NC State quarterback Jay Davis has struggled the past two games, but with Marcus Stone injured the Wolfpack had no other options on the bench to relieve Davis against Georgia Tech and Clemson. Stone practiced today, but has the time off hindered any potential development?
"It hinders the fact that Marcus isn't able to get in the game," Chuck Amato said today following practice. "But, he's been to meetings, and he practiced a bit today. We'll see how it feels tomorrow."
"Like you said, the biggest factor is he couldn't do anything in the Clemson game, and he couldn't do anything in the Georgia Tech game," he added. "He did miss two weeks of practice and the possibility of 15-20 snaps in any one of those games."
Stone last played two weeks ago against the Miami Hurricanes. The red-shirt freshman injured his knee in the game and also re-injured his wrist. Despite the injuries, he appears almost ready to go for Florida State, and if he responds well from today's practice he'll likely see action against the Seminoles.
"He did a lot cautiously," Amato said. "It's going to be interesting to see how he feels in the morning... if there's any soreness or stiffness."
"If he's ready to go, he's going to be able to help and he will."
The Wolfpack will practice again tomorrow afternoon and expect Stone to receive reps again on Tuesday.
Senior Night Special for Amato
The Wolfpack will honor their seniors Thursday night in what will be their last home game. Wolfpack stars such as Pat Thomas, Andre Maddox, Troy Graham, Chris Colmer, and Lamont Reid will play their final home game at Carter-Finley stadium, and Amato admits it will be a special night.
"It means a lot to me because I've been very sentimental when I talk to kids about playing in their last home game," Amato said. "Moreso in their very last game, than in their last home game."
Sure, Senior Night should have the Wolfpack pumped up, but playing the Seminoles may pump them up even more.
"It's going to help because it's the seniors last game in Carter-Finley, Amato said. "I don't know what more can help them though than playing a team of the magnitude of Florida State University."
NC State's 2-2 against Florida State under Chuck Amato, and the last time they faced NC State was ironically coming off a three game losing streak. The Wolfpack responded with a 17-7 victory over the Seminoles in Carter-Finley stadium two years ago.
McLendon Not Lacking Confidence
There's no secret about what's plagued NC State during their three-game losing streak: penalties and turnovers.
"We're going to have to play the game and do something to stop making those mistakes we're making," running back T.A. McLendon said. "Penalties and turnovers will kill you, and I think that's what has really been killing us. When you have those it's hard to win the game... as you can see with these three in a row."
Maybe the problem is NC State's playing to not fumble and to not throw interceptions, leading to those mistakes. McLendon believes that once you begin to worry about a turnover, that's likely when they will happen.
"I don't worry about it because that's when you do fumble," he said. "If I do fumble I can't do anything about it. It's done and it's over with, and you've got to start over and play your game. If you go out there worried about things, that's when something bad happens. Just go out and play hard and play your game."
This Thursday the Wolfpack faces perhaps their stiffest test, as Florida State brings one of the nation's top defenses to Raleigh. Tough particularly against the run, the Seminoles will try and stop McLendon early. The junior running back knows he will face a good defense, but feels it's been that way all season.
"They are just like our defense in that they are good," McLendon said. "It's not like any other defense we haven't played this year. All the teams play hard. They are in the top 25, but who cares? They are just another team to me, Miami was too. We're going to play hard, and we've got to win these last two. There's going to be a lot of emotion, and we're going to go out there looking for a win."
It's going to be emotional because some of McLendon's teammates will be playing their final home game.
"It's going to be very, very emotional," he said. "It's our senior's last game, and they don't want to go out with a loss in the Carter. I'm sure they are all going to play with everything to win, just like I'm going to do for them because I want them to go to a bowl game. I don't want the seniors to not go to a bowl game like they regularly do. It's like a tradition for us, and if we don't get to a bowl it's going to look bad for them and us.
"That's what we want to do," he added. "We want to get them to an extra game because they deserve it."