A Matchup Problem

NC State needs more players to step up and make plays, and sophomore tight end David Grinnage has started to do just that for the Wolfpack.

NC State needs more players to step up and make plays, and sophomore tight end David Grinnage has started to do just that for the Wolfpack.

Grinnage flashed his big-play ability in the ACC opener against Florida State when he hauled in four catches for 87 yards, including a 45-yarder that led to a touchdown. After being held to zero catches for Clemson, Grinnage has responded with three touchdown grabs in the Wolfpack's next two games, including two last Saturday at Louisville.

"I feel more confident than I was," said Grinnage. "It is really not just me feeling more confidence though. It is my teammates helping me... it's up to my teammates playing together."

"David is really attacking the ball in the air and catching it," said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. "[He's] doing a lot of things. He's out at receiver as a wide tight end, on the move as an H. He's a matchup issue, and he's in a lot of locations for defenses.

"Jacoby trusts him, and he's a big target at 6-foot-7, 260 pounds... he runs well. He's a dynamic player at that position."

When it comes to Grinnage, Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett's approach is simple.

"I just have to put it in his area, and he'll find a way to go get it," said Brissett. "He's a great player. he's been progressing as the year has gone, and you can see him becoming a huge factor for this offense. I feel as if no one can guard him."

Grinnage was recently named to the Mackey Award midseason watch list, an award given to the top tight end in the country. Through eight games, he's totaled 17 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns.

What has made Grinnage so pivotal to NC State's offense is his versatility. He's 260 pounds, but against Louisville, he spent the majority of the game flexed out at wide receiver. He's capable of playing a more traditional tight end role, and Grinnage can also line up in the backfield at H-back.

"He's a matchup problem," said offensive coordinator Matt Canada. "He's a big body that can run and catch the ball. We'll get him matched up on linebackers and safeties, and he can make plays. That's what we've been able to do."

"We knew David was good, but we didn't know he could do all the different things he's doing right now," added Doeren. "David was playing the X [last game]. That was new... he was out there at receiver and that was good for him."

With the Wolfpack in the middle of their first bye week, Grinnage and the rest of his teammates are working on fundamentals and preparing for an upcoming road game against Syracuse.

What is the approach he's taking?

"We are working so hard and we are finally coming back together as a team," he said. "It is just hurting us more and more to see it going downhill. We have to just got to come out of this bye week and get ready for the next game so that we can come out and get the win."

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