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NC State Football: Wolfpack's 2019 Spring Preview

NC State Football: Wolfpack's 2019 Spring Preview

NC State Football: Wolfpack's 2019 Spring Preview

NC State kicked off spring practice on Saturday morning. The team will practice 15 times in preparation for the April 6 spring game at Carter-Finley Stadium.

NC State has recorded back-to-back nine-win seasons. The Wolfpack also have won 11 ACC games in that span, a total that is second only to defending national champion Clemson.

Despite this success, head coach Dave Doeren has many questions to address this spring on both sides of the ball.

5 Storylines to Watch During NC State's Spring Practice

1. Who will replace Ryan Finley?

During his tenure with the team, Finley was the staple of the Wolfpack offense. Now that he is off to the NFL, someone will have to replace Finley under center this fall.

The challengers will be incoming freshman Ty Evans, redshirt freshman Devin Leary, redshirt sophomore Bailey Hockman, and redshirt sophomore, Matt McKay.

Evans may redshirt, but there isn't one clear-cut favorite. Although the starting job may not be decided in the spring, Evans, Leary, Hockman, and McKay will all make their case for the starting job.

2. Offensive line

NC State lost three offensive linemen from last year's team as well. With an inexperienced quarterback under center, it is essential for the Wolfpack to put together a solid line.

The good news is that two starters return in redshirt junior tackle Justin Witt and junior guard Joshua Fedd-Jackson. But it's safe to say that after that every spot on the depth chart is up for grabs.

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3. Can Emeka Emezie replace Kelvin Harmon's production?

Emezie was one of the better receivers in the ACC last season. However, that was with Harmon in the same receiving corps. Now that Harmon is expected to be a high pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, NC State will need Emezie to become their go-to wideout.

Last season, Emezie registered 53 receptions 616 yards and five touchdowns. Can Emezie elevate his game to the level of Harmon, especially given the uncertainty at quarterback?

4. Who will step up on defense?

Linebacker Germaine Pratt, who was one of the most underrated players in college football, is now gone from the Wolfpack roster. This means NC State needs someone to step up and not just take his spot on the field, but also emerge as a leader for the defense.

Defensive ends James Smith-Williams and Larrell Murchison are set to return, which will help take some of the pressure off of the new starters. Sophomore linebacker Isaiah Moore is one to watch as his role should increase with Pratt no longer around.

5. New assistant coaches for Wolfpack

Not only does NC State have to replace offensive and defensive starters there's been some significant coaching turnover as well. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz left to become Appalachian State's new head coach following Scott Satterfield's move to Louisville. Offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford decided to leave to join the Cardinals' staff under Satterfield.

Kurt Roper, a longtime assistant at Duke, Florida and South Carolina, was hired to replace Drinkwitz. Also, assistants Des Kitchings and George McDonald were promoted to co-offensive coordinators. Doeren hired John Garrison, who was at FAU, to replace Ledford as the Wolfpack's offensive line coach.

So between the competition for spots on the depth chart on both sides of the ball and the new coaches, Doeren and company won't lack for things to work on this spring.

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.