But that won't solve all the woes at that position for the Wolfpack. It has been so decimated along the front that it will take time for the unit to click with any sort of efficiency.
The goal for now will be getting through the Central Michigan game so that perhaps after an open date on the schedule the Wolfpack can get closer to full strength.
"We haven't lined up one game yet with the guys we had in preseason camp," coach Tom O'Brien said of the defense.
Sweezy's return against Georgia Tech came in a different role as he played at defensive end to ease him back in. His presence might have done more to help from an emotional standpoint.
"It's nice to have someone out there with a little bit of enthusiasm fighting through injuries," O'Brien said. "Maybe we can get some other guys to do that."
-- DT J.R. Sweezy will move to his natural position in the interior of the defensive line after playing as a defensive end against Georgia Tech. That was his first game this season coming off an August foot injury, so the coaching staff decided to avoid putting him in the middle of the line as he worked his way back into games.
-- The Wolfpack has avoided a three-game losing streak only in one season (2010) over the past five years. In order to prevent such a streak this year, the Wolfpack must win Saturday against visiting Central Michigan. "I told the guys to keep their heads up, don't read the papers and keep working," coach Tom O'Brien said. "We're going to get this thing headed in the right direction once we get some of the troops back."
SERIES HISTORY: This will be the first meeting between Central Michigan and N.C. State.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: More consistency is needed from this unit, particularly with the 35 points posted against Georgia Tech a bit deceiving because the final 14 came when the first-team offense wasn't on the field. QB Mike Glennon showed some good decision-making in the game against Georgia Tech, but his 20 completions accounted for only 163 passing yards.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Wolfpack could use reinforcements along the line of scrimmage. The return of DT J.R. Sweezy, who lined up at end against Georgia Tech, was a step in the right direction. He brought a higher level of emotion to the unit. The Wolfpack showed signs of improvement in third-down situations in its last game compared to some earlier outings. Georgia Tech, which shies away from passing, completed only 33 percent of its passes against the Wolfpack, which had struggled in defending the pass this year.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They're not going to be in awe of us. They've been to Kentucky. They've been to Michigan State." -- Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien on Central Michigan, which is the final non-league foe on the 2011 schedule.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAME: Central Michigan at N.C. State, Oct. 8 -- This is the first opponent from the Mid-American Conference to visit Raleigh since 2006, when Akron upended a Chuck Amato-coached team.
KEYS TO THE GAME: N.C. State could use a strong start because the deficits in some recent games have caused a retooling of the play-calling and limited the playbook for the Wolfpack. N.C. State's defensive front might have more players available as they recover from injuries and that might be necessary against a big offensive line from Central Michigan.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
LB D.J. Green -- He's considered one of the most athletic players on the team, yet he had a slow start this season. His play had leveled off before the past two games when he has been more active and that improvement was crucial for the Wolfpack.
WR Jay Smith -- He should be capable of finding space down the field as a wideout still trying to figure out how his role fits into the offense. He had a touchdown reception against Georgia Tech in the most-recent game.
S Earl Wolff -- He has been a consistent tackler in the secondary, mostly out of necessity. His pursuit of the ball has pulled him out of position at times, so that's something worth monitoring.
-- RB Tony Creecy could receive more opportunities against Central Michigan if RB Curtis Underwood remains out with an injury. "He'll be better this week because of the experience of last week," coach Tom O'Brien said of Creecy.
-- QB Tyler Brosius, a redshirt freshman, threw his first career touchdown pass when he was used for late-game action against Georgia Tech. The 13-yard scoring strike to FB Tyler Purvis was the longest play of his three completions on seven attempts.