Amerson: "It's A Real Big Game"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State cornerback David Amerson hasn't been tested much recently. In fact, he has been challenged more on the ground in recent games than through the air.

NC State cornerback David Amerson hasn't been tested much recently. In fact, he has been challenged more on the ground in recent games than through the air.

One play that sticks out is Virginia's first score of the game last Saturday. The Cavaliers marched down the field on the opening drive and scored on a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Phillip Sims. Sims, who was forced out of the pocket by linebacker Sterling Lucas, was being chased by defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop.

As Sims hit the edge, Amerson was covering his zone and noticed that a receiver was dragging into his area. He had to make a decision... does he step up and try to stop Sims short, leaving the receiver open, and if so, when does he do it?

Amerson said he saw another defender in pursuit and also believed that Sims had already stepped out on the play, but he was also doing what he has been taught to do.

"I actually thought he was out of bounds and he dove," Amerson said of the Sims touchdown. "As a defensive back you're taught to never come up on a quarterback run. That's kind of what I was cautious of [the receiver dragging behind him]."

Amerson wasn't tested much, if at all on the day. He finished with just one tackle and it was the second consecutive game where the opposition looked to the other side of the field.

"I really can't tell you," Amerson said when asked if he thought North Carolina and Virginia threw away from him. "I just play. If the ball comes my way I try to make a play and whatever happens. I just try the best that I can."

One adjustment NC State has tried to make to get Amerson more involved is move him from the field to the boundary in certain situations. Primarily State's field cornerback, he is responsible for defending the wide side of the field, but when he is lined up in the boundary he has a tighter area to cover.

He often moved to the boundary when Virginia would line up three wide receivers to the field side because they were looking to isolate the boundary corner in one-on-one situations with their best receiver, a scheme that teams have been trying to use against the Wolfpack.

"A lot of teams try to work the back side of trips," said Amerson. "They try and put their top receiver over there, single-receiver and isolate that corner over there, so we're trying to put me in that position, in that area."

That probably won't be the case in State's next matchup because Wake's top receiver, Mike Campanaro, lines up all over the field but primarily in the slot.

One of the top receivers in the ACC, Campanaro has already totaled 60 catches for 604 yards and six touchdowns, and he is coming off a 16-catch, 123-yard, three-touchdown performance against Boston College.

"I know he's in the slot a lot," Amerson said of Campanaro. "We have Dontae [Johnson] in the nickel so we feel he can do a tremendous job on him. It should be a good matchup."

This is a special game for Amerson. A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, he grew up about 30 minutes from Wake's campus and was recruited hard by the Deacons.

"It's going to be real big," he said. "I know one of my boys plays over there, Kenny Okoro, so it's always good to play against somebody that you know personally.

"They recruited me real hard. Kenny was there when I was back in high school so they used that to recruit me. I was real tight with him so I was up there all the time. It's a real big game, not only for me, but for the team too."

After back-to-back losses, Amerson believes State is close to getting back on track. What do they need to improve on this week against the Deacons?

"We've got to eliminate the missed tackles and busted coverages," he said. "If we do that, we'll be fine... [also] get over the slow starts and try to make some adjustments quicker.

"It's a real big game. We're trying to get bowl eligible and get the confidence back to end the season."

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