The Wolfpacker

May 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 37 of 79

N BY JACEY ZEMBAL ew NC State running backs coach Des Kitchings brings an impressive résumé to Raleigh. He served as running backs coach and running game coordinator at Air Force for one year, helping the 7-6 Falcons rack up 314.8 rushing yards per game and 43 rushing touchdowns for the season — which both ranked third nationally. The Wagener, S.C., native also coached at Vanderbilt from 2008-10. He was the offensive coordinator for the 2-10 Com- modores, and he previously served as running backs coach, running game co- ordinator and special teams coordinator. Kitchings is the third running backs coach in as many years at NC State, fol- lowing current Elon head coach Jason Swepson and South Carolina running backs coach Everette Sands. "I'm glad to be here, first of all, and out on the field," said Kitchings, a former standout wide receiver and return spe- cialist at Furman. "I have a lot of energy going on. "We are just trying to set the tempo for the guys and what my expectations are for practice. We want to execute and have fun. NEW BLOOD Coach Des Kitchings Looks To Set A Fast Tempo Running Backs "It's exciting, complex and multiple diverse elements of a pro offense, but it is fun to coach in," Kitchings said. "I tried to study it going forward, but there are still some things I'll need to pick up on what they've done in the past." Kitchings said the second main point in wanting the NC State job is the chance to be in the ACC and return to the region. "That's a good brand of football and I'm from the Carolinas," Kitchings said. "I'm from South Carolina, so that whole assignment and playing the game fast and physical. I want them to be a complete player." ■ Kitchings "I emphasize energy No. 1, ball security, "I emphasize energy No. 1, ball secu- rity, assignment and playing the game fast and physical. I want them to be a complete player." Kitchings didn't have any obvious connection to NC State head coach Tom O'Brien, but knew defensive backs coach Mike Reed a little bit from recruiting against him in the state of Georgia. The reputation of O'Brien and NC State's recent run of success led him to pursue the job. "What attracted me about the job was a couple of reasons — one, what the NC State football program has done the last two years [17 wins and two bowl victories], and the progression during Coach O'Brien's time here," Kitchings said. "We have something good here, and it is going to grow and get better." Kitchings' background at Vanderbilt and Air Force adds a different dimension to NC State's offensive staff under coor- dinator Dana Bible. He has been learning Bible's system and likes what he has seen. 38 ■ THE WOLFPACKER aspect of being back home and near my family. I'm just looking forward to the future." Kitchings will inherit some of the re- cruiting territories of his predecessors at the running back coaching position. "I get to recruit the Carolinas and get back in some familiar territory as well," Kitchings said. "I'll be recruiting in the state of North Carolina, back in South Carolina, Georgia and some Florida. I know some coaches from before. We want to get some good character kids and good football players." NC State returns the one-two punch at running back of senior James Washing- ton and redshirt sophomore Tony Creecy. The duo made an impact both running the football and catching quarterback Mike Glennon's passes out of the back- field. Washington rushed for a team-high 897 yards and seven touchdowns on 226 carries last season, while finishing sec- ond on the team with 42 receptions for 315 yards. Kitchings recruited Wash- ington when he was coaching at Vander- bilt, and he looks forward to coaching the former Orlando (Fla.) Boone High standout. Creecy, a former prep receiver at Southern Durham High, caught 25 passes for 157 yards and three scores last year. He added 382 rushing yards and a touch- down on 103 carries. "The older backs can still get better because there is always technical and position-specific things," Kitchings said. "There are details that they can get better at to improve themselves. You don't want to see a drop off in them and you want to continue to push them." Fifth-year senior Brandon Barnes fin- ished out the spring on the third string, while redshirt sophomore Mustafa Greene missed the majority of the spring due to disciplinary reasons. The Wolfpack fullbacks — redshirt sophomore Logan Winkles and junior Ty- ler Purvis — got a little bit of experience while filling in for the injured Taylor Gentry last year. The NCSU fullbacks never get a carry in the running game, but are utilized as receivers. Purvis has earned praise from the NC State coaches for his hands, and he caught six recep- tions for 36 yards and two touchdowns last year. The role of the fullback is a little dif- ferent at NC State than Kitchings' previ- ous coaching stop at Air Force. "You look at Logan Winkles and Tyler Purvis, they are guys that can get in there and contribute, and both have played some, too," Kitchings said. Kitchings half-joked that he also wel- comes the lower altitude from his previ- ous employment at Air Force. "I am breathing a little bit better out here than Colorado Springs," Kitchings said. "I can run around and have a little bit more energy out here." Kitchings' family will remain in Colo- rado Springs until the school year ends — Kitchings and his wife, Heather, have three children. "I have a first grader who is in a pretty good school position and I want him to complete the year there," Kitchings said. "I'm learning the city [of Raleigh]. I've never spent that much time in Raleigh before, but it's a great city and I'm really enjoying it." ■ Kitchings was the running backs coach and running game coordinator at Air Force last year, and he helped the Falcons rank third in the nation in both rushing yards per game (314.8) and rushing touchdowns (43). PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

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