A Quiet Confidence

RALEIGH, N.C. -- As N.C. State's players continue navigating the first full week of fall camp, there is plenty of attention being paid to what's new.

Is Dave Doeren's approach different? Do players like the changes? What about the spread offense? Do any of the freshmen have a chance to contribute right away? Which quarterback is going to start against Louisiana Tech?

And while the new is certainly important for the Wolfpack's chances in 2013 and beyond, some of the old -- as in older players -- could be the difference in whether Doeren's first season is remembered as a big success or not remembered much at all.

Wide receiver Bryan Underwood, a redshirt junior who is one of the most experienced players on the offense heading into the season, said he knows that he, Quintin Payton, Rashard Smith and others on the offense will carry a big burden heading into the year.

"We know our abilities," said Underwood. "The coaches are evaluating what we can and can't do, and they've shown us plays that use our best skills.

"If we can't do what they ask, we'll dedicate our time to getting better at it. We have confidence in ourselves and trust that the coaches will put us in the right position."

For Underwood, that position could be a bit different in 2013. After spending much of his time on the outside a season ago, he could be headed inside to play more slot receiver.

"There are a lot of chances to be successful," he said. "We're going to average more plays. It's a matter of play calling and who steps up."

Based on Underwood's performance in 2012 -- he hauled in 44 passes and scored 10 touchdowns -- an expanded role in offensive coordinator Matt Canada's offense could mean more catches and more chances to make plays in space. Underwood said he's fine with either.

"Last year there were more chances for me to do damage outside," he said. "The coaches used me where they needed me. It's the same this year. I don't really have a preference, but I'll do whatever it takes to help the team win."

Another thing that could help Underwood, Payton and Smith produce in 2013 is the arrival of six wide receivers. Freshman Bra'Lon Cherry enrolled in the spring, and West Virginia transfer Travares Copeland and four freshman hit the practice field last week.

Those new faces help in many ways -- most notably, they provide much-needed depth. Secondarily, Underwood said, the infusion of new receivers has produced noticeable competition.

"Coach Jackson told us it's our job to maintain our spot. It's his job to make sure freshmen can come in and take it," Underwood said. "We always have to go to practice knowing we don't have those spots. The incoming freshmen are really good, they're playing fast and picking things up quickly. There is a lot of competition going on."

Underwood named Marques Valdez and JuMichael Ramos when asked about who had impressed him the most in the opening days of practice.

"You would think they were veterans," he said. "They are in the playbooks taking notes. They have a bright future here."

As for the new coaching staff, Underwood said he's enjoyed learning the intricacies of the no-huddle offense that Canada and Doeren began installing during spring practice.

"I can't say I've had anything that I didn't like," Underwood said. "The past few days have been new. New wrinkles being thrown into the offense. And now that school is out we can focus on football a little more. I'm glad school is over for a bit, because we can get our minds right and get ready for the season."

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