Wolfpack Holds Second Spring Scrimmage
By Tony Haynes
College teams were at this time of year.
The discomfort certainly showed in the Pack’s first spring scrimmage a week ago when players routinely lined up in the wrong spots and seemed uncertain of their assignments.
In spring scrimmage No. 2 Friday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium, NC State seemed a little more comfortable.
“I thought we had a much better go of it today,” said O’Brien. “The intensity was better, the hitting was much better, and so we were much improved over where we were a week ago. We have a long way to go here and we know that. We’re just going to keep working, look at the tape and get back on the practice field on Monday.”
The difference from one week to the next?
“Last week we didn’t tackle well and you couldn’t hear a pad hit each other,” O’Brien said. “This week it sounded like we were playing football out there. That’s what I like best. We tackled much better; we got lined up much better, especially on defense. We also created some turnovers which was good.”
To be exact, there were six turnovers, four of which were interceptions.
Nebraska transfer Harrison Beck had two picks, but also completed 10-of-17 throws for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Justin Burke was 6-of-16 for 46 yards and two interceptions. Daniel Evans, the Wolfpack starter at quarterback most of last season, was an efficient 11-of-14 for 137 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
“Evans showed his experience and his command of the offense,” O’Brien said. “Those other two kids are still learning, but they were much improved in the whole operation. The operation was much better today, just getting out of the huddle, getting to the line of scrimmage and getting the ball snapped.”
O’Brien warned that no one should read into the spring statistics and conclude that one quarterback may be ahead of the other. In fact, it’s highly unlikely the competition for the starting quarterback spot will end until the last few days of fall practice later in the summer.
“I expected it to continue until the first game,” said O’Brien. “No one is separating themselves right now and I don’t expect them to.”
Hard-running junior tailback Toney Baker put up good numbers, rushing for 98 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries. He was complimented by redshirt sophomore Jamelle Eugune, who tallied 89 yards with one score on 13 carries.
Spring workouts will culminate with the annual Red&White game at the stadium on April 14. Until then, there will still be much work to be done.
“We’re behind where we would be at B.C.,” O’Brien said. “That’s because at B.C. they would know everything that we would be teaching. We’d be working more on the fundamentals and the finer points. We’re working as hard we can on fundamentals, but at the same time, we’re working on where you’re supposed to be and how you’re supposed to get there. The faster they learn where they’re supposed to be and how they’re supposed to get there, the better they’ll be at their fundamentals. It’s pretty hard to compare a program that’s nine days into it to one that’s been 10 years and had 15 extra practices eight years in a row because of bowl games and everything else.”