N.C. State's annual spring football game, which honors former women's basketball head coach Kay Yow, will get underway at 1:30 p.m. ET at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday afternoon. There is no cost to attend the game, but fans are asked to donate at least one dollar, with all proceeds going to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and Kay Yow Endowment. Yow died of cancer in January of 2009, and the spring game has served as a benefit for the foundation created in her honor ever since.
The Wolfpack's spring game will be available on ESPN3. It will also be broadcast locally on 99.9 FM.
The game itself will have a completely different flavor this year, as N.C. State is not only installing a new offensive system, it also has an uncertain quarterback situation for the first time in a half decade. Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon provided stability at that position in recent years, but now it is the program's most pressing issue. Pete Thomas, a transfer from Colorado State, was a multi-year starter for the Rams but may not be ideally suited to run head coach Dave Doeren's spread offense, which features plenty of read-option looks.
True sophomore Manny Stocker had his redshirt burned last season because of depth issues but never saw serious playing time; his mobility is a plus, though he is otherwise an unknown quantity. N.C. State's staff tried to bring in graduate transfer Drew Allen from Oklahoma, which implies that the production at the quarterback position this spring has been less than ideal.
Defensively, the linebackers and secondary will be the areas to watch. The Wolfpack must replace a ton of experience at defensive back, though it should be okay at corner with the return of Dontae Johnson and Juston Burris, both of whom possess ideal size and appear ready for larger roles. The safety spots are an entirely different story.
At linebacker, N.C. State gets D.J. Green back; Green showed promise in 2011 before being suspended for the entire 2012 season after testing positive for a banned substance. As was the case last season, the Wolfpack doesn't have much in the way of reliable linebackers, and that could prove a serious hindrance to the defense in 2013.
Doeren has the benefit of a forgiving schedule in his first season -- there are eight home games -- yet this is a program that still could struggle to reach bowl eligibility, depending on the performance of players at some of the positions mentioned above. Doeren was incredibly successful at Northern Illinois, albeit in a short stint as head coach. Saturday will offer one glimpse into how he is transferring his methods to a major-conference program.