Timing off at UVA, but Armstrong finds right time with NC State
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Brennan Armstrong walked towards the table with his name card with plenty of familiar faces waiting, he let out an exhale and a smile and said "let's do this".
Armstrong made his third-straight trip to ACC Kickoff, but unlike in past years he wore a North Carolina State pin instead of the usual Virginia one. The record-breaking UVA quarterback reunited with former offensive coordinator Robert Anae at NC State and is ready to show the 2021 version of himself is still around.
"I don't think he ever left it's just the circumstances in 2022," Armstrong said, "People ask me can you get back to that guy, I don't think he's ever left, I'm what two years older, one year older than what I was in 2021, so he hasn't really gone too far."
In 2021 with the Cavaliers, Armstrong broke program records for single season passing yards and touchdowns. But in 2022 under Tony Elliott and his new offense, Armstrong struggled throwing seven touchdowns to 12 interceptions.
"There was no pinpoint of what it was, there was a lot of different things going on," Armstrong said, "I was trying to have a great attitude towards it all, but it gets frustrating week in and week out, you try to restart, flip the page and say let's come out next week. And after like six next weeks, you're dead tired, you're frustrated."
Back in Anae's wide open, pass happy offense, Armstrong feels he "can be me" again versus feeling locked up during the 2022 season at Virginia. Elliott came into UVA with a clear intention to find more balance on offense, but the changes came all at once and Armstrong struggled to find a rhythm.
"It's selfish for me to say I wish it was more gradual, but then again it's not my program, it's not it's Coach Elliott's and their direction and what they want to do," Armstrong said, "So I was just trying to buy into it and be the best I could and it just wasn't working with the pieces we had and what was going on it wasn't working, so that's why the decision was made for me to move on."
Despite the lack of success last season and Armstrong's struggles with the system, the new NC State quarterback still believes Elliott and offensive coordinator Des Kitchings' system can work after finishing 126th nationally in scoring offense.
"It worked at Clemson right? They also had studs all around at Clemson," Armstrong said, "If you get the pieces to do it, it was just hard all at once without the pieces. That's just my opinion though it doesn't really matter. And I think the offense is going to be successful, it was successful already and it was shown to be successful. It just didn't fit us at the right time, it is what it is, it's just timing."
Armstrong says he still keeps in touch with his former Virginia teammates who are still there, bonded after the tragedy that closed last season.
In less than two month, Armstrong will be reunited with those teammates in his return to Scott Stadium on Friday, September 22. Unsure of the reception he will receive, Armstrong will be happy to see those former teammates and knows they will want "take his head off".
"I'm going to treat it like any other game, it's an ACC game so it's a big game for us," Armstrong said, "I might get some boos, might get some cheers, I don't know what I'm going to get. Basically a home field advantage for me."