With a week of practice and the first scrimmage in the books, N.C. State coach Dave Doeren met with the media before “Meet the Pack Day” on Sunday at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Highlights from the first week with an eye toward the Wolfpack’s opener with South Carolina on Sept. 2:
▪ There are only three starting spots up for grabs on defense, all in the secondary, but the answer at nickel might be a familiar name.
Senior Shawn Boone, who started all 13 games last year at strong safety, has been working at both safety and nickel. When Boone plays nickel, sophomore Jarius Morehead will play strong safety.
Junior Dexter Wright, who scored the game-winning special teams touchdown against Notre Dame last season, is penciled in at free safety.
▪ Juniors Nyheim Hines and Reggie Gallaspy will have the tall task of replacing Matt Dayes at running back. Gallaspy has trimmed down, about 15 pounds to 220 pounds, while Hines has impressed Doeren in practice with his ability to be a physical runner.
“He doesn’t look at himself as a little back,” Doeren said of Hines, who is listed at 5-9 and 197 pounds. “He looks at himself as a guy who can run people over.”
▪ So far, so good for new kicker Carson Wise, a graduate transfer from Carson-Newman.
“He’s definitely started with the ‘1s’ and hasn’t given it back,” Doeren said. “He has done everything you would want him to do.”
Junior kicker Kyle Bambard, who went 5 of 10 on field goals last year, would still handle kickoffs, Doeren said.
▪ Stephen Louis and Kelvin Harmon are the top two returning receivers on the team, but they will have help. Redshirt-freshman C.J. Riley, who missed last season with a knee injury, has stood out in camp.
“C.J. has shown some signs that he can be really tough to defend and not just because of his height,” Doeren said of the 6-4 target. “He gets in and out of his breaks.”
Fifth-year senior JuMichael Ramos is still working back to full speed after missing last season with a knee injury.
“We’re taking our time with him; we don’t want to rush him,” Doeren said.
▪ It will be another two weeks or so until the game-planning for South Carolina starts. The work in camp thus far has been first-team offense against first-team defense.
“You spend too much time working against the scout team and it’s not the same tempo,” Doeren said. “You want that ‘good’ on ‘good’ for as long as you can get it.”
▪ The scrimmages, like all practices, are closed, but Doeren said he liked the way backup offensive linemen Joe Sculthorpe and Justin Witt performed.
He also said that Dylan Parham, a former quarterback at Southeast Raleigh High, caught a pass and scored a touchdown. Parham, who’s 6-4 and 224 pounds, has switched to tight end.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
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