NC State held their annual media day this past weekend and Pack Pride was on hand to speak with many of the team's current players in a Q&A session. In this edition we talk with Wolfpack WR Darrell Blackman.
Pack Pride: Can you believe you've already reached your senior season at NC
It's been a long, hard run. A lot of things have happened, a lot of changes. It's just amazing how fast it goes and how fast you have to mature to get through this process.
Pack Pride: Did coming off a losing season leave a bad taste in you're mouth
headed into this year?
It was a big eye opener. I had never been a part of a team that was under .500 or anything like that. I'd never been on a losing team and that really left a bad taste in my mouth. That was just a big eye opener just to get back because I know we're a better team than that and we have better athletes than a 3-9 record. We've just got to get back to that stage when Philip Rivers was here- just moving up and down the field and putting points on the board. We've got the athletes and the players to do that so we've just got to put it together. We've just got to make sure we've got that one leader behind center that can lead us and take us to that place.
Pack Pride: ESPN has profiled you as one of the top kick returners in the
country. What's it like to watch yourself on national TV?
That's like a dream come true because as a kid I was always into football and watching ESPN and watching the big plays. I always said I wanted to be one of those people that people watch on ESPN that's making big plays and big returns. I've always tried to work on that from high school to Hargrave to now. And finally it's happening and it's like a dream come true to see myself on national TV making plays for my team.
Pack Pride: How excited are you about the new kickoff rules where the ball is
moved five yards back on kickoffs?
I got real excited about that because it's not going to be a lot of kicking the ball out of the endzone and trying to keep it away from the returners. Now we get a chance to make more plays for our team and that's going to be really exciting because I think that's one thing that livens the game and keeps the crowd in the game. They like to see big plays and people making big returns for their team.
Pack Pride: How is the wide receiver group coming together as a unit?
I think we're coming along good and we're real close. Everything we do, we do together. If it's team meals, we sit together, eat together just to build that chemistry between us. With me and John Dunlap being seniors, we know with the other receivers being young, we know they're going to play so we just try to keep them upbeat and keep them with us because we've been around and been through the changes. We just try to stay together and make sure they're in the same boat as we are because this is our last run and there's no more college football after this year for us so we just try to keep them together and try to make them the best we can for this year.
Pack Pride: Have you changed any of the schemes because of the change in
We come at it with the same approach with the blocking schemes. They just moved it back so it's not going to affect the return team as much as it does the kickoff team with them coming down five yards deeper and they've got to cover more ground. So that helps the return team because we get a little five yard advantage to catch the ball and gain more yards for our team.
Pack Pride: Does it seem strange to be catching the ball up field now on
kickoffs versus catching it in the end zone?
Usually you're catching the ball two yards deep in the end zone or right on the goal line. Now when you're practicing, you're catching the ball on the five, six or seven yard line. And by the time I get to running, I notice I'm out to the 25 or 30 yard line so that's going to give better field advantage to the offense so that's a big advantage for us.
Pack Pride: What have been the major differences between coach Trestman and
coach Bible as far as their approach to running the offense?
I think it's a lot more intense. He's more of a perfection guy that doesn't take the "my fault" thing because he really wants everybody to get into it and know what they're doing. He wants you to perfect the offense and wants everybody going out there and just playing on instinct and not thinking about what you've got to do and I think that's one of the biggest things.
Pack Pride: Can you give a quick scouting report on all of the QB's?
Daniel Evans- He's a leader, real calm, confident. He really knows what to do in certain situations under pressure because he has the game time experience. He's real precise when he gets under pressure. That's what I noticed from spring to fall. He's really grown a lot in the position.
Harrison Beck- He has a real strong arm. He likes to really get out there and throw the deep ball, spread the field and widen the defense with that arm of his. That's one thing he really has an advantage on is that big arm of his.
Justin Burke- Justin is kind of a combination of both with a strong arm, likes to run and is smart in the pocket. He can get the ball out quick when he's under pressure. He's just like a combination of Daniel and Harrison Beck.
Russell Wilson- I've seen a lot out of him. He's like Justin Burke. He's real fast at quarterback. His only downfall is he's kind of short but he has a real strong arm and is very accurate. He just has to get more comfortable in the offense and he'll be a real good player for us.