Opening camp: NC State


Schedule: Practice begins at 4:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.

What’s new: Former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta has been hired to coach the linebackers. Tenuta has been a defensive coordinator at seven different schools in a span of 16 seasons, and his addition is expected to help a defense that ranked 99th in the country in scoring defense.

Sidelined: Cornerback Rashard Smith is out for season with the “Toney Baker injury,” a.k.a. cartilage damage in his knee that required surgery. Cornerback Jarvis Byrd, who started as a true freshman last year, is out with a knee injury. Brandon Barnes, who was in the mix at running back, is out with an ankle injury but should return for the start of the season. Guard R.J. Mattes is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last year. He missed spring ball but is expected to be cleared by early September.

Key battle: Running back, where nobody has any starting experience. Junior Curtis Underwood, who missed the spring game with a knee injury, redshirted last season. He had limited snaps in 2007 and 2008 when he carried 51 times for 200 yards and a touchdown. Underwood will compete with James Washington, who suffered a season-ending knee injury at Boston College. Washington carried 21 times for 76 yards last season, but he’s an undersized back whose durability could be a question.

New on the scene: OL Robert Crisp. Coach Tom O’Brien doesn’t typically play a lot of young offensive linemen, but Mattes played last year and the staff thinks Crisp is talented enough to add something immediately. He was rated the No. 5 offensive tackle by ESPN.com.

Breaking out: Underwood. Somebody has to run the ball, and Underwood has waited for this opportunity.

Don’t forget about: Linebacker Nate Irving. In 2008, Irving was the best player on the team and one of the top linebackers in the ACC.

All eyes on: Russell Wilson. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but doesn’t get a lot of recognition for it because of the Pack’s losing records.

Quotable: "I could've been dead. I could've had my leg cut off. There was so much more that could've happened. But here I am, getting ready to play football again. So I could be nothing but grateful." -- Irving to reporters at ACC media days in Greensboro, N.C.