Camp O'Brien: First Day in Pads

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State put on pads for the first time during its third practice of the fall as the team prepares for its first scrimmage on Wednesday evening.

"Today is the first day in pads so its a whole new slate, its like starting all over," coach Tom O'Brien said. "We were a little slow at the start but we got better as we got to the end of practice. There wasn't a whole lot to like today but hopefully we'll be better tomorrow."

Quarterback Justin Burke said heat was a factor on Sunday, and attributed the slow start to practice to the oppressive August temperatures.

"It went well," Burke said. "It was hot out here today so we had a slow start but we kicked it into high gear at the end and I thought we did really well. We stuck with it."

The team will start two-a-days on Tuesday and hold a brief scrimmage on Wednesday evening. O'Brien said it will be the shortest scrimmage of the fall practice schedule, and one of the reasons to have a short scrimmage this early is to allow him to observe the freshmen even more.

"They are all ready to scrimmage anyway so you might as well let them go out there a little bit and tackle, get it out of their system," O'Brien said. "It gives us a chance to put some of the freshmen under fire and see if there's any guys that can play in game situations in the freshman class."

All three quarterbacks will receive equal reps in Wednesday evening's scrimmage, and the running backs will rotate similarly. O'Brien said it will probably take a couple of scrimmages before he announces anything about the starting quarterback position.

"If I can make a decision I will," O'Brien said. "When I feel comfortable making it, that's when I'll make it."

Burke looks to become leader
Burke, one of three quarterbacks vying for the starting spot this fall season, said the Wolfpack offense is coming along nicely after three practices.

"We've really picked up from where we left on in the spring," Burke said. "The running game is looking good, the passing game is going well, we're just trying to get our feet back under us. There's a lot of mental errors out there but once we get those corrected we'll be a good football team."

On a personal level, Burke said he's trying to relax a little bit more and let the game come to him. He felt he lost that ability a little bit last season and is trying to fix that mistake as a redshirt freshman. But he said his biggest concern is with becoming a team leader.

"Just trying to relax, learn the offense and be a leader," Burke said. "That's the biggest thing that we need right now – leadership out of the quarterback position. From all of us – not just one guy who may be starting or what not. All three of us need to come out and show leadership out here."

Burke said that picking up the new offense hasn't been a problem as both systems are 'very similar'. The new offense doesn't require learning a myriad of different plays, as O'Brien's quarterbacks generally don't wear a play-calling armband during games.

"We don't have 100 plays," O'Brien said. "I can't remember that many, how can they?"

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