NCF Nation: Mustafa Greene

NC State running back Mustafa Greene has been dismissed from the team, according to the Wilmington Star News.

NC State coach Tom O’Brien told reporters after the Wolfpack's 20-18 win over Maryland that Greene, along with redshirt freshman wide receiver Tyrrell Burriss, have been dismissed.
“They are no longer on the football team,” O’Brien said, according to the report. “They weren’t champions in the classroom or in the community. They’re not going to get the opportunity to play on this football team, so they will no longer be with us.”

Greene was in the midst of serving an indefinite suspension, and he has had a turbulent career filled with more injuries and drama than actual production. When he did play, though, he showed a lot of potential. It's unfortunate for NC State and for Greene that his potential wasn't realized.

Duke, NC State come out on top

September, 22, 2012
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Recapping the early-evening games ...

NC State 52, Citadel 14: True freshman Shadrach Thornton stole the show for NC State in its victory over the Citadel.

Thornton not only played in his first collegiate game, but he got his first collegiate start and he made the most of it, running for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Thornton started in place of the injured James Washington and Tony Creecy and the suspended Mustafa Greene and gave this running game a huge jolt.

Do I need to remind you that Creecy went into the game as the team's leading rusher with 130 yards? Thornton was the only healthy running back to practice all week, and became the first NC State freshman to go over 100 yards rushing in his first game since Joe McIntosh did it against Richmond in 1981. NC State finished with 282 rushing yards, its highest team total since 297 against Southern Mississippi in 2005.

Meanwhile, Mike Glennon went 19-of-24 for 233 yards with a touchdown, and Quintin Payton had five catches for 100 yards.

David Amerson recorded an interception in his third consecutive game and now is in a tie for the school record with 16 for his career.

Duke 38, Memphis 14: It was not the prettiest game for the Blue Devils, who struggled to put away one of the worst teams in college football. But they absolutely dominated the second half and are now 3-1 headed into their game at Wake Forest last week.

Turnovers and missed opportunities plagued this team -- there were fumbles at the Memphis 14 and at the goal line, and a muffed punt, too. Duke finished at minus-four in turnover margin (four turnovers to zero for Memphis) and found itself trailing 14-7 midway through the second quarter. But Sean Renfree found his groove, and so did the defense -- which ended up holding Memphis to nine first downs and 1-of-11 on third down for the night.

Renfree ended up going 26-of-37 for 314 yards with four touchdown passes and one interception. Conner Vernon had eight catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns for the 11th 100-yard game of his career.

Duke now opens the season with three consecutive home wins for the first time since 1994.

NCSU RB Mustafa Greene suspended

September, 15, 2012
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NC State running back Mustafa Greene is suspended for today's game against South Alabama (6 p.m. ET, ESPN3), a school spokesman confirmed. No reason was given, but coach Tom O'Brien is expected to address it after the game.

It seems like every time Greene is on the verge of making a comeback, something prevents it. He was the team’s leading rusher in 2010 with 597 yards, and he caught 30 passes for another 272 yards. Greene suffered a foot injury in spring practice of 2011 and missed the entire season. He missed most of spring drills this year and part of preseason camp to concentrate on academics, but ended up leading the team in rushing in the opener, despite being the third back in the game.

Greene started the win at Connecticut.

NC State a team on the rise

August, 28, 2012
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The talk is growing louder again about NC State. Given all the talent returning, given how close it has come to winning an ACC title before, could this be the season the Wolfpack finally puts it all together?

Some folks say yes.

[+] EnlargeNC State's Tom O'Brien
Jeremy Brevard/US PRESSWIRENC State coach Tom O'Brien's Wolfpack are a sleeper pick in the ACC this season.
So the dark horse label has been firmly affixed onto this team as it gets ready for a huge opener against Tennessee on Friday night in the Georgia Dome.

"We’ve always been a sleeper team," receiver Tobais Palmer said in a recent phone interview."I feel as though there's certain teams in the ACC that get respect, like Clemson, Florida State, those type of guys. Nobody gives us the respect we deserve, but that's OK. We use it as motivation and it helps us out. Going into the first game, I’m excited to see what this season brings."

Just look at what the Wolfpack have going into the season. The best cornerback in the nation in David Amerson, who set an ACC record with 13 interceptions last season. A veteran leader in Mike Glennon, one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC. Major depth at running back -- so much so that coach Tom O'Brien may deviate from his normal two-back rotation and play starter Tony Creecy, James Washington and Mustafa Greene against the Volunteers.

And one of the most experienced offensive lines in all of college football, with four starters who each logged over 700 snaps last season. Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said Tuesday on a media call for the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game that this is the best team NC State has had in a while, though O'Brien was a little more reserved when asked what he thinks of the team he has for 2012.

"Right now you get to the end of camp and you look forward to playing the opening game because after practicing against yourself, you're not sure what you have," O'Brien said. "A lot of the questions we might have about ourselves, when you go against an SEC powerhouse like Tennessee will be answered."

There are some question marks to be sure. The entire starting linebacker unit is new. Depth has to be developed at receiver, where projected starter Bryan Underwood is out with an injury. And starting cornerback C.J. Wilson has been held out of practice because of an NCAA eligibility issue and is not listed on the depth chart for the game. Junior Dontae Johnson is expected to start in his place.

