Lucas Ready For a New Start

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Redshirt senior Sterling Lucas talks about his role as the new leader of NC State's linebacker corps.

How does it feel to be back on the field?
It feels great. It felt like forever but you know, I'm blessed to be back out there.

How do you feel physically?
I'm great. I'm 100%. I feel great. Last year was a great year and I count it as a blessing in disguise really. It was a chance to learn up under coach Tenuta because he's a great coach but he's a great teacher as well. I really learned a lot and feel like that's going to help me this year.

Is there any pressure on you with two new guys on either side of you?
There's always going to be people out there that's going to say they're inexperienced but I just feel like football is football. You played the game in high school so this is just another level. Like I said, we have a great coach in coach Tenuta and he's doing everything it takes to prepare.

What are the goals for 2012?
Of course we're thinking about the ACC championship because we have high goals.

How tough was it going through the rehab process?
It was pretty tough but I have a lot of faith because I'm a Christian and with God on my side I felt like there's nothing I couldn't overcome.

What was a typical day like for you during that time?
I would come in early and get treatment and then I would go through all the meetings with the linebackers and then I was basically a coach out here helping coach Tenuta with all the young guys. I was in the press box last year so that was really beneficial because I got to see it from a coach's point of view.

When did you feel like you turned the corner health-wise?
During the season I was rehabbing the whole season. The main thing was I felt weak so I didn't want to rush it back too soon. Coach O'Brien talked about it and he thought it would be best if I took a redshirt to rehab and get stronger.

How did sitting out last year help you with the system?
Last year I was a coach on the field and I was coached by coach Tenuta and I was in the pressbox with coach Tenuta as well so I got to see it from a coach's perspective.

I learned to appreciate the game that much more.

Was that the gameplan knowing Audie would be moving on?
Definitely. Even when Audie was here we were always competitive but learning the system and being ready to play. That was the plan.

Did that experience help you with coaching the young guys?
Definitely. I know all the positions from the defensive line, to linebacker, to even what the corners are doing.

I can be a coach on the field.

Did Audie (Cole) give you any advice for next season?

They're like my brothers- Audie, Terrell, Nate. I was at their pro day a couple days ago and we talked and they're always giving advice and I'm encouraging them as they pursue their dreams. We're all like a big brotherhood in here.

It sounded like you were trying to fire them up out there
Yeah, definitely. We're trying to go out with a bang. I felt like we had a decent year last year. Like I said, we really have high hopes this year. ACC champs is our first goal and then national champs and I truly believe we can get there.

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