Christophe Stands Out

One returning starter NC State won't begin the season with is left guard Andrew Wallace.

One returning starter NC State won't begin the season with is left guard Andrew Wallace. The redshirt junior started every game of the regular season before suffering a knee injury in practice for the Champs Sports Bowl, and he is expected to miss a considerable amount of the 2011 season.

However, the Pack returns redshirt sophomore Duran Christophe, a 6-foot-6, 287-pounder who played extremely well in the bowl win and the victory at Georgia Tech earlier in the year.

"Duran played a lot last year," said offensive line coach Jim Bridge. "He may not have been officially the starter, but he played a lot of football for us.

"I have a sneaky feeling that Duran Christophe is going to be a very good football player for us."

What stands out to Bridge about Christophe?

"I like Duran's work ethic and toughness," he said. "I like his willingness to throw himself into anything to get better. Duran is the ultimate team guy. He's the ultimate 'I can do this' guy. He shows up with his hard hat and works every day.

"I'm extremely happy to have Duran on the offensive line for us."

Christophe is penciled in as the starter at left guard during spring practice.

Battle At Left Tackle
If there is a major question mark for NC State up front it will be at left tackle where the Wolfpack is looking to replace three-year starter Jake Vermiglio.

Senior Mikel Overgaard and sophomore Rob Crisp are competing for the job, and as of now Overgaard is listed No. 1 on the depth chart. He began 2010 as the starter at right tackle, getting the nod the first two games before injuring his elbow in the win over Central Florida.

The injury forced him to miss three games and opened the door for R.J. Mattes to take over at right tackle. With Mattes returning, Overgaard will now protect Mike Glennon's blind side.

"Mikel is a smart player," said Bridge. "That's a big part of being a quality offensive lineman... being smart. You have to putting yourself in position to block.

"That's a positive of Mikel, his brain power, and he's able to position himself effectively to be in the right position. That's one of the things about him that is special."

If Overgaard is going to be the starter he will have to hold off highly-regarded Rob Crisp. A high school All-American, Crisp backed up Vermiglio last year, starting the season opener. He was in for 122 snaps for the year, giving up just one sack.

Bridge remains high on his 6-foot-7, 312-pound sophomore.

"Rob is a tremendous young man," he stated. "He's working hard and he's getting the system down. I still think Rob has one of the most incredible futures out there."

Solidifying a starter at left tackle will be vital for Bridge this spring, especially given Mike Glennon's injury history.

Parting Shots
Bridge on freshman lineman Andy Jomantas: "Andy is a big, strong tough guy. He's got a really good future for us."... Bridge on frehsmen lineman Tyson Chandler: "Tyson is willing to work and get better. He has a lot of talent."

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