Eugene: 'We Just Wanted to Pound the Ball'

Redshirt freshman tailback Jamelle Eugene saw his first action in the Red and White on Saturday vs. Appalachian State.

Redshirt freshman tailback Jamelle Eugene saw his first action in the Red and White on Saturday vs. Appalachian State. The 5-10, 202-pounder carried 10 times for 30 yards, breaking two tackles in the process. The Naples, Fla., native took a little time after practice on Wednesday to speak to Pack Pride about his role in the Wolfpack backfield.

What was it like to take the field again? Did it feel like you hadn't played in a while?
It definitely seemed like I hadn't played in a while; it seemed like about three or four years. It was good to get carries. Most of it was just really clock management, trying to ice the game. It was more like biting the bullet for the team and just trying to hold onto the ball and keep the chains moving.

Were you anxious at all, since it seemed like so long since you had played?
I was more just ready. With all the buildup, preparation and built-up adrenalin, I was just ready to get into the game and play some football. It had been a while.

Most people felt like you might be a cornerback here at NC State. Did you think you would get a shot on offense?
That was one of the main reasons [I came to State]; I figured I'd get a shot. As far as my first year, I thought I might be in the slot or something like that. I was a little smaller than the other guys, so [I thought] they were probably going to put me in the slot for my first year, then move me to running back my next year. That was mostly what the talk was about.

And DB was more just [because of] the depth at running back that we had, and I guess the lack of depth or inexperience at the defensive back position. But everything worked out and I'm happy. God blessed me.

When you saw Darrell Blackman move to wide receiver and Reggie Davis move to linebacker, were you thinking, "I'll have some chances to play here now"?
I felt like from the get-go I could play here. It's just that we had guys that were talented at the position, already established, and it was just more like they didn't need [help at] that position at the time.

I just needed a shot really, and I'm still working on getting there.

State fans know who Toney Baker is and they know who Brown is. But how do you describe your style to people who haven't seen you play?

I'm just a balanced back, all-purpose. Whatever you need. If you need me to take it through the middle of the defense, or you want me to bounce it outside, catch balls, block … whatever you want, that's what I do.

Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman has mentioned that he has packages that have you in the slot or at wide receiver. Are you ready for those types of challenges?
Oh yeah, definitely. I played a little slot in high school. They'll just put me out there and it's really one-on-one with a linebacker or a safety... and that's a mismatch every time.

State only put up 36 yards passing in the opener. What would you say to the people who wonder about State's passing attack?
It's more of a misperception. We're more of a passing team than most people think. It's just that, at the time, we weren't really trying to show other teams what we had. We felt like we had gotten a couple of plays off that we tried to get off, and we just wanted to pound the ball and get the game over with so we can get in the locker room and add a win.

So part of the thought process was to keep the game plan simple so future opponents wouldn't have a lot of tape on you?
It was definitely part of the thought process, but it was more like something that, we felt like we had the running game working and we didn't have to share everything we had. And we just kept rolling with it and tried to get the quarterback a couple of throws and get his eyes open and the receivers some balls, but that running game was working really good and we just felt like we didn't have to use anything else.

How competitive are the running backs? Do you check for most carries, yards and things like that?
We're all competitors, especially being at the same position, but it's up to the running backs coach, Dick Portee, and the offensive coordinator [to decide] who gets the most carries and the most touches. But I know that everybody, Sunday morning, we're all looking for the stats, yards per carry, big touchdowns and things like that. And of course, we're tight enough that we still respect everybody's talent and we're hoping that the next guy has great stats and everything else.

Since the game plan was simplified for Appalachian State, what are you expecting from the Akron game?
I expect it to be a good game. It's going to be mostly a battle in the trenches, with the line and the linebackers, and then the receivers on the perimeter. But I think things are going to open up a little bit more, and you're going to start seeing more of the offense.


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