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NC State spring wrap

4/30/2010

NC STATE

2009 overall record: 5-7

2009 conference record: 2-6

Returning starters

Offense: 7; Defense 5; Punter/Kicker 1

Top returners

QB Russell Wilson, WR Owen Spencer, OT Jake Vermiglio, LB Nate Irving, PK Josh Czajkowski, TE George Bryan, WR Jarvis Williams, LB Dwayne Maddox, LB Audie Cole

Key losses

C Ted Larsen, HB Toney Baker, DE Willie Young, DT Alan Michael Cash, CB DeAndre Morgan, LB Ray Michel

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Baker (773 yards)

Passing: Wilson* (3,027 yds)

Receiving: Ja. Williams* (547 yds)

Tackles: Cole* (73)

Sacks: Young (8)

Interceptions: C. Johnson (2)

Spring answers

1. Wilson will be back, but Mike Glennon is a capable starter. Starter Russell Wilson missed all of spring football to play baseball, but his season didn’t quite take the turn he had probably hoped, as Wilson wasn’t a starter. In his absence, Glennon impressed coach Tom O’Brien and completed 21 of 38 passes for 423 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Pack’s spring game. As long as Wilson picks up where he left off in 2009, it should be his job to lose.

2. Irving is back and can play. After missing last season with injuries he sustained in a serious 2009 summer car accident, it was unclear how much Irving would be able to contribute this spring. He moved to middle linebacker and eased his way back into full participation and played in half of the spring game.

3. Defensive linemen emerging. Even though all four starters from last year’s defensive line graduated, there was enough talent there this spring for optimism. Darryl Cato-Bishop, David Akinniyi, and Brian Slay impressed the staff. Their success is critical, as both J.R. Sweezy and Markus Kuhn are facing disciplinary action.

Fall questions

1. Who will run the ball? For the first time since 2005, NC State doesn’t have a running back with any starting experience. Brandon Barnes broke his ankle, and the competition is now between Curtis Underwood, who redshirted last year, and James Washington, who played in six games as a true freshman last year.

2. Punter, please. Nobody on the team has ever punted in a game situation. Chris Ward was the likely top option , but he was suspended for the spring and possibly the fall.

3. How much can the defense improve? With Irving back and former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta coaching the linebackers, it would seem as if the defense would get a boost. It’s going to have to if the Pack is going to make it to the postseason. NC State was No. 99 in the country last year in scoring defense, and No. 106 in pass efficiency defense. The secondary is lead by freshmen and sophomores.