Aug. 8, 2004
Had some computer difficulties when I got home after practice last night, so I came in the office after church this morning to put yesterday's diary entry up. (I know - I should have gone back to the office, but didn't leave the field until after 9:00. Not sure if that is a good enough excuse, but....)
There was a long day of waiting for practice to begin on Saturday, but rest assured, the Wolfpack was not just sitting around. Breakfast was at 7:30 a.m. (a couple of players who didn't make all of their 110's yesterday in the runnning test were here a little earlier) followed by weight lifting, meetings and other football-related duties. Everybody started heading out to the field around 6:00 p.m. and seemed eager to get started.
The team left the field around 7:00 p.m. last night, and after a quick dinner, went into position meetings. The offensive linemen were stating emphatically before practice today that their meeting went much longer than any other position. Jed Paulsen (who is on the preseason "Watch" list for the Rimington Trophy), is still sporting his signature mohawk-variation hairstyle. For some unknown reason, last week, Shane Lucas decided to let Jed cut his hair, so he now sports the same look (even though he seems to like it!).
Traffic began to pick up outside of the field about halfway through drills because of the Usher concert at the RBC Center. The offensive linemen were giving Leroy Harris a hard time because he had to practice while his wife, Christina, was at the concert. It was pretty funny listening to some of the offensive linemen trying to sing like Usher.
As always, the Pack began practice with special teams. The Wolfpack special teams under Coach Manny Diaz have a new name this season. In homage to our armed forces, they are calling themselves "Special Forces." The different units have different names. The punt unit is called the "Bomb Squad." The kickoff coverage team goes by "Rangers," while the return team is the "Blackhawks." And, as always, the punt block team is known as the "Attack Team."
Besides individual work, the team also had several periods of pass skeleton and 11-on-11. There were some good battles between the wideouts and DBs during "skelly" - I saw Chris Hawkins catch a couple of nice long passes from Jay Davis and Sterling Hicks catch a nice one from Marcus Stone.
The only player sitting out with an injury is defensive end James Martin, who underwent knee surgery this summer and will redshirt the season. Tight end T.J. Williams is in pink - he won't see any contact early in camp after having shoulder surgery a couple of months ago.
The team won't practice tomorrow [now today]- they're going to church as a group this morning and won't be back on the practice field until Monday afternoon. Due to the new NCAA regulations, the first two-a-day won't be until Thursday.
It's nice to see some former Wolfpack players out here in different roles now. Dantonio "Thunder Dan" Burnette and Brandon "Big Red" Sanders are both working in the weight room as graduate assistants, while Jerrick "Hova" Hall is a G.A. working with the defense. The new offensive G.A., Grant Heard, joined the staff this summer.
Practice ended with the dreaded gassers, but nobody was huffing and puffing too badly. The weather was beautiful - very low humidity and almost cool. The players had to hustle back to the "Murph," as they call the Murphy Center to be ready for 9:15 position meetings.