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North Carolina State Focusing on Dominating the ACC

Wolfpack Football
© Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina State is back on the gridiron and although spring practices have just begun, the Wolfpack have showed signs of improving upon last year’s stellar season.

The Wolfpack finished 2023 with a 9-3 record overall and went 6-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference, leaving them a game short of an ACC championship game bid. Over the past few seasons, the Wolfpack have been in the hunt atop the conference finishing fourth or better every year since 2020. Now they have the scent of No. 1 in their nostrils and have added 32 new players to the pack. The Wolfpack have their upcoming opponents in sight with a singular vision: ACC domination.


Coaching Consistency

Leading the Wolfpack is one of the most experienced staffs in the nation with an average of 30 years of coaching experience amongst them. Returning every coach from the 2023 campaign will give the Wolfpack one of the most elusive things to find in college football, consistency. Staff around the country have to make changes yearly as coaches take other opportunities and career advances. The coaching carousel skipped NC State this year as coach Dave Doeren and crew decided to “run it back." No new offensive terminology and schemes to learn. No new blitz packages or fire zones. Just repetition, every coaching staff’s dream scenario.

Wolfpack Output

Last season the offense was electric at times but struggled to find consistency, especially in the passing game. Only averaging 24 points per game saw the Wolfpack scoring less than three ACC opponents with worse records (Duke, Clemson and Miami). Insert Coastal Carolina transfer quarterback Grayson McCall. The senior decision-maker is expected to make an immediate impact in the locker room and on the scoreboard. McCall will have plenty of targets to choose from as the wide receiver room welcomes eight new student-athletes. The most anticipated is Noah Rogers. The North Carolina native returns home from the Buckeye State by way of the transfer portal. The sure-handed "Houdini" is a headache for single defenders and can outjump many taller defenders with great ball-timing and leaping abilities. The Wolfpack expects this duo to be a formidable foe to secondaries and to be the dynamics for a high-scoring offense in 2024.

Dangerous Defense

Defense is the heart of this team and a major reason the Wolfpack is projected to rank in the top 20 in 2024 by ESPN. The Wolfpack’s 2024 additions have added fuel to the defensive fire. Filling the big shoes left by Butkus Award and Chuck Bednarik Award winner Payton Wilson is no easy task. Sophomore safety Sean Brown is moving to linebacker to fill those shoes. The hard-hitting safety will make a great fit with the speed to cover from sideline to sideline and a natural draw to the ball carrier. Brown was at the line of scrimmage so quickly it often seemed as if he had come from the linebackers’ depth.

Auburn transfer safety Donovan Kaufman is expected to add experience to the Wolfpack’s defense. The senior will add stability to the position. Rounding out the secondary is cornerback Devon Marshall who transferred in from Villanova. The defense finished last season ranked in the top 40 overall and was a top 10 team in tackles for loss. The Wolfpack defense is poised to improve on all their numbers from 2023 and continue to present a problem for opposing offenses.  

Wolfpack Football
© Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Wolfpack Takeover

Doeren and the Wolfpack have been staking their territory in the ACC since 2013, especially in their home state. The Wolfpack lead the head-to-head series with Wake Forest 69-42-6. They have won 15 of their last 18 games against Duke and have won the last six of eight games against the University of North Carolina.

The Wolfpack have claimed territory from Chapel Hill to the Piedmont and now are in prime position to hoist an ACC title. Something that they have not done since 1987.

Ever since then, one could say there has only been one pack and one goal, to win the ACC.


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