Against Georgia Tech last Saturday in Atlanta, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Duran Christophe was one of those players. After seeing limited action through NC State's first three games, Christophe was inserted Saturday during the third series of the game after starter Andrew Wallace missed a couple of assignments early on.
By the end of NC State's 45-28 victory over the defending ACC Champions, Christophe had taken 63 snaps -- 43 more than starter Andrew Wallace -- and made a huge impact along the offensive line.
For Christophe, Saturday's performance was just an example of how every member of the Wolfpack has approached the 2010 season.
"We had a couple of missed assignments and quarterback pressures and sacks so coach told me to be ready and go in during the third series," Christophe said after Tuesday's practice. "I was always hoping to get in, probably not in that situation, but my Momma and Daddy were watching so I definitely wanted to get in the game."
Christophe's mother and father weren't the only ones to notice his performance against the Yellow Jackets. Tom O'Brien had high praise for Duran during his weekly press conference.
"[Duran Christophe] is a big, powerful body. He absorbed some of those blitzes, he didn't get knocked back at all," he said. "He's a young kid that is learning the game. He certainly has ability. We've liked him from the time he's got here because he is that physical-type of player, strong player. I think he gained a lot of confidence on Saturday playing."
Offensive line coach Don Horton agreed with O'Brien, saying Christophe would only get better with more experience.
"He loves being physical. Fortunately he's got a lot more time to continue to learn so he's going to continue to become more physical," he said. "He'll be more aggressive as he gets older and gains more experience."
Aside from being excited about getting a chance to play more snaps, Christophe said Saturday was special because he got to play in front of a lot of family and friends.
"Sixteen tickets," Christophe said with a chuckle about the number of fans he had in Atlanta. "No extra pressure, it was definitely just exciting. I just want to make them all proud."
Although Duran said his family and friends being in the stands didn't add any pressure, he did admit he was more excited to play in front of them because of the limited opportunities they have to see him play.
Originally from New Orleans, Christophe and his family moved to Georgia following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where he enrolled at Woodstock High School.
Christophe said moving away from his hometown was tough following the storm, but he also said it was "a blessing in disguise" because it helped him end up at NC State.
"It was a little disheartening, just moving away was tough," he said. "But I started a new life in Georgia and I guess it didn't turn out too bad, I'm here."
If Christophe can continue to develop and play more like he did against Georgia Tech, he won't be the only one glad he's in Raleigh.
Heading into Saturday's match-up with Virginia Tech, Duran said he'd have the same approach since day one.
"They've told me the same thing they've been telling me, just to be ready whenever. I'll go in when I need to and just get the plays."