Tuesday Practice News and Notes

<B>Raleigh, NC --</b> Amato's thoughts on the health of his running backs, the potential five-year rule, and some notes from sophomore linebacker Steve Tulloch are in today's practice report.

McLendon Ready? We'll Know Friday
Naturally the first question today centered around the health of running back T.A. McLendon and Wolfpack Head Coach Chuck Amato says we'll know about T.A. on Friday.

"Friday the report comes out, and don't ask me again," Amato said. "Friday is when the report comes out. Right now the running back situation is just the way it was the other day when you guys got all those depth charts."

"You know, I don't even remember what I put on there," he added. "Look at it."

With T.A. not practicing the past two weeks due to a hamstring injury, freshmen tailbacks Darrell Blackman and Bobby Washington have received the majority of practice reps. Expectations are rising for the two youngsters, and Amato again pointed out today that they are still only freshmen.

"Just remember, these running backs are freshmen," he said. "They are freshmen and freshmen make freshmen mistakes. They've got talent, they've never played in a varsity game in their life. They have never played in front of that many people who are going to be at that game on Saturday."

With the Richmond game looming just a few days away, Wolfpack fans (just like the players) are ready for the season to start.

"People bought seats knowing that a third of them are not going to see the whole football field," Amato said. "And I let those guys know that everyday. We'll find out Saturday a whole lot about this football team."

Don't Expect the Red-shirts
There's no doubt that Amato's in favor of the five-year rule that's under consideration.

"I hope it happens, and I hope it happens soon," Amato said. "That fifth-year senior is so much more mature. How about a Philip Rivers could be back playing his fifth year?"

By giving players five years of eligibility, it not only helps them develop more as a player but gives a legitimate reason for finishing their academic careers.

"The other thing is the academic end of it," Amato said. "That's probably as big a thing in this issue. Giving them a chance to get their degree."

It appears the rule is a given to pass in the near future, and possibly as early as this year. Should we expect the NC State to still red-shirt the freshmen?

"We're not red-shirting anybody this year," Amato said. "We're not going to red-shirt anybody this year because of that. Hopefully [it will happen] sometime in the next five years, and if it's retroactive, what's the point in red-shirting them?"

Tulloch Can't Wait
One player that's received a great deal of praise from Amato this fall has been sophomore linebacker Steve Tulloch. He's definitely a player who could have a breakout season in 2004, and he's ready for Richmond to come to Raleigh.

"I can't wait and it's only a few days away," Tulloch said. "Our minds are focused on Richmond this year and that's it. We're ready to hit somebody."

Tulloch's had a chance to watch a little of Richmond on film, but pointed out that their new head coach recently arrived from Fordham so they've also studied Fordham's scheme from last season. He did mention one Spider who has caught his attention.

"They have a good quarterback," Tulloch said. "Their quarterback is real mobile and he's the starting point guard on the basketball team so we know he can move. They look pretty good on film so we're going to have to be ready to go."

After finishing with 65 tackles his freshman year, Tulloch came back this fall believing that he can be even better as a sophomore.

"I'm much faster and much quicker this year," he said. "My instincts are off the charts right now, and I think I'm going to have a real good season last year. Way better than last year, and I thought I had a good season last year."

Tulloch's currently backing up Oliver Hoyte at middle linebacker and Pat Thomas at weakside linebacker while starting in the Wolfpack's dime package. The NC State coaches are making it a point to give him more reps this season because of his big-play ability.

Quote of the Day: "That man's going to be the next Bill Cowher!" -- Wolfpack Wide Receiver Brian Clark on Stephen Tulloch

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