When running backs coach Billy Sexton watched RB Antone Smith in high school he saw a player that was ready for the college level.
Smith will get a chance this weekend to validate what Sexton witnessed. With starter Leon Washington (ankle) shelved for Saturday's game against NC State, Smith and sophomore RB Lamar Lewis are being prepped as the No. 2 option behind RB Lorenzo Booker.
"He's very physical for a kid coming out of high school," said Sexton about Smith. "I felt very strongly that he would be able to compete."
Smith said that he wants to make the most of this opportunity, but that he wishes it came under different circumstances.
"I've got to take advantage of it," said Smith.
It's been a learning process this season for Smith. Relegated to reserve duties behind Booker and Washington, Smith said he's been picking up on blocking schemes and watching the routes that the two running backs ahead of him take out of the backfield.
His most significant time this season came in the latter half of the Oct.22 match-up at Duke. That day, Smith rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
"He hasn't had a ton of reps, but when he's gotten in there he's taken advantage of it," said Sexton.
CB Tony Carter (shoulder) was able to practice lightly with the team Tuesday. Graduate assistant James Colzie, who works with the defensive backs, said he thinks Carter will be able to go by game time.
If Carter is unavailable Saturday, JR Bryant will start at field corner.
After recovering from a neck injury, CB Trevor Ford is practicing again, and Colzie said there's a good chance that Ford will see plenty of playing time against the Wolfpack.
Coach Bobby Bowden said they would continue to evaluate WR De'Cody Fagg (shoulder) as the week progressed, most likely making a decision Friday.
Bowden said he expects NC State's past successes in Tallahassee to be a building block for confidence as the team prepares to return this Saturday. The Wolfpack are the only conference team to beat the Seminoles in Tallahassee in an ACC game, and the last time they came to town, NC State forced double-overtime before losing.
"I think that would be a selling point; we've done it before and we can do it again," said Bowden. "I won't let them forget it."
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