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December 28, 2012
The quarterback position is always impacted when a coaching change occurs.
NC State returns two scholarship quarterbacks — freshman Manny Stocker and junior Pete Thomas, who is redshirting this season — and are looking to add at least one incoming recruit at the position.
Stocker is concentrating on the task at hand in preparing for Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 31 in Nashville, Tenn., but it's hard not to think about the future.
"I'm not too worried about it now and I don't have any idea what the new coaches will bring in," Stocker said. "It's mostly about the bowl game ahead of us and try to focus on that."
New NC State coach Dave Doeren and offensive coordinator Matt Canada featured star quarterback Chandler Harnish in their one season working together at Northern Illinois in 2011.
Harnish passed for 3,216 yards and 28 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,379 and 11 scores in leading the Huskies to an 11-3 mark in 2011. He went on to being drafted in the seventh round by the Indianapolis Colts, and earned a spot on the practice squad.
Canada departed for Wisconsin this past season, and junior quarterback Jordan Lynch replaced Harnish in the lineup. Lynch passed for 2,962 yards and 24 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,771 and 19 scores with the Orange Bowl against Florida State coming up for 12-1 squad.
"When the new coaches come in for the spring, and he talked to us, and said everything is going to change," Stocker said. "Right now, we are running the same offense and going through the same reads and same routes and everything. I'm trying to get better at that offense."
Stocker is a good scrambler and knows that could be valued in the new offense.
"The word has gotten around that at NIU, he had a good quarterback, but I don't know if he plans to do the same thing," Stocker said. "Whatever he brings in, I'm ready for it."
Stocker watched parts of the Northern Illinois vs. Kent State game in the MAC championship on television.
"I caught a little bit of it," Stocker said. "They looked pretty good to me, but I don't know what he is bringing in."
Thomas, who wasn't made available for an interview, understands coaching transitions. He committed to Arizona State during his senior season, but then the Sun Devils parted ways with their offensive coordinator and he decommitted. Thomas signed with Colorado State and started his first two years, but then his coach was fired following the 2011 season. He transferred to NC State, but never got to play for coach Tom O'Brien, who was also fired following the Wolfpack's 7-5 season.
Stocker said the Wolfpack players want to send out the seniors and O'Brien's coaching staff out a winner against 8-4 Vanderbilt.
"I think everybody feels bad about what happened and wants to get him out with a good win," Stocker said.
Getting a new coach for his sophomore year is deja vu for Stocker.
Stocker doesn't have the same history as Thomas with coaches, but counted that Doeren will be his fourth head coach in the last six years if you include his prep experiences. He also figures next year will be his fifth offense in six years.
"My freshman year of high school, my coach went somewhere else and I got a new coach that came in my sophomore year," Stocker said. "I'm familiar with this situation and I'm just going to ride it out.
"I guess you could transfer if that's what you want to do, but I came to play for State. I'm real thankful for the coaches that recruited me and I'm sad they are leaving. You just have to adapt."
Stocker said the Wolfpack do run some spread formations from time-to-time.
"I don't think it will be too hard of a transition because we have certain plays that resemble a spread offense, but we also like pro-style offense a lot," Stocker said. "We have pro-style reads."
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Stocker played in four games this season, but mostly in mop-up situations. He threw one pass against Wake Forest on Nov. 10 on a roll out that fell incomplete. He also rushed seven times for 18 yards, including 32 yards on three carries in the 37-6 win over the Demon Deacons.
"I think it helped a little bit, got a little feel," Stocker said. "[I saw] the speed of the game and everything, and just get comfortable with that."
Stocker said fifth-year senior starter Mike Glennon usually gets four reps and then he and the second string will come in for two during practice. Stocker was able to work with the first string Dec. 14 with Glennon missing a practice while working on his graduate degree.
"I'm trying to be more of a whole player and [improve] in every aspect of the game, on and off the field," Stocker said. "I want to be more of a leader type of guy on the team. We are going into a new year with Mike leaving and everybody. I want to try and compete for a spot."
Stocker has tried to soak in the knowledge from Glennon.
"I've learned a lot from Mike, like trying to stay on the right path, stay on track with everything and do everything the right way with everybody looking at you as the quarterback," Stocker said. "I'm just trying to follow him the best way possible."
Stocker also got to meet former NCSU star quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks last spring. Stocker was originally slated to wear Wilson's No. 16, but ended up No. 15.
"I talked to him a little bit, but not a lot," Stocker said. "He said to keep your head up, go through it and it will all pay off. It was just encouragement."