Camp Amato: Friday Practice News and Notes

<B>Raleigh, NC --</b> Amato's thoughts on tomorrow's scrimmage, middle linebackers Stephen Tulloch and Oliver Hoyte, and safeties coach Manny Diaz among other notes are highlighted today.

Good Practice Sets the Stage for Second Scrimmage
NC State bounced back from a "terrible" practice on Thursday to have a "good" workout today according to Wolfpack Head Coach Chuck Amato.

NC State now prepares for its second scrimmage of the fall which will be held Saturday morning, and Amato hopes to see improvement in all phases of the game.

"Improvement... improvement," Amato said. "We've got to correct mistakes. Last week in the scrimmage we had too many fumbles. Last week in the scrimmage we had too many penalties. Last week in the scrimmage we had too many missed assignments. We've just got to correct mistakes."

NC State running backs T.A. McLendon and Reggie Davis will be held out of tomorrow's scrimmage as both have hamstring pulls. This will allow freshmen Darrell Blackman and Bobby Washington to receive the majority of the carries and gain valuable experience.

"No, I hope we can hold them out and let them two youngsters get all the work," Amato said. "It's been a blessing for them. They are in there with trial and error and you can't get any better than that."

Blackman and Washington are both working with the first-team offenses and will without question figure into the mix at running back this fall.

Tulloch, Hoyte Impressing
One position battle that hasn't received much coverage but could be one of the best during practices has been at the middle linebacker spot. Both Oliver Hoyte and Stephen Tulloch performed exceptional last season and look to anchor the middle this year for the Wolfpack.

Amato feels that both players are looking good thus far.

"Tulloch is, and this may sound like a mouthful, he's probably the best five-foot ten-inch linebacker...," Amato said. "He's a playmaker and he makes some mistakes... he'll play a little streetball. He's a playmaker, and he's got to be on the field."

"Oliver came in the best shape that he has," Amato added. "He's a big kid that can move. We're looking for big things from him this year, and he's got to step it up."

At the moment it looks like Hoyte has the early edge for the starting spot, but Tulloch's versatility allows him to play at all three linebacker positions.

Both players will receive plenty of playing time in '04.

A Smooth Transition for Diaz

NC State assistant Manny Diaz is now coaching the safeties after spending the past two seasons working with the linebackers. Diaz replaced Chris Demarest who left to coach defensive backs at Rutgers.

His hard work and desire to be the best is what makes Diaz such a great coach according to Amato.

"Manny Diaz is one of the smartest individuals that I've ever been around," Amato said. "He goes and visits places, visits colleges, and watch people that coach his position teach and coach. He'll ask questions... and he knows the whole scheme."

"He wants to be good at what he's doing," Amato added. "He wants to become at some point a coordinator and at some point a head coach. And you know what? He probably will."

Diaz is also gaining a reputation as being a very good recruiter, as evidenced by the comments from Hargrave Military Academy Head Coach Robert Prunty.

"Manny is recruiting up here for State now and he really does a good job," said Prunty. "He's going to be a great recruiter. He has that little knack to be a great communicator. I think before it's all over with Diaz is going to be a big-time recruiter."


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