Jones: "We Haven't Lost Confidence"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State sophomore Hakim Jones has started every game this season at safety for the Wolfpack and he continues to make strides.

"I feel like I'm improving," said Hakim Jones. "I'm not where I want to be at just yet though."

Jones currently ranks third on the team in tackles (44) and he also has seven pass breakups and an interception.

This week and he and the rest of the defense will be facing an explosive Duke offense that is averaging 32.9 points per game.

"They have a very good offense," said Jones. "They know who their playmakers are and those guys get the ball in their offense. They have guys making plays for them."

Duke's biggest playmaker is junior wideout Jamison Crowder. He has already totaled 60 catches for 769 yards and three touchdowns this season.

"That's their main guy, but they have a bunch of guys that can do a lot of things," Jones stated. "He's good at receiver, and they use him on special teams too. He's really good there."

According to Jones, that could be an intriguing battle this weekend.

"Special teams will be a big factor," he said. "Like I said, their best wide receiver plays special teams as well. I think both defenses are solid... it could come down to a big special teams play for sure."

Defensively, what is the biggest key for the Wolfpack?

"We have to work on gap control against them," said Jones. "Other than that, we're pretty squared away because they are similar to [North] Carolina. Gap control will be big for us."

NC State has lost four straight games, but the team remains upbeat.

"We still have a good mindset through it all," Jones stated. "We haven't lost confidence. We haven't been getting beat bad. We've been in every game, it's just about executing late for us. We're all out here playing hard.

"[The momentum] is going to shift. If we can get that one [win], the momentum will shift. We'll be clicking as a team again."

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