Pack Springs Forward
March 27, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. -
The Wolfpack opened spring football practice on Friday evening and has now completed three of its 15 workouts. As always, head coach Tom O'Brien says that the spring is a time for his squad to get back to work on the fundamentals of football. This spring, it will also be vital for O'Brien and his staff to identify who will step up to fill vacated spots at linebacker and wide receiver.
The wideout position has several players who have gained solid experience as reserves. At the top of the spring organizational chart at the wideout spots are Tobais Palmer, who started seven games last year, Quintin Payton, a veteran of 23 games and Bryan Underwood, who had a solid rookie campaign in 2011. Rashard Smith is now a full-time receiver, after switching back and forth from the defensive secondary a year ago, while red-shirts Maurice Morgan and Hakeem Flowers are looking to gain a spot on the depth chart.
At linebacker, there is much less experience returning. Rickey Dowdy, Ryan Cheek, Brandon Pittman and Michael Peek have limited game experience, while two players are seeing their first collegiate action at LB: Rodman Noel, who moved from safety and Mike Rose, a former defensive end.
The offensive line and the defensive secondary should be strong points of the team for 2012. All four starters return in the defensive backfield, including four seniors (Earl Wolff, Brandan Bishop and C.J. Wilson) and a junior (All-American David Amerson). The offensive line returns five players who have been full-time starters during their careers: OT R.J. Mattes, guards Andrew Wallace, Zach Allen and Duran Christophe and center Camden Wentz.
O'Brien expects both of those positions to provide great leadership for the Pack during the spring, along with now-seasoned quarterback Mike Glennon.
The team will practice three times a week up until the Kay Yow Spring Football Game, which will be held at 3:30 p.m. on April 21.