The Wolfpacker

Sept.-Oct. 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 51

28 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER C State super senior safety Tanner Ingle had a primary goal going into the 2021 sea- son: stay on the field. After being ejected three times for targeting during the prior year, Ingle was forced to miss the Gator Bowl loss to Kentucky. Those ejections came in the games in which Ingle was healthy enough to par- ticipate. He also missed four contests with a hamstring injury. There was a clear difference for the NC State defense when Ingle was on the field compared to when he wasn't. So, Ingle spent the offseason prior to his fourth year in Raleigh focusing on playing with what he called "controlled fire." That paid off, although Ingle can re- member one moment when he dropped back into old habits — the spring game, in which fourth-year junior linebacker Drake Thomas, got in the way of what would have been a crushing hit. "Drake got the brunt of it," Ingle ad- mitted. Controlling his fire is not easy for Ingle. He has never shied away from contact, not even in his littlest days of playing football. "Growing up, I literally begged my mom to go play tackle football just be- cause I wanted to go hit somebody," Ingle recalled. Ingle's Twitter avatar is that of the car- toon Tasmanian Devil. To Ingle, that rep- resents "full speed, all the time." "It's just how I live my life," Ingle added. "I just try to do everything I can with 100 percent effort, whether it's at practice, whether it's in the game, whether it's go- ing home and making my bed. "I try to do my best at everything I do." Reaching that level meant staying on the field in 2021. The increased focus paid off for Ingle, and he was named first-team All-ACC after making 82 tackles (including 3.5 for loss), 4 pass breakups and an interception. NC State head coach Dave Doeren noted that the rush defense is where Ingle particularly shined. "Tanner is different," Doeren pointed out. "He triggers differently than a lot of people in the back end. He sees things. His vision, his ability to diagnose plays and react is unique. Having him out there, es- pecially in the run game, makes a big dif- ference, because he can go from 12 yards behind the line of scrimmage to the ball in a hurry. "Even though he is in a pass coverage position at times, and we are not counting on him, he can go up and be an extra hat." What's perhaps most surprising about his ability to be an added defender in the box against the run is that the 5-foot-10, 186-pound Ingle is much smaller than the 300-pound linemen trying to clear the way for opposing running backs, who themselves are likely bigger than Ingle. But Ingle's Tasmanian Devil personal- ity may best be observed in exactly those situations. He is unafraid to try to deliver that blow, even to a massive lineman. "Maybe it's a little bit of the little man syndrome," Ingle surmised. "I feel like I have to prove myself to people." Ingle's success in 2021 left him with a decision to make, with one option being to call it a career at NC State and move on to try to make the NFL. Or, because the NCAA froze eligibility in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ingle could come back as a super senior for the Wolfpack. "I sat and thought about it for a while," Ingle recalled. "It was an easy decision for me. Once I sat down and said a prayer, I knew what I wanted to do right away." Ingle said he had three reasons for com- ing back, the first being a desire to get his degree in sports management, and the second being that he wanted to have a hand in the program's continued ascent. "We just have a really good thing going on right here," he said. Then there are the bonds that Ingle has created, especially on defense. He noted that the 4-8 season he and oth- ers endured in 2019 was part of a "shared adversity" that many of the veterans have been through. "We have a brotherhood here, a family here, and that weighed into my decision, too," he said. For Ingle, the start of the first practice of preseason camp was a nice opportunity to get reacquainted with some of those players on defense. He was among only a handful of full-time starters to stay healthy enough to be on the field on a weekly basis. "Halfway through the season, I barely knew who was on the field with me," Ingle joked. "I just knew I had to coach up who was out there with me." One of those back with Ingle is fellow super senior Isaiah Moore, a linebacker who had a season-ending knee injury in game No. 7 last fall, a one-point loss at Miami. Ingle noted that Moore "runs our de- fense." Thus, it's probably not surprising to learn that this past offseason, Ingle had a new emphasis. He would spend upwards to two hours studying film, at times with Moore. "I wanted to understand how to break stuff down and what he looks at," Ingle explained. As he wrapped up the first practice of his final preseason camp, being out there for a fifth season did not seem awkward to him. "I kind of feel more like an old head," Ingle noted. "I feel more like an older guy out there, but other than that, just the same old routine." Ingle may be older, but he's also wiser — a maturation that he proved last fall and hopes to carry over into 2022. ■ N The Devil's In The Details An Analytical Mindset Helps Fiery Safety Tanner Ingle Sharpen His Skills

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - Sept.-Oct. 2022