Kickoff: Eugene, Young Notables

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The 2009 ACC Football Kickoff began today at the Grandover Resort and NC State was represented by tailback Jamelle Eugene and defensive end Willie Young.

  • With Nate Irving out indefinitely the Pack has a big hole to fill in the linebacking core. Young said that both Audie Cole and Ray Michel will have to step up to fill the gap.

    "Cole came out in the spring game and had a very productive spring game. We know he is capable of making plays."

    He also said he had no idea whether Irving would be able to return this year, joking that Nate might already be 'jumping on a trampoline or riding a bicycle'.

  • The fifth-year senior acknowledged that he needed to take a bigger leadership role on the team this year. "Actually being the senior, and having younger guys look up to you, its really a challenge. But I don't find it difficult at all – you just have to be consistent."

  • Young made no secret that his personal goal is to become a first-round draft pick in next June's NFL draft. He said he received advice from both Mario Williams and Manny Lawson when he was considering turning pro after last season.

    Between the uncertainty of his draft position and his feeling that the program is ready to make a 'big leap' forward, Young made the decision to return. Another big factor was that Young, who red-shirted as a freshman, is just three hours away from graduation.

  • Young also updated the media on his fishing expedition around at the ponds around the Grandover golf course in Greensboro.

    "I saw a couple of blue dragonflies flying around – I figured I could imitate that so I went into the fly box and found a little blue dragonfly. It was identical, and I had more bites from the dragonflies than I did a fish. I didn't see any signs of any fish but I figured I would give it a try."

  • Young said that Wake Forest is one of the toughest teams to prepare for in the league.

    "You can go into the film room and just say 'we need to do this and this,'" Young said. "Wake Forest always has something up their sleeves. Tricks and stunts, there isn't one play where you can go to sleep."


  • Eugene talked about how much more confidence the offense has now that Mike Glennon will be backing up Russell Wilson.

    "He's definitely an insurance policy. I feel like, and the rest of the team feels like, if Glennon is in there we aren't going to drop off nearly as much as we would have in the past. Glennon, the only thing he is lacking is game-time experience."

  • The redshirt senior said that Toney Baker is back at 100 percent for the first time since he started playing at NC State.

    "He's earned to come back and be in the position where he left off at. He's gonna be a great player for us and he's gonna make a lot of plays this year. He's overcome a lot."

  • With expectations at their highest level under Tom O'Brien, Eugene said he thinks the team is ready.

    "We just need to live up to what guys are saying but that's not our focus. If we start focusing on what you guys are saying that's when you find yourself getting into trouble. If we just come out and do what we are capable of and maximize our talents and the coaching staff puts us in the right positions that we are going to be off to a good start."

  • Eugene isn't looking deep into the season and doesn't care about preseason expectations. He's focused on one thing.

    "All I want to do is go 1-0," he said. "That's where it is. One week at a time, 1-0 every week, and we'll see what it is at the end of the season.

    We have a tough task ahead of us with South Carolina, and we're excited to play them. I take it one play at a time, and one drive at a time."

  • Eugene is optimistic about the upcoming year, but know NC State still has to prove they are ready to take the next step as a program.

    "I feel like this is going to be the best NC State team we've had in a while," he said. "In order to prove that we have to win our first game against an FCS opponent, and we haven't done that since I've been here. This game is going to go a long way in telling us whether or not we have improved.

    "We're more mature. We have a lot more young men instead of young boys that are going to be out there. I don't think they were ready [last year] to be men and step in and face the task at hand."


    Stay tuned tomorrow morning for audio, video, and quotes from Eugene and Young.

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