing a control-the-tempo attack and hammering home the basics of that scheme.

Monday marked the first opportunity for Drinkwitz and Doeren to see how much the players have learned from film study and individual work since the intrasquad scrimmage that wrapped up spring drills in April.

''Today there wasn't many alignment busts,'' Drinkwitz said. ''There's always stuff you've got to get cleaned up because of the speed of it, but I thought today was a lot better as far as alignments and execution and playing fast.''

The Wolfpack return key contributors on offense in do-everything threat Jaylen Samuels and running back Matt Dayes, but the biggest question will be who starts at QB. Redshirt sophomore Jalan McClendon, redshirt freshman Jakobi Meyers and Ryan Finley - a graduate transfer from Drinkwitz's previous stop at Boise State - are in the running.

It was Doeren's first in-person look at Finley, who he said had good touch and ''command of what he's doing.'' But he said there's no rush to name a starter before the Sept. 1 opener against William & Mary.

''I'm going to give it time,'' he said. ''I didn't make a decision in the spring for a reason. . We've got a lot of situations in 29 practices they're going to go through so we'll see how they handle it.''


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