RALEIGH, NC - The Wolfpack began its preparation for the South Carolina game on Wednesday, and senior Alan-Michael Cash said he hopes to help reverse the Pack's trend of slow starts.
Alan-Michael Cash – Notables
As the team started game preparation for the first time, Cash and the rest of the defense went up against the scout offense. Cash said the scout team had some trouble early on getting the hang of the offense but that the defensive squad was 'flying around' and looking forward to getting more work in against the scout offense.
Though the defense only watched a little bit of tape on Wednesday, but he pointed to the offense line as a challenge for the line saying they were 'pretty sound in what they do – we are gonna have to beat that.'
Cash said its very important to start this year with a win since losing the first game means 'trying to dig yourself out of the hole' from the first game forward. "It's been very hard [digging out of those holes in the past] – harder than it needs to be. All we have to do is just stay together and fight through it."
The senior said that last year's game is 'in the back of our head' but that he and the team are only focused on this year. "We are just coming out as if it were any other team," Cash said. "We're going to go out there and give it our best. It's just another game."
When asked where he improved the most since last season, Cash said it was his ability to use his hands to shed blockers. "I got better at using my hands, over the years my hands have beeen pretty good but I think they've improved a lot."
The fifth-year lineman has absorbed so much of Mike Archer's defensive schemes that he's become a leader for the entire defensive unit, not just the defensive line. "If they have any questions, they aren't afraid to ask me – like what they should do on this play or how they should attack it."
"I've still gotta work on the safeties, what the safeties have to do - safeties and corners. I pretty much know what the linebackers have to do."
Cash said the newest members of the line have 'caught on pretty quick,' particularly J.R. Sweezy. "He's improved so much, I'm so proud of him right now. He has to work on his extension and his hands but that's going to come along, he's gonna be a real good player."
Fellow defensive lineman Willie Young talks with Cash 'every day' about their desire to go out on top, Cash said. "We just want to leave this program with a good taste in our mouth."
On that note, Cash said that his future as a football player is in the 'back of his mind' at this time but he doesn't focus on it. Assuming the season works out the way him and Young want it to, the NFL aspirations should take care of themselves.