NC State was back at work this afternoon preparing for next week's Richmond game and had an intense, spirited practice according to Head Coach Chuck Amato.
"We had a very intense practice today," Amato said. "The intensity was at a high level. They are tired of hitting the same guy over and over again, but it was good. It was really, really good."
NC State will not have full contact workouts again until next Monday. Tomorrow's the first scheduled press conference of the season with quarterback Jay Davis and defensive tackle John McCargo representing the players. Coach Amato will also meet with the media at the luncheon.
Tomorrow evening the team will have a game dress rehearsal and the players have Saturday and Sunday off. Practice resumes Monday afternoon.
Davis Brings the Thunder
Sophomore Reggie Davis impressed today with his hard-nosed running style during the goalline drill. The 6'2 230 pound bruising tailback left an impression on Amato.
"Reggie Davis had a good practice in short-yardage during goalline," Amato said. "He brought the intensity up on both teams... running people over or someone knocking him flat on his fanny."
Davis will be a great option for NC State this year during goalline and short-yardage situations. He runs with terrific body lean and stays behind his pads.
Junior T.A. McLendon did not practice again today. When asked if his star running back practiced, Amato simply said, "No."
McLendon may be ready to go next Monday as the team prepares for Richmond. With three days off to rest his hamstring, it's probable that the 2002 ACC Rookie of the Year will be able to go next week.
Amato Likes Jean at Wide Receiver
Early in fall practice the Wolfpack moved red-shirt freshman tight end Jamesley Jean to wide receiver. The Tampa, Florida native has made a fairly smooth transition to the new position.
"He's a big wide receiver," Amato said. "He was an outstanding high school football player. It came down to us and LSU, and Florida was in it. He's got really, really good hands. He's doing well, and he's got a lot to learn. He's made some outstanding catches out there."
Jean red-shirted last season and is behind some talented players at wide receiver. However, at 6'4 and nearly 225 pounds, he's a huge target for any quarterback. If he continues to progress and grows comfortable with playing in space, Jean could make a major contribution in the future as a wide receiver.
Williams More Confident and Ready to Roll
You can see it by just observing him. The walk's different, he's physically more mature, and most importantly Mario Williams knows it. The 6'7 290 pound sophomore defensive end is ready for the 2004 season.
"My confidence level is extremely high right now," Williams said. "It's much higher than it was this time last year because I've been through a season already. Now I know what to expect, and I'm ready for it."
"I'm prepared, and I think the entire team is prepared," he added. "It's about time to hit somebody different."
Why else is he feeling more confident? A defensive line that also features John McCargo, Dwayne Herndon, Tank Tyler, and Manny Lawson returns nearly everybody from last season. There's some pretty good talent around him, and Williams feels that will only allow him to have an even better season.
"They are making everything a lot easier for me," he said. "You've got John in the middle disrupting everything... he's a great player. We've got Dwayne and Tank battling for that other spot and both of them are dominating. Then we got Manny coming off the edge and flushing everything my way. Having those guys really helps me out, and I think we all are going to have a big year."