"I'm pretty good getting most of my strength back," Dwayne Herndonsaid. "I feel fine and the line is in good shape."
Most offensive line coaches try and establish chemistry between their linemen, often playing five together an entire game so they can become familiar with each other and learn how to work together. However, NC State has taken a different approach this season, mainly because of the injuries. The Wolfpack has frequently rotated Herndon, sophomore Kalani Heppe, and senior John McKeon at both guard spots.
"We've got another senior that wants to play too so we're basically rotating the three guards," Herndon said. "Things are going pretty good with that."
Does Herndon feel the constant rotating may prevent the Wolfpack line from developing chemistry?
"I think it can create some problems because you can't get a feel for the game," he said. "Once you start going and get warmed up real good it's his turn to go. It's kind of frustrating at the same time, but we've got to do whatever is possible. Everybody wants to play."
NC State's offense has struggled in recent games, but this week they will play a Wake Forest defense that is last in the ACC in total defense, yielding 405.7 yards per game. The Wolfpack guard is still impressed with what he has seen on film.
"They come off the ball good," Herndon said of Wake's defense. "#40 is a tough middle linebacker... he's a hard-nosed guy. They are a another hard-nosed football team like any other that we play."
In the end, Herndon feels it is going to come down to what NC State can do. The Wolfpack cannot worry about what their opponent is doing. Instead they need to focus on limiting mistakes and establishing a running game. NC State enters the game averaging just 95.4 yards per contest on the ground.
"We've got to do the right things," Herndon said. "We can't have any more mental errors, just hit the right targets, the right linebackers, and open up the running game. If the running game opens up then we can start passing.
"That's going to be the big thing for us... getting the ground game going. It's always the key in any football game because then they are going to bite on play-action."
The Wolfpack's struggles on the ground have been a concern because during the preseason most believed NC State had perhaps the deepest stable of running backs in the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, it's tough to run the ball if there are no lanes to rush through.
"All our guys can run the ball," Herndon said. "It's about us opening the holes. That's the frustrating thing about it. We go back and look at film and see how we're not opening up holes for them on the edges or inside. We haven't done that as much as we need to so that's the biggest problem."