Owen Spencer enrolled at NC State in January of 2007 and impressed the coaches enough to avoid a redshirt last fall. He saw action in all 12 games as a rookie, including a season-high 21 snaps at Florida State where he had a 20-yard reception in that contest. Finishing with five reception in 2007, Spencer made huge strides this spring.
He pulled down five catches for 80 yards in the 2008 Red/White Game, and he totaled 14 grabs for 171 yards in the three spring scrimmages.
"I need to just make plays for us," said Spencer. "I need to keep playing like I did in the spring. I had a great spring, and I think I satisfied the coaches. They want me to play fast. That's what I do. I'm a fast guy, and I want to stretch the field and scare the defense with my speed. Whatever plays they call, either going deep or over the middle, I'm ready for it."
Fall camp went much smoother for Spencer this time around. After a year in the program, he's familiar with what the coaches expect and the offensive scheme.
"Camp was good," he said. "I didn't have to really learn a lot like last summer because I concentrated on one position. Once you go through camp the first time, you know what to expect. Last year was my first camp, and I didn't know what to expect... what they wanted me to do. Two-a-days came around, and it really took its toll on me. This year I'm more focused and more confident in the offense. I'm excited for the season."
The opportunity is there for Spencer and all of the other wideouts to make an impact. Last year's starters, Darrell Blackman and John Dunlap, graduated and leading receiver Donald Bowens will miss the season with a back injury. A unit that doesn't have a senior scholarship player, the wide receivers need to progress and fill the void left by Blackman, Dunlap, and now Bowens.
"We're a young group, and we are going to be together for a long time," said Spencer. "We just have to make plays. Just like [Bowens] did last year when John Dunlap was out, we've got to step up and make plays. The coaches put us in the game, and they have confidence in us that we can produce.
"When a situation like that comes you have to be ready for it. Everything happens for a reason. God works in mysterious ways, and we never know what to expect. It can be the best thing to ever happen for him or for me. We just have to look at it that way. Personally, I just go to him for guidance. Donald Bowens, he's a great leader on our offense and I ask him a lot of questions... whenever I have trouble I go to him and he helps me out."
Wide receiver isn't the only unsettled position on NC State's offense. The Wolfpack is also looking to nail down a starting quarterback and finalize the offensive line rotation. Daniel Evans, Russell Wilson, and Mike Glennon are all competing for the quarterback job, and Spencer has been impressed with how hard they are working everyday.
"They are working hard," he stated. "Everybody has their own particular skills. Everybody is trying to get better. Whoever the starting guy is, he's going to be our leader. Coach O'Brien has that decision in his hand. We're going to roll with it.
"They are learning, we all are learning. when you play a position like quarterback, you have to be up for the challenge, and I think they are. They all are great quarterbacks and coach O'Brien will answer the question of who is the starter. I'm confident in all of them."