With standout tackle John McCargo due to a foot injury, Tyler is now starting for the Wolfpack.
"I'm definitely getting more reps, but it's still the same," Demarcus Tyler told Pack Pride. "I still play as if John was there with me. I have the same opportunity because I'm on the field, it just feels I'm into the game more because I am getting more playing time.
"It's really no different. I still try to play as if John was out there because we miss him on the field. He was important to our defense, but I'm just trying to step up."
Tyler and NC State's heralded defensive front have lived up to the lofty expectations in the Wolfpack's last two outings. In particular, the unit played very well against Southern Miss, a team that featured an experienced and talented offensive line.
"We watched a lot of film on those guys, and we respected that they had some athletes up front," Tyler said. "But, we had a lot of motivation coming out of the Wake Forest game. Mario [Williams] helped motivate me, and we got into the backfield and disrupted some things. They had a good offensive line, but we came out there with our 'A' game."
Tyler admits that the stellar play of Mario Williams, NC State's star 6-foot-7, 290-pound defensive end, has motivated the entire defense. In his last two games, Williams has tallied 16 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks.
"The whole season, we knew we could make the plays and it is now starting to happen," Tyler said. "Coach Amato told us that we're good but we can always be better, and we are playing with that mindset. It started with Wake Forest and ever since then we've wanted to just pound people.
|Tyler and Williams combine on the sack|
"With Mario starting it for us, it motivates guys like me even more. With him playing at such a high level, it makes you want to make more plays."
Tyler played a season-high 62 snaps against the Golden Eagles, recording four tackles, a sack, and a quarterback pressure.
At 6-foot-2, 295-pounds, the junior doesn't possess the quickness of Williams, Manny Lawson or fellow defensive tackles Demario Pressley and McCargo. However, he is arguably the strongest player on NC State's roster, boasting a 525-pound bench press, and uses that strength to his advantage when on the gridiron.
"I just try to go in there with a negative attitude and hit somebody as hard as I can every snap," Tyler said. "I haven't been blessed with all the speed in the world, but coach tells me to just put my hand down and go. I try to follow out my assignment and hit somebody as hard as I can on every play."
This weekend the Wolfpack defense faces another stiff challenge in Florida State. The Seminoles feature an offensive line loaded with prep All-Americans.
"I respect their offensive line a lot," Tyler said. "They have some big guys and are real aggressive on film. We are going to go out there and try to feed off of our last game. We just want to carry that effort over and keep it going. Our job is to disrupt and make plays and that is what we are going to try and do."
FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium is one of the loudest football venues in the country. Tyler played at Florida State as a true freshman, a 50-44 overtime loss in 2003, and he remembers the raucous crowd.
"It's a hostile environment," he said. "I was on the sidelines and heard it from the fans, but I stayed into the game. We just want to go down there and make their house our home."