North Carolina State has lost starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell for up to six weeks with a broken bone in his foot, and new Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said the injury is going to force his staff to be creative on offense.
Mitchell is a fifth-year senior transfer who graduated from Arkansas and was eligible immediately. He beat out Pete Thomas, a transfer from Colorado State who sat out last season. Mitchell is a dual-threat quarterback, and Thomas is strictly a dropback passer. Thomas' shortcomings as a runner mean the Wolfpack might use running backs and even receivers to back up Thomas during Mitchell's absence.
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Doeren told reporters that while he expects Thomas to handle most of the snaps at quarterback, "we're not going to lose the ability to run the quarterback. It just may not be a quarterback doing it all the time."
Doeren mentioned four players who could potentially see time as a "Wildcat" quarterback: wide receivers Travares Copeland and Rashard Smith (both were quarterbacks in high school) and running backs Tony Creecy and Shadrach Thornton. Creecy led the Wolfpack in rushing in the opener; Thornton, who was the Wolfpack's leading rusher last season, was suspended for the first game.
True freshmen Bryant Shirreffs and Josh Taylor are listed as the backups at quarterback for this week's game against FCS foe Richmond. Shirreffs was a lightly regarded dual-threat prospect out of high school, while Taylor is a walk-on.