With highs in the 90s all week, it's been a tough set of practices for the Wolfpack, but head coach Chuck Amato hopes they can turn it into an advantage.
"We have two traditional two-a-days, not counting the scrimmage stuff," he said. "They need to get extended in the heat, and we need to make it an advantage for us.
"It would be something that again would be in our favor if somebody comes here and is not used to it."
Today was possibly the hottest it has been, and the Wolfpack took the proper precautions to make sure the players were well-hydrated.
"It's tough," said Amato. "We gave them four water breaks today, and for the most part they pushed themselves through it pretty good... they really did."
Perhaps modern technology has helped the players handle the heat better, thanks to air-conditioned shoulder pads. The pads feature an air bladder that can be connected to an air compressor that sprays cool, air over a player's chest and back when he is on the sidelines. Amato believes the shoulder pads are now why his players run to the water cooler tents when breaks are called.
"It's the first time I've ever seen them run to the water cooler because they want to get hooked up early," he said. "They can get more than one hooked. We only have 24 stations to hook them up to, down there. The big guys, we wanted them first, and then we'd get some of those skill kids with the lower body fat."
Sacks Or Turnovers?
Truth be told, NC State would have liked to have recorded more turnovers in 2004, but at the sacrifice of sacks and negative plays? When asked what the Wolfpack can do to yield more turnovers, Amato sarcastically hinted that could be the case.
"We can not sack the quarterback," he said. "You see, we don't have to the lead the league in sacks.
"And then we might have a chance to have more turnovers because the quarterback can throw the ball down the field. And then you'll ask me why we can't get to the quarterback.
"It's really a vicious cycle. When you play man coverage, you don't get as many. But you know what, how many tackles for losses did we have? Go ask some of the people that we played."
NC State's on a mission to duplicate a defensive effort that was outstanding in 2004. After finishing the 2003 season 89th in total defense, the Pack led the country in 2004. Now the Wolfpack will look to find a nice mix in creating negative plays while also recording turnovers to win the turnover margin.
"I'd like to have it, but I think our goal is to win the turnover margin," Amato said. "And it's just like when you're playing, the goal is to score more points than the other team. If the offense is having a bad day and we only get three points, then we've got to hold the opposition to two. If the defense is having a bad day and they score 80, our offense has to score 81. That's all.
"There again, what do we do? We've finally got people who were making negative plays and putting them in situations where it's third and real long and they don't want to throw it because they want the right to punt the ball on the next down and not have a turnover."
Simply put, don't look for NC State to change anything on the defensive side of the ball.
"I think you have to bring all that into the picture, there is no doubt about it," Amato said. "But you know what? That's one thing I wouldn't change. Yeah, we'd like more, but when you lead the country in total defense in this day and age, there is something going on properly."
NC State will have its first scrimmage of the seson tomorrow evening and will have no practice on Sunday... NC State freshmen will have their first chance to talk to the media on Sunday, but the defensive line is still not available for interviews. They will be able to take photos... NC State media relations updated the measurements of the Wolfpack players on the 2005 roster at GoPack.com and a couple of heights and weights stood out. Rover Garland Heath now checks in at 6-foot-2, 225-pounds while redshirt freshman John Bedics (6-4, 288-pounds) has packed on nearly 40 pounds since arriving on campus a year ago.