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Boston College Football Preview: Q&A With NC State’s Backing The Pack

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North Carolina State Vs Boston College At Alumni Stadium Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The college football season may be in flux but as of right now BC will still be playing the NC State Wolf-pack on November 7th, 2020. Alec Lower, a contributor to Backing The Pack, gave us an insight into what type team the Eagles’ will face when they travel to Carter-Finley Stadium.

1. Do you feel the team is looking stronger, weaker, or about the same as last year’s squad?

The team is looking stronger. It’s almost impossible for State to be worse than it was last year. It had so many injuries last year that is was starting players that were never intended to even see snaps. State gets a ton of those injured players back in addition to just most of the team returning (one starter gone on offense). It also makes an objective upgrade at offensive coordinator, so it’s hard to see the Pack not being measurably better than the 2019 debacle.

2. What is the Wolfpacks strongest unit?

Truthfully, it’s probably tight end, but that’s a boring answer, so I’ll say either running back or linebacker. State really is very talented and deep at linebacker. It’ll be fun to see how good those guys can be. Running back is a little more youthful, but it goes three deep with some really talented guys, all of which have different styles for some nice change of pace. The Pack should be able to mount a pretty good rushing attack this year if all the backs and linemen stay healthy.

3. What is the Wolfpacks weakest unit?

Unfortunately, this could still be at quarterback, but it also could the secondary. There are new coaches at both positions, so it’s hard to say for sure what kind of progress will be made at each, but quarterback play was obviously poor last year, and the secondary has been a weak spot on the defense for a long time. State also lost its best cornerback to the transfer portal, so there are certainly question marks back there. Devin Leary also has a lot of growing to do at quarterback. He has some pretty obvious arm talent (BC fans might remember him vastly outplaying the guy he replaced during last year’s game in Chestnut Hill), so there’s reason for optimism, but how far he can come in one year with limited offseason practice is a fair question.

4. How do you believe that NC State stacks up against the rest of the ACC?

State’s a bit of wild card. Obviously, it’s not going to compete with Clemson for the division or anything like that, but where it stacks up with the rest is kind of up in the air. It’s a young but talented football team with a rebuilt coaching staff, and you never for sure how that’s going to go. I do think State will win more than one conference game this year.

5. What aspect of BC’s team do you believe will test the Wolfpacks the most? And for what reason?

David Bailey. He is a huge dude who plays running back for Boston College, so he scares the crap out of me by default. Also he had like 80,000 yards against the Wolfpack last year.

6. Who is a player that BC fans should particularly look out for? Or a player who is set up for a breakout season?

Zonovan Knight. Knight is a sophomore running back that averaged 5.5 YPC last season as a true freshman. His very first carry of his career was a touchdown. He wasn’t entirely healthy last year, and neither was the run blocking crew, but assuming everyone is this year, Knight should make some noise. Nobody really cared last year because State was awful, but he had a pretty decent freshman season, and if State gets back to being competitive this year, you’ll start to hear about Zonovan Knight.

7. Do you feel confident in the NC State QB going into this uncertain 2020 season?

Not really. I’m optimistic because Devin Leary is obviously talented. I think he can be a really good quarterback, but I don’t know that I can be confident in that happening this year. He struggled last year, as any freshman thrown into that disaster would. It will be better than it was last year, but there’s still a lot of development left to do, and the lack of spring practice is not helping.

8. How do you feel NC State will handle the adversity that is sure to come with this upcoming season?

As I mentioned above, State has a rebuilt coaching staff. The timing of all the missed practices really couldn’t have been worse as coaches try to learn their personnel and install new systems. Because of that, I think there’s a chance the weirdness of this situation will affect State worse that it will a lot of other teams.