TIM PEELER: Blackman anxious to contribute again
BY TIM PEELER
Out because of a knee injury since the opening kickoff of the Sept. 16 game at
“It was kind of frustrating for me, having to sit and not being able to do anything about it,” Blackman said. “I never really had to sit out with a major injury or anything.
“It was especially tough at the end of the game, on that last drive. In situations like that, I like to be on the field, so if there is a block I need to make for my teammates or a catch I need to make, I can be out there. I like to contribute and help. So sitting out was hard. I really felt down in my gut that we were going to win that game, but on the other hand you want to be out there so you can do anything for the team.”
And he won’t know until just before kickoff if he’ll be a factor in Thursday night’s nationally televised match-up between the Wolfpack (2-2 overall, 1-0 ACC) and Flordia State (3-1, 1-1), though the sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee does feel substantially better than it did when he first injured it.
“I feel real good about where I am with the knee,” Blackman said following practice this week. “I am out there before practice running on it and I feel good about cutting on it and planting on it. But it’s up to the coaching staff and the athletic training staff to see where I will be.
“I’ll be out there with the team, regardless, doing what I can to help.”
Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato said Monday it would be a game-time decision about whether Blackman who is listed as questionable in Wednesday’s final pre-game injury update would be available for the game against the Seminoles. Blackman will have to go through a series of agility drills during pre-game warm-ups to assess his recovery and how much he will be used as both a wide receiver and on kick and punt returns.
“We are hoping,” Amato said. “It is probably going to be a game-day decision.”
New starting quarterback Daniel Evans, who took over the offense in the second half against Southern Miss and never had a chance to play with Blackman as one of his targets, is anxious for him to be on the field. Blackman has two touchdowns among his six catches on the season.
“He is one of those guys who is so good I don’t have to do anything,” Evans said. “I can throw a bubble screen out there and he can give you 80 yards just on that. It definitely takes the pressure off of a young quarterback like me.”
At the same time, Evans has a lot of faith in the receivers he has already worked with: senior LaMart Barrett, junior John Dunlap and freshmen Donald Bowens and Geron James.
“We have guys who can pick up his slack, like Dunlap did last week,” said Evans, whose 34-yard touchdown pass to Dunlap with 8.5 seconds to play was the game-winning play against
Blackman, however, would like to be added to that corps of receivers that Evans can look to for big plays.
“I think he is a good quarterback,” Blackman said. “He is patient with his play-making skills. He is able to sit back there and wait for things to happen. That’s good in the type of offense we are running.
“It is giving us time to get out and run the routes and then him to plug the ball to where ever it needs to be. I am feeling really confident. We just have to give him time to make the plays.”
You may contact Tim Peeler at firstname.lastname@example.org.