"We're very blessed and thankful to have the Close-King facility, and today is why we built it," said head coach Dave Doeren. "The rain started around period 10, and we sprinted inside. A minute and a half later we were in dry weather practicing... didn't miss a beat. It was awesome."
Doeren stated last year when construction began that it was pivotal to building the program so there was no reason for him to temper his excitement.
"It was great," Doeren added. "To be in dry weather, with dry footballs, getting good video... it was a big day for us."
HINES MAKING PLAYS
For NC State's offense to take the next step improvements must be made at wide receiver, and one player who could impact is true freshman Nyheim Hines. A standout from local Garner High School, Hines mainly played tailback for the Trojans but is already making plays at wideout for the Wolfpack.
"Nyheim Hines was nervous early on but not anymore," said Doeren. "After you've been here a week it feels like a month. Especially as much as we're working right now in two-a-days. He's doing really well. He's making plays."
Hines was one of NC State's top signees in the 2015 recruiting class, as multiple elite programs valued his versatility and playmaking ability. He can put points on the board from multiple positions, is explosive, and has outstanding quickness. Another trait is flashing to Doeren.
"He's very competitive," said Doeren. "That's what we thought when we recruited him. We knew he was blessed, and he's ultra competitive.
"He's showing that in practice."
A PASSION FOR THE GAME
Attend NC State practices and you'll quickly be able to spot defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen. Young and energetic, Nielsen is constantly in motion and always coaching, instructing his position group.
According to Doeren, each practice is a personal test for Nielsen.
"Ryan has a passion for the game of football," said Doeren. "Those d-linemen are his kids, that's how he looks at them. He takes their performance, positive or negative, as his personal achievement that day."
Nielsen has a lot of talent to work with. The Pack has just one scholarship senior on the defensive line and could legitimately go four-deep at defensive tackle and three-deep at defensive end. Youngsters like Monty Nelson, B.J. Hill, and Pharoah McKever have been difference makers in games and senior Mike Rose is one of the top returning defensive ends in the ACC.
They are learning from Nielsen who is also still learning as a coach.
"He's a great teacher," said Doeren. "He strives to learn, and he's always on the cutting edge with fundamentals and technique. He's a good listener. He'll listen to what coach Huxtable wants and will apply it to his meeting room."