Bishop, Wolff Building Bond in Secondary

Brandan Bishop and Earl Wolff entered the year as reserves in a defensive secondary full of questions.

The redshirt freshman Wolff was expected to play, but no one was sure how much. The true freshman Bishop was a potential redshirt. It's funny how much can change in four short weeks.

Four games into the year, they have emerged as playmakers that have seen ever-increasing amounts of playing time. And based on their performances in the last three weeks, that shouldn't change. Wolf now has three starts under his belt while Bishop has topped the depth chart twice. In Saturday's win against Pittsburgh both saw action at crucial times, with Bishop arguably making two of the biggest plays of the game on Pittsburgh's final possession.

Wolff said he and Bishop are quickly forming a bond during practice which will set up the future of the defensive secondary.

"Me and Brandon talk a lot all the time and we go out there at practice and work on tackling together," he said. "We do a lot of things together and we're just trying to hold this spot down for the next four years. We're trying to give a little depth for the safeties."

Wolff said he's tried to make the most of the early playing time despite being somewhat surprised by the opportunity.

"After the South Carolina game when coached talked to me the next day at practice it really surprised me. I didn't know I was going to start. But I go out there every game and play my heart out."

While both players seem content with "giving a little depth" in the defensive secondary, in reality they have done much more than that. Bishop has played 70 snaps in the three games he's seen action while Wolf has been on the field for 89.

During his tenure Tom O'Brien has not shied away from playing younger players, especially when they prove themselves in practice. Bishop said that approach is positive for the youth on the team.

"I think it's great. If you can come in and pick up the playbook and know what you're doing and you can execute your assignment, I don't think there should be any reason why you shouldn't play," he said. "It's going to build us a strong core on defense for the future and anytime you have young guys playing getting experience it's a positive thing."

The other added bonus of Bishop and Wolff getting on the field so early in their careers, according to both players, is the ability to keep the entire group of safeties fresher throughout the game.

"It gives us fresh legs and every time me and Brandan get out we tell Bobby and Clem what we see and then they will go in and if they see anything different they will come out and tell us," Wolff said. "It's very helpful."

As Bishop, Wolff and the rest of the Wolfpack prepare for the first ACC test of the season this Saturday against Wake Forest, the early season trends appear as if they will continue. Both players were listed as the starters on the initial depth chart released Monday.

Wolff said at this point in the season the coaching staff and the rest of the team are beginning to expect big plays rather than just see them as an added bonus.

"Coach expects us to make big plays. The first game when I went it I had a couple of mental errors, Brandan did too – but he just expects us to improve mentally and physically every game," Wolf said. "We're getting so many snaps we're getting into the groove."

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