Earning The Carries

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Some fans are wondering why sophomore tailback Shadrach Thornton received just one carry in the loss to Clemson, and Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren spoke in-depth on Thornton, and other topics, after Thursday's practice.

Some fans are wondering why sophomore tailback Shadrach Thornton received just one carry in the loss to Clemson, and Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren spoke in-depth on Thornton, and other topics, after Thursday's practice.

"There are some things going out here that you guys aren't privileged to," said Doeren. "Shad has to earn it. He's done a good job of that. I'm not handing things over to people who make mistakes in the offseason. They've got to prove they deserve the ball.

"We gave him a chance on kickoff return a couple of weeks ago and he dropped it. He's going to grow up and he's going to become a man. He's a good athlete, nobody argues with that, but there is more than just being a good athlete to get the football on a football team."

NC State could be looking for a spark in their running game. The Wolfpack's primary tailbacks in the first three games, Matt Dayes and Tony Creecy, are averaging just 3.9 and 3.5 yards per carry respectively.

"As far as the run game, it's a work-in-progress," said Doeren. "I think we are running the ball more efficiently, we're averaging over four yards per run, but we need more explosive runs.

"We need more runs over the 10-yard variety. We've had some with our jet game, but we need to get more with our tailbacks."

Doeren is right when he says the Pack's jet sweep game has yielded big plays. Rashard Smith is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and Bryan Underwood has had two carries for 54 yards.

In fact, Doeren says that they will continue to look to get Underwood even more involved in the offense.

"As far as Underwood, we need to get him more touches," he stated. "He's shown that he is an explosive player. He also could have made a big catch on the sideline on play three and he didn't. That would have been a huge play in the game.

"Matt [Canada] does want to get the playmakers involved. Sometimes when you're going fast, that's probably the negative of it, you can't always have exactly who in the game that you want... trying to keep them from subbing.

"There are times he'll say give me Underwood, give me so-and-so, and we'll get those guys the ball."

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