Coach Chuck Amato was upbeat following the second practice of the season. From the sound of it, both sides of the ball seem to be impressing the Wolfpack's head coach.
"It was a good practice, another good practice," said Amato. "A lot of big plays being made out there. With the offense... that's what they are suppose to be doing. We're running around on defense... again it's the second day and tomorrow we put the shoulder pads on.
"I'm so glad we got through these two days without anybody getting injured. Now we can put the shoulder pads on and get a little bit more protection and get a little bit more done."
When asked to elaborate on the big plays, Amato joked that his big offensive lineman made one of the day's longest runs.
"Curtis Crouch had an end-around for 74 yards," he joked. "No, there were some real good throws and some really good catches, which is really encouraging.
"All three of the quarterbacks had really good days. Marcus [Stone] had a real good day. I don't know the exact stats. We keep it a competitive thing, and it was right about the way it should be. 50-50 offense, defense."
NC State will be looking for a few freshmen to step up at wide receiver, and the three newcomers all flashed their ability at practice. 6-foot-5 wideouts Jarvis Williams and Darrell Davis and 6-foot-3 Donald Bowens could all see playing time this season.
"The thing I really like about them is that they all catch the ball with their hands," Amato said of his freshmen wideouts. "They all catch the ball with their hands, and they are all big. They are big, tall, and they can all jump. That's a super bonus."
Lowery Leading the Linebackers
Looking for the biggest question mark on NC State's defense? It has to be at linebacker, where the Wolfpack lost two starters and a boatload of tackles in Oliver Hoyte and Stephen Tulloch. Pat Lowery returns, and Amato has seen signs of players emerging at the position.
|"I really feel good about Reggie Davis."|
"We haven't hit anybody yet," said Amato. "We haven't hit anybody yet. I like the play of James Martin... James Martin has caught my eye. Lowery is Lowery... he's the leader in there."
Lowery will lead the linebackers from his middle linebacker position, and Amato spoke highly of the senior.
"I mean he's good," said Amato. "He's good in the box, just the way he has been the last two years. The last two years in the last half of the season when we've had some injuries, Lowery played in some big games and played really well.
"He's very instinctive and very tough. He's not the fastest guy in the world, but he's quick. He's got mental speed, he's got mental quickness."
Senior Reggie Davis has been working at weakside linebacker after moving to the position from running back this spring.
I really feel good about Reggie Davis," Amato said. "He's got a lot to learn... he's very smart, and he's really big [and] athletic. If you're looking for a linebacker, he's 6-foot-1, and they say he's 245, he's a little bit heavier than that right now. He's quick."
Amato also talked about a few of his freshmen linebackers, suggesting that all three are already receiving quality reps.
"A couple of those freshmen," said Amato. "John Ware, he's awfully quick. He's awfully, awfully quick. [Nate] Irving is... Nate, I tell you what, I like him. We've got to give him a lot... more reps. You see, he just got here.
"Cedric Hickman is learning. He's 6'1, 235 pounds and can run real fast. He's learning.
"But, no one has hit anybody yet."
Practice Schedule Taking Shape
NC State began to hit the field on a regular basis today, after taking Sunday off. Classes ended on Monday, but the players still have summer school finals.
"Today was the last day of classes," said Amato. "Wednesday and Thursday they are in finals. We're going through our acclimazation period, and we're still in school taking finals.
"We're trying to tramautize out here, and we're still trying to get them to make A's and B's in there."
Today's practice was conducted in reasonably cool temperatures after a rough thunderstorm delayed the start of practice. Amato isn't worried that his team won't get a chance to workout in the heat, with morning practices and two-a-days still ahead.
"We'll get enough heat," he said. "Tomorrow is going to be tough because we'll go in the morning. So this is like a two-a-day thing because we are getting off the field late. Tomorrow morning is going to be like pulling teeth, but we'll get enough warm weather. That's for sure."
Amato mentioned that the roster isn't complete, as the Wolfpack is waiting on a few more players, presumably Gavin Smith, Owen Spencer, and LaMarcus Bond. "We've got a couple that we're waiting on," said Amato. "With the Clearinghouse..."