Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon. ETHAN HYMAN - firstname.lastname@example.org
DURHAM — Tom O'Brien lamented the loss of N.C. State's top receivers and all-star linebacker Nate Irving during the Triangle Pigskin Kickoff on Thursday in Durham. The Wolfpack coach also expressed his concerns about the special teams.
One name O'Brien did not mention in his comments during the annual luncheon was Russell Wilson, the two-time All-ACC quarterback who transferred to Wisconsin.
"The biggest losses come at the wide receiver position," O'Brien said. "That's the biggest concern on offense."
As O'Brien continued with his remarks he said the loss of Irving, a third-round pick of the Denver Broncos, would be "tough" but did not mention Wilson's name.
Wilson led the ACC with 3,563 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes in 2010. State finished 9-4, with its first bowl win since 2005, and ranked No. 25 by the AP.
But when Wilson left to play minor league baseball for the Colorado Rockies, and skipped spring practice, O'Brien turned the team over to junior Mike Glennon.
The school released Wilson from his scholarship in April and two months later he transferred to Wisconsin. Wilson, who graduated in May 2010, is eligible to play right away for the Big Ten champions.
In a follow-up question by moderator Don Shea about his new quarterback, O'Brien praised Glennon's patience and made a point to say that Glennon had attended all of offseason workouts and practices in his career.
"He's ready to go," O'Brien said. "He'll be fine for us."
O'Brien left after the 2-hour luncheon at the Washington Duke Inn without speaking to the media.
Glennon, who has played sparingly the past two seasons behind Wilson after using a redshirt for the 2008 season, will have to break in a new set of receivers. Gone are Owen Spencer (60 catches, 912 yards), Jarvis Williams (52-713) and Darrell Davis (26-327). The top target figures to be senior tight end George Bryan, who caught 35 passes for 369 yards last season.
State also has two new specialists in freshman kicker Niklas Sade and freshman punter Wil Baumann.
"They've never kicked the ball, they've never punted the ball, but both kids have great legs," O'Brien said. "And we think they have the right disposition to be successful."
State opens practice on Aug. 2 and the season begins Sept. 3 against Liberty.