Pack At Nearly Full Strength

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Because of ACC rules NC State isn't required to publicly release an injury report, but Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren gave some insight on the team's health status heading into Saturday's game against Syracuse.

Because of ACC rules NC State isn't required to publicly release an injury report, but Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren gave some insight on the team's health status heading into Saturday's game against Syracuse.

"We're pretty clear, but we're still a little banged up," said Doeren. "Drew Davis practiced yesterday and today, and hopefully he'll good. He'll be a game-day guy for us at defensive end and Bradley Chubb is still coming back from his ankle, but he ran around pretty good today.

"Other than that, we'll have everybody that we didn't have in the last couple of games, aside from the kids that are out for the season."

The big boost is at defensive tackle. The Wolfpack played just three defensive tackles at Louisville, as T.Y. McGill was serving a suspension and they were also without freshman Justin Jones and sophomore Monty Nelson.

Louisville was able to establish a ground game late against the Wolfpack, and some of that could have been due to that lack of depth in the trenches.

"We don't have T.Y. [McGill] yet, we'll have him after this week, but it's better than it has been," said Doeren. "Justin Jones is back, and he's good. Pharoah McKever is back, so we'll have a better rotation.

"[Syracuse is] an up-tempo team so you'd like to have that depth that can help you throughout the game and have your starters more fresh in the fourth quarter."

One starter who did return was left guard Joe Thuney, who had missed four games due to an illness. How did Doeren think Thuney performed in his first game back?

"He was a little rusty, but he played good for being out as long as he was," Doeren said. "He fell down a couple of times I think, but he played hard. Him and Rob [Crisp] had a good chemistry together... you could see the movement on that side of the line was increased from where it was.

"Getting those two guys out here together during the bye week was critical. I'm excited to see some of the progression in the run game because of that."

At nearly full strength, NC State can attack these final four games with a single goal in mind: reaching postseason play.

"That's what I told them last week... hit the reset button," said Doeren. "There's really three phases to the season: the four non-conference games that we had, the four in a row, and now we have four more.

"I said it earlier in the week. What happened has happened and what's in front of us is in front of us. That's what we need to focus our attention on, a strong finish, and it starts with this game this week."

PARTING SHOT
NC State will get back the players who missed the game against Louisville due to the BB Gun incident, and Doeren believes they learned from their mistakes.

"Anytime you go through adversity, you're humbled and you have to learn the hard way," he said. "It's embarrassing, and I think that brings things back into perspective for guys. I think it was a great lesson. It was an unfortunate situation, but I think they all handled it the right way.

"I'm seeing, like you'd expect to see when a young guy makes a mistake, you see them grow up."


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