Protecting The Blind Side

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State's first depth chart of the 2012 season had a major change with projected starting right tackle Robert Crisp listed as the starter at left tackle. It raised some eyebrows and might have even caught Crisp by surprise.

NC State's first depth chart of the 2012 season had a major change with projected starting right tackle Robert Crisp listed as the starter at left tackle. It raised some eyebrows and might have even caught Crisp by surprise.

Crisp, who enrolled at NC State as a five-star recruit out of Raleigh (NC) Athens Drive High School in 2010, actually started the season opener as a true freshman at left tackle. Crisp played 62 snaps in the game, as he replaced regular starter Jake Vermiglio who was out due to suspension, but he would play just 122 snaps the rest of the year, backing up Vermiglio.

After the season Crisp moved to right tackle where he played in every game last year for the Wolfpack, including starts against Boston College and Louisville.

He was still at the position throughout spring practice, so Crisp admits that he certainly has some work to do as he prepares to open the season at left tackle.

"The entire spring I played right tackle," said Crisp. "Even in the spring game... this is my first day at left tackle since the end of my freshman year I believe.

"I'm just trying to get back used to it. It was a pretty tough day but I'm trying to get more used to it, definitely."

From a technique standpoint, the positions are similar, but play-calling leads to different requirements. He is also now protecting the blind side of senior quarterback Mike Glennon.

"Technique wise it's pretty much the same with your steps and everything," said Crisp. "As far as the plays, it's completely opposite than from the right side. If on a certain play I'm blocking and it's man on the right side, it's wall on the left side.

"It's pretty confusing... completely different."

One positive for Crisp is that he can just lean over and ask the lineman next to him if he has a question about a playcall or his responsibility on a given play... senior left guard R.J. Mattes was the Pack's starting left tackle in 2011.

"R.J. was my host on my official visit and we've been friends since day one," Crisp said. "Even today, if I have questions... R.J. will tell me. We're almost brothers."

Despite the position change, Crisp is confident in himself and the other linemen. He has played in 26 games, making three starts while lining up for 535 total snaps in his career. He has yielded just one sack. The other four linemen are returning starters with double-digit starts under each of their belts. They have all played with each other and it sounds like the chemistry is already there.

"We have a lot of veterans coming back, guys who have played a lot of football," said Crisp. "It's almost like the chemistry is already there. A lot of guys don't get used to each other until the second or third game of the season but we already have chemistry here since all the guys have already played together. We've played a lot of football."

This could be State's best offensive line of the Tom O'Brien era. Because of that, expectations are high for the group and the Wolfpack's offense.

"I feel our expectations are higher than what other people set for us," Crisp said. "We try not to listen to what a lot of people say. We play football here. We want to win games. We want to keep it in here and win games."


Pack Pride Top Stories