Youth Movement

RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer was pleased with the play of his unit in a few areas in the win over Liberty, but he knows there is still room for improvement.

"The turnovers are obviously something that was very important in the game," said Archer. "That's the positive, and the sacks were a positive."

NC State's defense forced seven turnovers and recorded six sacks, constantly harassing Liberty quarterback Mike Brown. However, the Flames tallied 406 yards and held the ball for over 33 minutes. Brown was superb, accounting for 356 yards of total offense while passing for a touchdown.

"We gave up too many big plays," said Archer. "That kept us on the field. We gave up over 400 yards, and that's not very good.

"The quarterback is obviously outstanding, and [wide receiver Chris] Summers was outstanding, but we've got a lot of things we have to get corrected. The tape was good. It was good to watch because there are a lot of things we can improve on."

Archer did point out that he was impressed with the play of several underclassmen for the Wolfpack, including sophomore D.J. Green who was starting his first game at strongside linebacker.

"I think D.J. Green, for the first time being out there under the lights, played very well," Archer said. "He probably played as well as any of our linebackers. All three linebackers were productive in the run game.

"The run game hurt us with the quarterback. He got us mismatched a couple of times, and he was a better athlete than some of us a couple of times."

Brian Slay

Another player who caught Archer's attention was junior defensive tackle Brian Slay. Filling in for injured regular J.R. Sweezy, Slay was productive in his second career start, totaling six tackles and two sacks with two fumble recoveries including one he returned for a touchdown.

"With the injuries we had with J.R. and now Thomas [Teal], Brian stepped in," said Archer. "The next guy has to be ready to go and that's what we talk about because injuries do occur. He took advantage of that opportunity.

"It was probably the best game that he's played since we've been here with him. From a production standpoint, the sacks, the hurries, the two fumble recoveries were big in the game."

Two other unheralded members of the Pack's defensive front also stood out. Redshirt freshman Art Norman, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound defensive end, played just 38 snaps and totaled eight quarterback pressures or hits, and redshirt sophomore Darryl Cato-Bishop, who was making his first career start at defensive end, finished with three tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a forced fumble.

"Art, in particular in the sub-package, when he was in the game did a good job of rushing the quarterback," said Archer. "I think he had eight quarterback hits or pressures. That's what he brings. He is a very quick guy and can get off the edge and put pressure on the quarterback.

"Darryl, for the first time starting, did a lot of good things. There are a lot of things technique-wise that don't show up to the fans until you look at the film... where we got hurt in the running game because we didn't close on blocks, etc..., but they are all correctable things."

It doesn't get any easier for NC State as the Pack hits the road this week for the ACC opener at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are coming off a tough road loss at Syracuse where they totaled 419 yards of total offense and scored 29 points.

Sophomore quarterback Tanner Price leads Wake's offensive attack and although he went down with a knee injury he is expected to play on Saturday. The Deacons also have above-average skill position talent led by wide receiver Chris Givens and tailback Josh Harris.

"Obviously the quarterback, and Givens... they throw the ball and catch the ball very well," Archer said. "The tailback, Josh Harris, showed that he is a big, strong physical guy that is a north-south guy. Both of [Wake's tailbacks], we played against them last year.

"The offensive line has three seniors and two juniors, and they talk about that being the strength of their football team. They are big... a lot bigger than the group we played last week. They are a typical ACC offensive line."

With Wake Forest having success through the air against Syracuse and NC State struggling at times to stop Liberty's passing attack, Archer has to be concerned. As he mentioned, Wake's biggest receiving threat is talented wide receiver Chris Givens. An explosive player, the 6-foot, redshirt junior caught eight passes for 178 yards and two touchdown at Syracuse, and he has to be the focus for NC State's secondary.

David Amerson

The assignment of guarding Givens could go to sophomore cornerback David Amerson. Checking in at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Amerson has terrific size for a cornerback and is very athletic.

He normally plays the field cornerback position in NC State's scheme, but against Liberty he shadowed Flames All-American wide receiver Chris Summers all over the field. Summers finished with five catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, but Amerson flourished, as he totaled nine tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions.

"David Amerson played very well," said Archer. "He made two big plays and had one negative play on the double move where he gave up the touchdown. It's a learning experience for him.

"We flipped him. We put him on No. 1 and told him all week that he was going to play against him. Summers is 6'5 and David is our biggest corner. I think in the first half he really did an exceptional job. In the second half they had the double-move for the touchdown, and you've got to learn from that. He was sitting on routes... he sat on one where he dropped an interception in front of our bench early in the game and obviously their coaches saw it and took advantage of it.

"David has a bright future. He just has to continue to work hard and practice, and he will be fine."

This is a huge game for the Wolfpack and Demon Deacons. Both teams will be looking to open conference play with a victory. What does Archer expect from Wake's offense?

"They are going to try and control the tempo of the game with the running game," he said. "Last week, I know Price threw the ball over 30 times, but they are 50-50. I think they ran it 43 times and threw it 41.

"That's tough because it shows that they are balanced."

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