Former UF QB to run Wolfpack offense
Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 11:04 a.m.
RALEIGH, N.C. —?? Jacoby Brissett knows he will face big expectations when he finally takes a snap for North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack struggled through a miserable season that included plenty of upheaval at quarterback while he sat out as a transfer from Florida. All the while, Brissett worked with the scout team as fans talked about the guy waiting in the wings to take over this fall.
"I'm just ready to go," he said. "Nobody really puts as much pressure than I do myself. And I feel like my goals are way bigger than what people expect."
Brissett, who has two years of eligibility remaining, takes over a team that won three games and went winless in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first time since 1959.
He enrolled in January 2013, shortly after Dave Doeren left Northern Illinois to replace Tom O'Brien. He worked through the first spring practices as Doeren and offensive coordinator Matt Canada installed their no-huddle offense, then again this year —? this time as the unquestioned starter of a young team.
"He's not looked at as a transfer by anybody," Canada said. "He's been here coming into the fall a year and a half. He's been here as long as a whole lot of people in the program. We're a very young football team. It's not like you bring a guy and throw him in. ... He's earned everything he's gotten with the players."
Wolfpack fans are eager for stability at the position.
Last year Arkansas graduate transfer Brandon Mitchell won the starting job and led touchdown drives on the season's first two possessions before breaking his left foot on the third series. He missed two months while Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas stepped in, though Thomas was a pocket passer who did not fit Doeren's scheme that thrives with a run-pass threat at quarterback.
The QB struggles stood out in a season filled with frustration, but Canada said Brissett fits the Wolfpack's scheme.
"Most people are going to say, 'Oh just do better than 3-9,'" Brissett said. "That's not a real thing to just say. ... You don't need to be better than every team every day. You just be better than them on Saturday, and make sure what you do Monday through Friday is what's going to make you better on Saturday."
Brissett was one of the nation's top prep quarterbacks when he signed with Florida — his mother, Ellicia Brown, wanted him to play at Miami — in 2011 out of Dwyer High in West Palm Beach.
He became the first true freshman in Gators history to take his first college snap as the starter at No. 1 LSU that fall. But he ultimately lost the battle for the starting job to Jeff Driskel and decided to transfer after the 2012 season. Brissett considered West Virginia but his connection with Doeren, who recruited him while an assistant at Wisconsin, led him here.
Brown said the Florida experience "took a little bit of that spark away" from her son but also made him hungrier.
"I think that he wasn't given a fair opportunity and I think he probably felt that way too," she said. "But by the same token, it was a learning experience on how he had to get through it. I think he came through it with flying colors.
"I think he handled it by not speaking out or even lashing out or anything. He went out and worked every day ... and I see that with that experience has brought a more talented, more mature and a better Jacoby."
Brissett said his time at Florida helped him learn how to be a leader and provided a taste of the college game at a high level. He is counting on those experiences to help him turn his second college stop into a winner, starting Aug. 30 against Georgia Southern.
"I can't wait," he said. "It's close, but not close enough."
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