Coach Tom O’Brien has never been in this situation before.
A college football team typically enters a preseason with two or three players, at most, competing for a starting quarterback position. N.C. State has five.
That would seem to be a good situation, until you try to figure out how to divide the repetitions during practice. After Thursday’s opening practice, it appeared that O’Brien will try to give all five – Daniel Evans, Russell Wilson, Harrison Beck, Justin Burke and Mike Glennon – a legitimate look during workouts.
“It’s not an ideal situation,” O’Brien said, “but it’s where we are. It’s more important to make the right decision than just make a decision.”
With such a logjam at the game’s most important position, O’Brien was peppered with questions about the quarterbacks by the media:
Q: How important is it for one of those guys to step forward?
A: “It would be really important. I think the quarterback is the leader of your offense. He’s the only guy other than your center who touches the ball every play. He needs to make decisions and do things with it. So the faster we can get to that point, the better off we’ll be. But I don’t know when that’s going to be."
Q: Is there a time, maybe 10 days before the game or eight days before the game, that you want a starter?
A: “No. We scrimmage about 10 days before the first game. So after that’s done, we’ll take some time and take a couple days. Whenever we’ve had this situation generally it’s been two guys, not five guys. We’ll figure it out and spend a couple days and mull it over.”
Q: Is there anything more grating than answering quarterback questions for an entire fall camp?
A: “No. But I’m not going to answer them every day.”
With five quarterbacks in camp, the separation might come so gradually that there won’t be news to report every day. But with so much attention on this unusual race, O’Brien might have to sneak away from reporters at the end of practice to avoid the questions.