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August 6, 2012

O'Brien talks Wolfpack after first preseason scrimmage




For the first time in Tom O'Brien's tenure at NC State, the Pack was able to use three teams in its first preseason scrimmage. The result was that no player got more than 30 plays, O'Brien thought.

"The veteran guys, give them the start but not overwork them," O'Brien stated. "The younger guys, take a good look at some of those guys to see if they can help and how they best can help us and how we can fit them in now going forward when we're in true camp from now till school starts."

One of the young guys that surely got a long look from O'Brien and the coaches was quarterback Manny Stocker. The true freshman has ascended into the backup signal caller job now that redshirt junior Tyler Brosius has left and is no longer a part of the program.

Although individual passing stats were not given out, O'Brien was complimentary of his rookie quarterback.

"Manny's got a lot of poise," O'Brien said. "He was impressive today. The good thing is he came in spring practice so he's ahead of where you expect him to be, but he's behind because he missed all the meeting time last week cause he was going to school with the summer start program because it's still really important to get the good start academically. You have to give something to get something.

"We're happy with what we saw out of him today."

Walk-on Garrett Leatham will be the third string quarterback. Stocker, Leatham, and fifth-year senior and starter Mike Glennon combined to complete 14 of 24 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown during the scrimmage.

Rushing totals included 40 carries for 104 yards and a pair of scores. Defensively the Pack had 10 sacks for 50 yards. On special teams they punted three times for a 41.0-yard average and made all three field goals from distances of 29, 36 and 39 yards.

O'Brien though would like to see more enthusiasm from his squad.

"I think we're a little bit tired right now," O'Brien stated. "I don't know if it's exams or whatever, but we need to be a little more enthusiastic, and that's probably leadership. We got to get some leadership going out there on both sides of the football. It tough when you get to this because the question is the defense doing good or the offense being good because they are going against each other. Those are things we have to study.

"I think the freshmen's heads swimming. They got the meetings for the first time this weekend. They're out there floundering around trying to figure out which way to go but this will go a long way to help them. I think the most important thing is where do we go now as a football team."

While confirming the news that Brosius has left the program, O'Brien said that redshirt sophomore running back Mustafa Greene and junior defensive tackle A.J. Ferguson's statuses have yet to be determined as they await their final grades from the second session of summer school.

Junior college transfer linebacker Robert Caldwell should also learn his official fate soon.

"We had to go back and get something but due to the weekend College of the Canyons was close, but we think we had the right stuff come in today," O'Brien noted.

Caldwell's presence could be significant now because O'Brien reported that sophomore Michael Peek, who was expected to compete for a starting job and be on the two-deep, tore his ACL and will miss the season. Peek has a redshirt year available to him.

True freshman defensive end Joe Wright is the only other significant injury of note. He tore his meniscus in his knee and had surgery. There was not timetable given for Wright's return.


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