Tuesday Practice News and Notes

<B>RALEIGH, N.C. --</b> Brief notes from Coach Amato on today's practice and right guard John McKeon on the status of the offensive line are included in this report.

Light Tuesday Practice
Thanks to a rash of injuries along the offensive line, NC State held a light practice on Tuesday. The coaching staff chose to focus on the gameplan against Clemson and preparing for the huge ACC game set for high noon on Saturday.

"It was alright," Amato responded when asked how practice went. "We did very little against each other because of the situation on the offensive line. We're not taking any chances."

"It's probably a blessing in disguise," he added. "Now you can teach, teach, and teach and get reps, reps, and reps about what's going to happen on Saturday."

The Wolfpack will practice again on Wednesday and Thursday before leaving Friday afternoon for Clemson.

'I Feel Great'
It seems like a simple formula. Take away the mistakes and turnovers, and you should win the football game.

"The games that we've lost have been because of mistakes," Amato said. "I believe in the three losses we were 12-3 turnover-wise, and that will kill you. You can't do that. You can't allow yourself to do that."

"In the games that we won the games were close," he added. "All those things were not as big."

Despite the turnovers, NC State's 4-3 on the season and played well against the Miami Hurricanes. The Wolfpack outgained the Hurricanes on offense and did a good job all night of moving the ball up the field against them. Amato remains optomistic about the team and where the season is headed.

"I feel great," he said. "Do you know how many things we did good against the #2 team in the country? We ran for approximately 60 more yards a game than they average giving up. We threw for 60 yards more than they average giving up. We had a quarterback throw for four touchdowns. When was the last time a quarterback has thrown for four touchdowns against them?"

"We're coaches and we've got to correct errors and build on [positives]," Amato added. "We had 299 yards in the first half. Most people don't get that in 60 minutes against them. How many teams rush for that many yards against them? How many running backs in the last five years have rushed for almost 150 yards against them? Not many, and we've got to build on that."

The Wolfpack must now face a Clemson defense that has held its last two opponents under 200 yards of total offense.

McKeon Ready for Clemson

Any concerns NC State has right now is about the offensive line, as starters Leroy Harris and Derek Morris were injured against Miami and will probably not play this weekend at Clemson. Right guard John McKeon believes they have some younger players capable of stepping up and making plays along the line.

"Well, right now we have guys who are going to come in and step up, guys who have been practicing all year," McKeon said. "Just because they haven't played in the games doesn't mean that they don't know what they are doing. We usually rotate so it shouldn't be a problem. The guys have to step in and do the right thing."

Clemson's defensive front is one of the best in the ACC, and NC State must be up to the challenge.

"They are real athletic, fast, and big guys," McKeon said. "They play a lot like our defensive line. Real fast, athletic guys. It's going to be a challenge, and it's going to be fun."

As of now it appears the starting offensive line would be Chris Colmer at left tackle, James Newby at left guard, Luke Lathan at center, John McKeon at right guard, and Jon Holt at right tackle, all assuming Harris is unable to go. Derek Morris has already been ruled out of the Clemson contest.

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