After three seasons with Tim Beck coordinating the NC State offense, the Wolfpack have decided to go in a new direction. Beck left to be the head coach of Coastal Carolina, and newcomer Robert Anae brings a new style of offense to Carter-Finley Stadium. Who is Anae, and how will he fair as the new Wolfpack offensive coordinator?
Who is the New Wolfpack Offensive Coordinator?
Robert Anae’s Past Success
Anae played football at BYU, where he played offensive line from 1981-1984. He was a part of the 1984 national championship team. He was also drafted in the USFL by the New Jersey Generals. After his playing career, Anae began as the offensive line coach of Hawaii. In 2005, he started his first stint as an offensive coordinator at Texas Tech before leaving for Arizona. In 2013, he coached at his alma mater BYU before accepting the Virginia offensive coordinator position in 2013. Anae spent one year at Syracuse before accepting the job at NC State.
Anae has had success tailoring an offense to a quarterback’s strengths. He built Virginia into a very explosive offense in 2021, where the team scored 34.6 points per game. The team’s quarterback Brennan Armstrong passed for 4,449 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for nine touchdowns. His move to Syracuse in 2022 saw the Orange revamp their offense around Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader. Shrader nearly doubled his touchdown and yardage numbers from the previous year, and Tucker totaled 1308 scrimmage yards and 13 touchdowns. In both instances, Anae was able to build an offense around his most talented players and get quality production from his signal caller.
Robert in Raleigh?
Under Beck, the Wolfpack offense wasn’t bad, but did not strike fear into many opponents. While the team did score 33.1 points per game in 2021, the schedule was mediocre, and the team had a lot of help from having a Top-15 scoring defense. Beck’s play-calling style was extremely conservative, utilizing zone runs and a mix of short and screen passes to methodically move the ball. While it worked to an extent due to a stalwart defense, the 2022 season saw the Wolfpack struggle to put up points. In part due to an injury to former quarterback Devin Leary, the Wolfpack just could not put points on the board. After losing Leary, the Wolfpack finished the season 3-4 and scored over 22 points just twice in that span. Going into 2023, the Wolfpack offense will have to drastically improve if ACC title contention is on their radar.
The new Wolfpack offensive coordinator is no stranger to revamping an offense. Anae bringing over his former field general in Armstrong is massive, as new offensive schemes often come with growing pains in the quarterback room. Armstrong had tremendous success his last season under Anae and understands the style of offense. In addition, the Wolfpack added three key players that have the potential to produce right away. Brad Rozner transferred from Rice University and is on the Biletnikoff award watchlist after an 876-yard, 10-touchdown season. Freshmen Javonte Vereen and Kevin Concepcion are talented four-star recruits with the physical tools to provide an immediate impact. The Wolfpack features a talented offensive line and experienced rushers. In addition, the defense is poised to remain one of the most dominant in the nation. Anae will have a variety of tools at his disposal, and his style of play-calling will assuredly make the Wolfpack offense more explosive.
Robert Anae’s Key to Success
The Wolfpack defense will be hard to score a large number of points against. Last season, the unit only allowed 19.2 points per game, the 12th-best in the nation. The offense is coming off of a lethargic season only scoring 24.3 points per game. In addition, the Wolfpack will play a more difficult schedule in 2023, facing Notre Dame, Clemson, Louisville, and UNC.
The key to the new Wolfpack offensive coordinator finding success will be through Armstrong. If he can help return his signal caller to his 2021 form, Armstrong’s talent as both a passer and a rusher will be a dynamic weapon that will help the Wolfpack put a lot of points on the board. Building off of that, the Wolfpack needs to average more than 24 points per game. In games where NC State has exceeded 24 points, they have only lost two games in the past two seasons. For the Wolfpack to compete for an ACC title, they will have to eclipse the 24-point mark. Anae will have to find where his key contributors will be on this offense. Whether it comes from Rozner, Vereen, Concepcion, or a returning player like Jordan Houston or Keyon Lesane, finding production from his skill players will be key to producing enough points to compete.