The Wolfpacker

September 2013

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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wolfpack Football Defensive Back Jarvis Byrd Is Ready To Play W hen fifth-year senior Jarvis Byrd took the field last season as a reserve cornerback, it was his first live action since he played in five games with three starts as a true freshman in 2009. Against North Carolina that year, he suffered the first major injury of his life with a torn ACL. He went down again before the 2011 preseason — when he was a projected starter — after he tore his other one. The repaired knees played a role in the new coaching staff's decision to move him to free safety, where he is expected to start in 2013. "We were just trying to get our best 11 on the field, and we felt like, at corner with him, Dontae and Burris, those were three of our better defensive backs," head coach Dave Doeren explained. "Byrd, having the ACL injuries he's had — not that he can't run — he's a better fit [at safety]. He's a fast safety, so it's a way to make him a more effective player." Byrd thinks the move fits his vocal personality, as well. He said the safety is responsible for making all of the defensive calls and adjustments, and the talkative athlete has embraced that leadership role. He has also had a plethora of former NCSU safeties to quiz about the position, in addition to teammate Dontae Johnson. Byrd looked to DaJuan Morgan, who was drafted in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft, as well as Minnesota Vikings undrafted free agent Brandan Bishop for pointers on playing along the back line. "I was trying to get as much advice as I could to be the best player I can possibly be at the safety position," he said. "All of the guys told me to make sure I learn the playbook first. Then, keep going over plays and formations so that it's memorized. Other ■ 2013 NC State Football Schedule Date Aug. 31 Sept. 7 Sept. 19 Sept. 28 Oct. 5 Oct. 12 Oct. 26 Nov. 2 Nov. 9 Nov. 16 Nov. 23 Nov. 30 Opponent (TV) Louisiana Tech (ACCN) Richmond (ESPN3) Clemson (ESPN) Central Michigan at Wake Forest Syracuse at Florida State North Carolina at Duke at Boston College East Carolina Maryland Time 12:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m. 7:30 p.m. TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA Byrd, who suffered two major knee injuries during his first four years at NC State, is slated to start at free safety this season. photo by ken martin than that, they said just to play my game and don't be nervous." Byrd is just thankful to be back on the gridiron after battling through the two ACL tears. He admitted that he nearly gave up on the sport after the second injury, but several teammates kept him focused through the arduous rehabilitation process. "I don't know where I would be without those guys, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be than back with those guys this year," he said. "They are the guys that watched me when I was hurt; they helped me then and I've grown with them through both of my rehab processes. They also know what kind of player I'm capable of being when I'm 100 percent, so to just go out there and give it all I've got with these guys is a blessing." When he returned last fall, Byrd brought a new attitude to the field with him. Instead of loafing when times get tough, now Byrd pushes even harder. When he sees younger teammates slacking, he'll share his story and let them know, "people would kill to be in our shoes right now." When he goes home, he gives advice to players at his former high school and stresses to them it's about the team, not the individual. "I'm stronger physically and mentally because going through the rehab process twice, you realize that to play college football at a big-time university like NC State is a blessing," he noted. "It made me change my ways big time and it made me grow up as a man; it helped me mature faster. I think everything happens for a reason because when I first got to college, I didn't really have my head on right. The injuries settled me down and it made me realize it's not all 50  ■  the wolfpacker 50-56.Wolfpack Football.indd 50 8/23/13 3:23 PM

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