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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
NC State's Jamelle Eugene on pressure

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

NC State running back Jamelle Eugene has a little saying he likes to use when people ask him about pressure: "Pressure can bust pipes or it can make diamonds," he said. "I see a whole bunch of diamonds at the running back positions."

He's not the only one.

While questions abound in Raleigh, the only one surrounding the running backs is which one of the three returning starters will emerge as the main man. So far, it's Eugene's job to lose -- he earned it last year.

Eugene started the final six games of last season after injuries to juniors Toney Baker and Andre Brown, both 1,000-yard rushers. Eugene had three 100-yard games and finished the season with 172 carries for 667 yards and five touchdowns.

Now they're all healthy, and the Wolfpack just might need all of them if they're going to improve upon last year's mark of 89.2 rushing yards per game -- the second-worst in the ACC.

"We all came in together and we're all competitors and everybody's, respectively, had their shot at one point or another," Eugene said. "With everybody healthy, that should just mean we're going to be deep in the running back position and NC State is going to be dependable. I feel like coach knows he can plug any one of us in and whoever is the hot hand at the time is going to play."