The Wolfpacker

July 2013 Football Preview

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Picking Up The Pace Football 2013 doing and he is leading our group." Crisp ended up allowing five sacks in 606 plays last year, including two apiece against Wake Forest and Clemson in back-to-back games. "He improved a lot as the spring went on and I'm excited for the fall for him," Uremovich said. "He has good feet and is long. He is everything you want in an offensive lineman." Christophe is the most experienced offensive lineman back, but he also has battled some injuries over the years. He started in place of an injured Andrew Wallace at left guard in 2011, and then filled in for five starts By Jacey Zembal last year when Wallace, Crisp and Zach Allen he NC State offensive linemen were missed time with injuries. warned that running the no-huddle The 6-5, 300-pounder has allowed just offense wouldn't be easy, but until three sacks in 1,403 plays they went through in 31 games played. it themselves they didn't reRushing Yards "He is a kid that surprised ally know what they were Per Game Behind me," Uremovich said. "You in for. The Wolfpack Line watch the offseason running Now that the blockers and you watch the weights up front are rounding into Year YPG ACC Rank and you form opinions shape, offensive line coach 2012111.1 9 2011104.8 11 about guys. He's a hard Mike Uremovich will be 2010123.3 11 worker, but when he gets hoping to have opposing 2009120.9 9 on the field he's a great ofdefensive linemen back on 2008123.2 7 fensive lineman. He was by their heels this fall with the 200789.2 11 far our most consistent ofWolfpack's fast-paced at2006119.7 5 fensive lineman this spring." tack. 2005124.4 10 Redshirt sophomore Joe Leading the way will be 2004147.8 7 Thuney will be a vocal senior left tackle Robert 2003100.8 9 leader for the line at center. Crisp, fifth-year senior left "Our center is our quarterback up front," guard Duran Christophe and redshirt junior Uremovich said. "He has to make every line right tackle Tyson Chandler. They all return call. He makes calls on every play, and someas linemen who have started at least eight times two calls. He runs the show up there, games for the Wolfpack. and it's great to have a smart kid up there." Crisp is expected to anchor the offensive The right side of Chandler at tackle and line. He started eight games last year, but perhaps redshirt sophomore Alex Barr at battled through a tailbone injury. Uremovich guard would be as big as it gets in the ACC could sense Crisp was approaching things and likely college football. However, the with more urgency this spring. guard position should be an interesting battle "He's a great kid to work with," Uremovin August. ich said. "He's really bought into what we are The Offensive Linemen Are Adjusting To The New No-Huddle Offense Quick Facts Position Coach: Mike Uremovich (1st season) Returning Starters: Tyson Chandler (12 career starts) and Rob Crisp (11) Starters Lost: Zach Allen (31), R.J. Mattes (43) and Camden Wentz (39) FYI: Athlon ranked NC State's offensive line No. 12 in the ACC, and Phil Steele's had the Wolfpack No. 13 in the league … Phil Steele's selected Crisp to the fourth-team All-ACC squad at tackle and ranked him as the No. 27 overall tackle in the country … NCSU was ranked No. 77 in Phil Steele's sack percentage chart with 6.9 percent, after allowing three sacks per contest last year … NC State ranked second in the ACC and 18th nationally with 310.1 passing yards per game last year … NCSU also ranked ninth in the ACC and 108th nationally with 111.1 rushing yards per contest … The offense averaged 80 plays per game, which was 11th in the country — but the Wolfpack will play no-huddle this fall … No position group has undergone more changes since last year — the senior quartet of R.J. Mattes, Andrew Wallace, Camden Wentz and Zach Allen have moved, plus freshmen Eddie Gordon and Quincy McKinney to junior college, weakening the potential depth … Four freshmen and two redshirt freshmen will try to fortify the unit. Redshirt freshman guard Bryce Kennedy was a three-star prospect and redshirt freshman center John Tu'uta was a two-star recruit … Kennedy enrolled early at NC State for the second semester, and has been through two spring practices, though he didn't crack the two-deep last April … Kennedy originally picked North Carolina, but switched to NC State … ranked Kennedy as the No. 26 guard in the country and No. 23 overall in North Carolina … Tu'uta was on the Fork Union prep team, and picked NC State over Akron … Junior college transfer Ali Kassem picked NC State over Rutgers … Kassem, a Cincinnati native, landed at ASA in Brooklyn, N.Y., after spending his first two years at Western Michigan … Kassem started the first seven games at guard and then moved to tackle at ASA … Freshmen Tylar Reagan, Cole Blankenship and Patrick Roane will get a chance to move up the depth chart … Blankenship, who missed some of his senior year with a foot injury at Mocksville (N.C.) Davie County, enrolled early at NC State last January and exited the spring as the second-string left guard … Reagan played both guard and tackle at Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail High, while Roane started at right tackle and played in the Carolinas Shrine Bowl with Blankenship. T ■ Preseason Analysis **** Among country's best; *** Among ACC's best; ** Solid or has potential; * Too Unproven Starters ** NC State returns three cornerstones to the offensive line in senior left tackle Rob Crisp, redshirt junior right tackle Tyson Chandler and fifth-year senior left guard Duran Christophe. Redshirt sophomore Joe Thuney is locked in at center. The Wolfpack's pursuit of starting the five best offensive linemen could lead to redshirt sophomore Alex Barr at right guard, or redshirt juniors Cameron Fordham or Andy Jomantas. Experience *** Crisp, Chandler and Christophe have been full-time starters at various points in their Wolfpack careers. Crisp started eight games last year, and Chandler ended up getting 12 starts. Christophe started 12 of 13 games in 2011, and five of nine last year. He has missed time due to injury each of the last two years. Depth ** NC State returns nine scholarship offensive linemen from last year, and could need some of the redshirt freshmen and junior college transfer Ali Kassem to take on bigger roles.The players who don't win the starting job at right guard will need to provide depth. Overall Grade ** The Wolfpack will certainly boast tremendous bulk across the front line this season, especially if the 6-7, 326-pound Barr cracks the lineup. NCSU also needs to stay healthy, which hasn't been the case the last several years. 72  ■  the wolfpacker 72-74.OLs.indd 72 7/1/13 9:36 AM

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