Practice Report: O'Brien, Czajkowski Notes

RALEIGH, NC -- Light rain and overcast skies made for a more comfortable practice setting on Wednesday, as the team prepares for its second scrimmage of fall camp on Thursday.

Tom O'Brien notes

  • O'Brien plans to take off the kid gloves a little bit for Thursday's scrimmage, the second in just a five-day span. "It's gonna be more realistic – obviously penalties, mistakes, things like that will really come into play." He added that he was looking for a 'great effort' and both the offense and defense will be more attack focused in its play-calling.

  • The return of Toney Baker and the development of younger players such as Brandon Barnes and Curtis Underwood give O'Brien plenty of options at tailback to go along with veteran Jamelle Eugene. But whether one back will get the bulk of the carries or not has yet to be decided, saying that riding the hot hand is usually 'the best thing to do.'

    "If they are good backs then they get the carries. If you are in situations where guys are banged up or nicked up or something and they can't carry the full load then you can't do that. Each year is different, each year you have to see what your personnel are and what they are capable of doing."

  • Red-shirt senior Andy Barbee and red-shirt freshman R.J. Mattes are 'banging it out' for the spot at right guard, O'Brien said. He said no decisions have been made yet but conceded that they are getting towards the time when they'll have to start making decisions.

  • At the other guard position, Julian Williams moves over to left guard after two years at left tackle - "Left tackle is a tough spot because of the pass but things happen much faster inside so you have to react quicker. It's a whole different mindset, especially because of the power of the defensive tackles in this league."

    Williams biggest obstacle will be his own health, however. A fifth-year senior, he missed all of 2005 with an injury, missed the last three games of 2007 and last year made it through just five full games before the injuries piled up again.

    Josh Czajkowski Notes

  • Starting in the spring, Czajkowski began working on a tweak to his kicking style that he hoped would help him from injuring his leg in the long run. The change was basically adding more bend to his kicking-knee when he draws it back for a kick. "The longer your leg is when you are coming at the ball, the longer back you are the most stress its going to put on your hip flexor. So I thought if I draw back my heel towards my butt then it would reduce the stress."

  • Despite working on the new style for several months, he admits that it still doesn't feel entirely comfortable and plans on reverting back to his old style during tomorrow's scrimmage. "I'll probably end up going back to what I usually do – see what I do in the scrimmage tomorrow and then we'll work from there."

  • Czajkowski spent the summer working out with a slew of other college kickers including Nick Novak and Nick Wallace from Maryland as well as Notre Dame's David Ruffer. He also still speaks to former Wolfpack kicker Steven Hauschka, who is now with the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL.

  • The junior place-kicker said the toughest thing about kicking is just staying mentally focused during the game when there can be lots of down time between plays on the field, going as far as to say that the 'down time during the game will kill you.'

  • Pack Pride Top Stories