“We have got to get back to believing in each other and that the person next to us is going to do his job so we can play at 100 percent all of the time,” Grinnage said. “Every team wants to get to that bowl. Knowing that you are only two or three games away from getting to a bowl, it just gives us an extra push.”
State travels to Louisville on Saturday looking to end a three-game losing streak while also getting its first victory in ACC play since defeating Boston College in the 2012 regular season finale.
Grinnage is doing his part and continues to improve. After finishing strong last season, including nine catches in the final six games, the tight end has posted solid numbers in 2014. His 14.3 yards per reception is a team-best and he has hauled in 14 passes, including one touchdown.
For his efforts, Grinnage was named to the Mackey Award Watch List on Monday. NC State head coach Dave Doeren is thrilled to see the recognition he is receiving. The second-year coach believes it is a direct result of the work Grinnage has put in and considers him to be an offensive weapon that he can depend on.
“David is playing hard,” Doeren said at his Monday press conference. “He is so much mentally tougher than he was when I first got here. I am proud of him for his work and the way that he has developed, not just on the field but off the field. He is handling his business. There are great things ahead for David if he keeps on the same track he is on. I think there is a trust between our quarterback and him. That is where it all starts.”
Grinnage, while happy to receive praise for his performance in 2014, defers all credit and feels his numbers are a direct reflection of the teammates he plays with and who he is playing for.
“I was excited,” Grinnage recalled when he heard about the Mackey Award Watch List release. “I was glad. It is to my teammates and to my coaches. Without them, I would not be able play the position that suits my strengths. I am blessed.”
Redshirt junior tight end Benton Browne pairs with Grinnage both on and off the field. The duo has developed a close friendship and, like Doeren, Browne feels it is his work ethic that is taking him to a higher level of play.
“[We] are really close,” Browne said. “I am proud of him and very happy to see that for him. He worked really hard; he is a very hard-working guy, especially over the summer and this past fall. It is coming to fruition for him. We are getting the ball to him more and he has been able to get open. He is just an all-around, really good tight end. He is a good guy and I am happy for him.”
As the Wolfpack battle the top-ranked defense of Louisville before becoming one of the last teams in the ACC to have a bye week, Grinnage feels N.C. State needs to get back to where it was offensively when the team opened with four straight wins and led then-No.1 Florida State by 17 points after one quarter.
“We have just got to come together,” Grinnage said. “The first five games we were playing great and playing as a team. We have kind of got away from that and people are starting to doubt us.
"[Louisville] has a great defense. They play hard and they play fast. We are going to have to come out, give it our all and play as a team.”