Plenty of Weapons

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson knows that his group has plenty of numbers and a lot of youth.

Bryan Underwood is the team's lone scholarship senior which means the Pack has to play young guys and hope they develop.

"We don't have a lot of senior receivers," said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. "So when people say we're led by freshmen and sophomores, that's what we have. I mean, we have one senior on our roster at receiver. There's not a lot of other options."

For wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson, he believes that though they may be young in many ways, the effort and experience from many of his receivers in the previous season has proved to provide great quality play.

When asked about the development at the position, coach Jackson was optimistic and positive on his players from what he has seen on the practice field.

"I’ve been talking to them about having winning practices, and they’ve really bought into that," he said. "They’ve been practicing hard and really getting after it."

One of the major benefits that the previous year’s recruiting class has brought in is the constructive pressure to compete everyday for the starting positions, given that the new talent provides much better depth this season. Does coach Jackson, a former NFL wideout, like the competition from within his group?

"Oh yeah," he responded. "It definitely makes it easier when you got a bunch of guys competing and they know the guys behind them can play and can make plays. That forces you to practice hard, perform, and execute.

"Right now, they’re doing that because they know the guy behind them is just as good as he is, and he can go in, make plays, and take your spot. The competition at my group has really improved my group from a fundamental standpoint, from a competition standpoint, and from an after standpoint."

When asked about individual receivers that stood out through the offseason and team camps, Jackson believes all have individually been successful, but still a couple have stood out.

"I think Stephen Louis has improved," he said. "If you had seen him from the spring to right now, he’s a totally different player. He’s stronger, faster, and explosive. He’s done a great job.

"Jonathan Alston... he’s really done a great job. With him being out there, he was really improved in our group. He’s able to be a little more physical than a normal slot receiver, but I like big guys. I like big receivers that can be physical. He has a mixture of both – the quickness you want in a small-shifty guy, and then he has the strength you want in a big, physical guy."

Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren agrees, as he has been pleased with the production from the young group.

"Many different guys are getting involved in the game," said Doeren. "Jacoby is taking advantage of open people. If you're open, he's going to hit you with it, and if you make catches you're going to get more. He feeds the guys who make plays for him."

The production has been split, which prevents a defense from attempting to focus on just one receiver to defend.

True freshman Bo Hines has totaled 16 catches to lead the team (and is tied for the ACC lead), and sophomores Bra'lon Cherry (9), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (8), and Jonathan Alston (7) trail Hines. True freshman Stephen Louis has already caught a touchdown as well and Underwood started to get involved last week.

"There's a lot of different people touching it," said Doeren. "We're definitely improved in that area."

Because of the depth at the position, Doeren believes the rotating keeps players focused and involved each game.

"That's just something we do because of the tempo," he said. "We want to have fresh guys out there so when you have six or seven guys on the bus at that position they all know they are going to play."


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