Crouch: 'It's Just Been So Intense This Week'

NC State freshman Curtis Crouch isn't fazed by much. Admittedly a quiet person by nature, the lineman from Fayetteville, North Carolina is still in awe of receiving his first college playing experience.

NC State freshman Curtis Crouch isn't fazed by much. Admittedly a quiet person by nature, the lineman from Fayetteville, North Carolina is still in awe of receiving his first college playing experience.

Crouch played 34 snaps against Eastern Kentucky, recording a 'Raleigh Railroad' against an unfortunate Colonel defender, when Crouch drove him five yards off the ball on one rushing play.

"Being out there, just trying to get the nervousness out of me, I think I did okay," he said. "I still could have done even better than I did, but I feel like just being out there will help me in the long run."

Did Crouch think he would play as early in the season as he did?

"Not at the beginning," he said. "Actually I was still thinking I would redshirt. You never know if somebody gets hurt or they just continue to like what they see out of me."

The freshman believes his focused demeanor led to him being the first Wolfpack true freshman offensive lineman to play in a college game.

"I do what the coaches say," Crouch said. "I can move and block well. I just try and pay attention and stay focused."

What may have surprised Crouch is the position that he is being groomed to play. After spending his entire high school career at right tackle, he moved inside to right guard shortly after fall practice began. The move may have come as a shock at first, but the 6-foot-5, 350-pound Crouch believes it may eventually be a better fit for him on the college level.

"Actually, I think I'm better at guard than tackle," he said. "I just feel quicker, and that's better for the guard position. When they showed me how to play guard, it just felt easier. I'm athletic for my size and can move so I like being able to do that. I like it there."

Another factor that probably makes Crouch feel even more comfortable is the abundance of talent NC State has at running back. Blessed with five above-average tailbacks, NC State has a chance to be one of the league's best running teams this season and that brings a smile to Crouch's face, who is accustomed to blocking for good running backs. During his senior season, Crouch was the top blocker for E.E. Smith's Carter Sharpe, a junior this year for the Golden Bulls who is arguably the state's top running back prospect in the 2007 class.

"Since my career started in football, it seems like I've always been around great running backs," Crouch said. "Even back in high school I had one. My senior year we had a great running back. Toney Baker, a freshman, shows great things are coming up soon here for us.

"I can't really explain how it feels with good backs behind you. I know when I get on my block someone good will be back there, and they will find that hole to run through."

This week Crouch and NC State's opponent is in-state rival North Carolina. However, he admits that he hasn't felt that intense rivalry feeling that he sees from some of his older teammates.

"Honestly, I really don't know the true emotional feeling that some of my teammates are feeling," Crouch stated. "They seem focused... really focused. It's beyond playing sometimes. I understand rivalries from playing in Fayetteville, but I really don't know this emotional feeling right now."

Has he noticed a difference in practice this week with the Tar Heel game looming on Saturday?

"Yes, it has been more mentally intense," Crouch said. "It's just been so intense this week because we are so focused."

With starting right guard Dwayne Herndon listed as probable for Saturday's contest, Crouch may be called upon to play against the Tar Heels. Don't expect his calm demeanor to change, even if he's playing against the Wolfpack's hated rival.

"I'm just going to keep doing my job," he said. "If I play I'm going to do what I can to help us win."


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