Aug. 22, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. - The Pack’s depth chart continues to be unveiled on GoPack.com as we are eight days away from the season opener. Today, the offensive line and linebackers are broken down.
It’s been a long time since the Wolfpack could say that the offensive line was one of the strengths of the team, but this year’s unit has the potential to be just that. Mike Uremovich’s unit returns five players who have started entire seasons – 71 total career starts among the five positions. The right side of the line is anchored with four 300+ lb. players.
Starter: Rob Crisp (6-7, 285, *Sr.)
- Missed much of last season but has come back strong.
- Has played in 36 career contests, starting 13.
Backup: Andy Jomantas (6-7, 295, *Gr.)
- Has played at guard and tackle during his career.
- Has already earned his degree from NC State.
Starter: Joe Thuney (6-5, 296, *Gr (Jr.)
- Back to the his natural position, he started games at right tackle, left tackle and right guard last season.
- Earned the team’s Jim Ritcher Award for Most Valuable offensive lineman in 2013.
Backup: Bryce Kennedy (6-3, 303, *So.)
- Greatly improved player who has competed on the scout team, but never in a game.
Starter: Quinton Schooley (6-3, 301, Jr.)
- Played every offensive snap of the 2013 season, starting every game
Backup: John Tu’uta (6-2, 270, *So.)
- Known as one of the hardest workers on the team in the strength and conditioning area.
Starter: Tony Adams (6-2, 301, Fr.)
- Graduated early and joined the Pack in January, he quickly worked his way into the starter’s role.
Backup: Ali Kassem (6-5, 343, Sr.)
- Saw limited action last season, mainly on special teams.
Starter: Tyson Chandler (6-7, 345, (Gr.) or Alex Barr (6-7, 314, *Jr.)
- Has been the starter at RT each of the past two seasons.
- Started 10 games at right guard a year ago.
- Has completely reshaped his body since arriving on campus in 2011, dropping weight and adding muscle.
Coach Uremovich on the offensive line: “It’s been great in camp. We have seven guys who are really confident so we’ve had great competition at multiple spots. The competition has pushed them all to perform better. It’s been great as opposed to last year when we were a lot thinner on the offensive line.
“Tony has done a great job learning the offense and has pushed the older guys.
“We really have the competition on the whole right side between Tyson, Alex and Tony. Alex is a swing guy who can play both positions.
“It’s good to have Joe at guard because he IS a guard. Last year he had to play tackle because of our situation, but he is at home at left guard. He does a nice job pulling and having him and Rob together is great. Those two and Quinton returning at center gives us a lot of experience from the center on out on the left side.
“On the right side, Tyson and Alex have played a lot of football and Jomantas is great because he can play all four positions – everything but center. He can back up all four spots, so he’s extremely valuable.”
The linebacker spot has been hit early and often by injuries this spring and summer. Incoming LB Ty Linton tore his ACL during the spring and is out, while projected starter M.J. Salahuddin suffered an injury in the preseason and has missed most of camp. Defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Dave Huxtable has both ends of the spectrum at his two linebacker spots: two seniors battling for the starter’s job at one position and two freshmen at the other.
Starter: Rodman Noel (6-4, 223, Sr.) or Brandon Pittman (6-2, 236, Sr.)
- Greatly improved player who has added strength and bulk.
- Has played in 37 career games, starting five on the strong side.
Huxtable on Noel: “ It’s been great competition. Rodman Noel came off having a really, really good spring and has had a great fall camp. He’s gotten bigger and stronger and is a lot smarter football player than he was a year ago. He’s done a tremendous job.”
- Top returning tackler from last season.
- Started seven games at WLB in 2013.
Huxtable on Pittman: “Brandon missed some practices in the spring which put him a little bit behind, but he had a great summer with our strength and conditioning coaches and has had a nice fall camp. They are both seniors and are competing for playing time. I see both of them competing and giving us some good downs.”
Starter: Jerod Fernandez (6-0, 224, *Fr.)
- Hard hitting young player who red-shirted last season.
- Co-recipient of the 2013 Scout Team Player of the Year Award.
Huxtable on Fernandez: “Jerod is a redshirt freshman who had a really good spring and really worked hard over the summer and has had a good camp. He’s a tough kid – a great contact kid who is very passionate about the game. “
Backup: Airius Moore (6-0, 220, Fr.)
- Talented new player who has impressed coaches in camp.
- Was not with the team until fall camp started.
Huxtable on Moore: “He’s really only been on campus a couple of weeks, but Airius is an extremely smart kid. He works at the game really hard. Every day in every rep you can hear him grunting and straining. He’s just been phenomenal.”