Camp Amato: First Scrimmage In The Books

RALEIGH, NC -- NC State held its first scrimmage of fall practice tonight and several players had strong performances, including a heralded freshman tailback.

Quick Stats
Jay Davis -- 12-of-21 for 188 yards, one touchdown, one interception

T.J. Williams -- four catches for 64 yards (Long: 24-yards)
Anthony Hill -- three catches for 29 yards
Lamart Barrett -- two catches for 40 yards (L- 20-yards) and one touchdown
Tramain Hall -- (L- 27-yards)

Toney Baker -- 11 carries for 98 yards (L- 41 yards) one touchdown
Andre Brown -- eight carries for 32 yards

Stephen Tulloch -- seven tackles (leader), two sacks (-10 yards), one interception, one QB Pressure
John McCargo -- three sacks (-15 yards), two QBP, one PBU

With the first scrimmage of the season pushed back almost an hour due to lightning in the area, NC State was still able to get a full scrimmage in. What did Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato think?

"For our first scrimmage it wasn't bad," Amato said. "We had penalties, but not like last year at this time... which you're going to have and a lot of them were young kids. They were things that are very correctable, but again last year at this time there was probably a million of them. That was encouraging.

"Turnovers... we got a couple on defense and we only had a couple on offense. We wanted to win the turnovers with the 'ones,' and the 'one' defense got more turnovers than the 'one' offense gave up. [That] was something positive that we've really been stressing from the get go.

"We're making progress... thank goodness we don't have to play for another 21 days. The bad part is, if there is a bad part, we've got 19 more practice opportunities in the next 22 days... with one true two-a-day involved in there. It is split out enough that we can make a lot of corrections."

Amato mentioned that he wanted to get his young tailbacks, Toney Baker, Andre Brown, and Jamelle Eugene, a lot of carries tonight so they can start feeling more comfortable with the offense.

Baker had a breakout day, rushing for 98 yards on 11 carries including a 41-yard run. He also scored a touchdown on the ground as well.

"I was pleased with the young running backs," Amato said. "I don't know how many yards they made, but they can run with or without the football... real fast.

"They are still learning... everything right now is as clear as mud for all those freshmen. When they clear that up... we've got some awfully, good [young] kids. I'm really pleased."

Quarterback Jay Davis also had a solid game for the first-team defense. The redshirt senior completed 12-of-21 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown after tossing an interception on the opening drive.

"The senior leadership continues to catch my eye," Amato said. "It really does. I thought Jay did really well tonight. He actually threw a pick on the first series, and then from that point on he was really good.

The top target for Davis was standout tight end T.J. Williams. The senior had four receptions for 64 yards.

"T.J. has learned how to practice," Amato said. "He has really competed, and he wants to excel. He made some big plays out there today."

Backup quarterback Marcus Stone also did some good things according to Amato.

"We had 'ones' versus 'twos' and poor Marcus was running for himself a little bit," he said. "I belive the first drive he was in there he took them right down the field. That was the only time the first-team defense was scored on."

Heading into the season, the main question will be the Wolfpack's offensive line. Seven players return who have started ACC conference games and the Wolfpack added three "transfers" from the defensive line. Finding the right combination is now the key, and coach Amato gave no clues as to who is standing out along the offensive line.

"I see five guys," he said. "I wish we could have six. It's getting better... I'm not pleased with anything... period."

Leading the way defensively were juniors Stephen Tulloch and John McCargo. Tulloch recorded an interception, two sacks, and was the leading tackler with seven. McCargo had three sacks and a pass breakup.

NC State will not practice tomorrow as the players will meet with the media at 11:15 for interviews and photos followed by the annual "Day of Champions." Practice will resume on Monday.

Parting Shots

  • Amato said the team ended the scrimmage with minimal injuries. Sterling Hicks and Dwayne Herndon were "a little dizzy" but Amato didn't know the extent. Alan-Michael Cash had cramps and Martrel Brown suffered a stinger.

  • NC State appears to be on the verge of losing two players to academics, although Amato wouldn't mention names at this point.

    "We've got two people that it doesn't look too good for," he said. "I don't want to say anything because I'll talk to our academic people and have all the final stuff probably Monday morning. Then I'll be able to tell you exactly."

  • NC State didn't do any kicking in the evening, as they held a kicking session Saturday morning.

    "We had a good kicking session this morning, in all phases of the kicking game," Amato said. "[John] Deraney really kicked well this morning."

  • Freshman athlete Levin Neal continues to play well, and he is now working on both sides of the ball.

    "When we recruited him, we recruited him to play both sides," Amato said. "He started off on offense, and he came to me and said he could play both sides the other day and that he wanted to play a little defense too.

    "He's been working with the corners, and we are going to continue working with him on both sides. He's a talented youngster."

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