NC State also plays in the tough Atlantic Division, featuring preseason favorite No. 7 Florida State and reigning ACC champ No. 14 Clemson, the two highest ranked teams in the ACC. For NC State to truly have a shot at the ACC title, the Wolfpack are going to have to beat both teams, something they have not done in the same season since 2002.

They have split against them the last two seasons. Last year, NC State lost to Florida State 34-0, the first time since 2008 the Wolfpack had been shutout. But after a devastating loss to Boston College, the Wolfpack went into their home game against No. 7 Clemson without anybody giving them much of a shot, mostly because they were fighting for bowl eligibility. But they pulled off the major shocker, winning 37-13.

Go back to 2010. NC State beat Florida State but lost to Clemson 14-13 after blowing a fourth-quarter lead. Still, the Wolfpack had a shot at winning the ACC heading into their season finale against Maryland. But they lost 38-31, blowing their chances. They had to watch Florida State get to the ACC championship game instead.

"For the past two years, we've had a shot at it," Palmer said. "The year before, we gave the game away losing to Maryland. Last year, we gave the league away. We've always been so close every year. We feel this year is the year everyone is going to dial in. We’ve been getting after each other. We're holding each other accountable. As long as we keep doing that, we should be a hard team to stop."
PINEHURST, N.C. -- For the second straight year, it was over before it began for NC State cornerback Jarvis Byrd.

Byrd, who was listed as the starter at boundary corner on the preseason depth chart, tore his ACL last week and will miss the season, coach Tom O’Brien said on Monday. It is the second torn ACL for Byrd, who injured the opposite knee in 2010.

O’Brien said he found out about the injury on Friday afternoon. He said he will meet with the staff this week about the position.

“They were playing seven-on-seven Wednesday night like they do, and he felt something turn, and had an MRI Friday,” O’Brien said. “I don’t know when his surgery is, I just know that the MRI showed he had an ACL. He’ll miss the year, certainly.”

Byrd was one of the Wolfpack’s top special teams players in 2009 and earned a starting role at boundary corner in November. He tore his ACL against North Carolina that year and missed 2010 spring practices and redshirted last year.

O’Brien also said running back Mustafa Greene, who had surgery in April for a foot injury, is expected to return October 1.

ACC's top 10 running backs

June, 20, 2011
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The ACC position rankings continue today with the running backs.

Montel Harris
Sean Meyers/Icon SMIMontel Harris is the ACC's leading returning rusher, coming off a 1,243-yard season.
1. Montel Harris, Boston College: Until proven otherwise, this record-setter is tops in the ACC. He’s currently the league’s most accomplished back, and has topped the 100-yard mark 21 times.

2. David Wilson, Virginia Tech: He was the team’s third-leading rusher a year ago with 619 yards and 5.5 yards per carry. Now he’s got the spotlight to himself, and has a chance to become an All-American in both track and football.

3. Lamar Miller, Miami: He had one of the best spring games in the conference, and averaged six yards per carry last year with only 108 carries for 646 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 11 catches for 96 yards.

4. Chris Thompson, Florida State: He led FSU with 845 yards and 6.3 yards per carry last year. He also had 19 catches for 155 yards.

5. Andre Ellington, Clemson: He could break 1,000 yards if he stays healthy, but a nagging toe injury has kept him from reaching his potential. He ran for 686 yards, (5.8 ypc), and 10 touchdowns in less than nine full games.

6. Josh Harris, Wake Forest: He ranked fifth in the ACC last year with 65.5 yard per game and finished with 720 yards on 126 carries and seven touchdowns. He made a name for himself with 241 rushing yards against ACC champ Virginia Tech.

7. Davin Meggett, Maryland: He was the Terps’ leading rusher with 720 yards, 5.7 yards per carry, and four touchdowns. He also has 29 career pass receptions for 313 yards and a touchdown.

8. Mustafa Greene, NC State: He led the team in rushing as a freshman with 597 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 30 catches for 272 yards.

9. Ryan Houston, North Carolina: He has broken out of the mold of the Tar Heels’ short-yardage back and is ready to be the every-down guy. Houston sat out last year because of a suspension, but he led UNC in rushing in 2009 with 713 yards and nine touchdowns.

10. Orwin Smith, Georgia Tech: He's an A-back, which is more of a slot back, but he was Tech's third-leading rusher last year with 516 yards and 9.7 yards per carry with four touchdowns. He was also the second-leading receiver on the team with 12 catches for 195 yards and a 16.2 yards-per-play average.
Last week we looked at how the quarterbacks stacked up in the ACC. This week, we’ll take a closer look at the running backs. Again, the position rankings by team put heavy weight on the depth of the position -– hence the team ranking, not individual. Just because Virginia Tech has one of the best running backs in the ACC doesn’t mean that collectively, as a group, Virginia Tech is the best team in the league at the position. Florida State? Loaded. Wake Forest? Not. These are based on the best combination of talent, experience and depth.

Here’s a look at how each team ranks in the position:

[+] EnlargeChris Thompson
Lee Coleman/Icon SMIChris Thompson averaged 6.4 yards per carry for the Seminoles last season.
1. Florida State: Chris Thompson, Ty Jones and Jermaine Thomas combined for 1,862 yards, 6.1 yards per carry, and 17 touchdowns last year. Thompson had 1,000 yards combined from both rushing and receiving last year, and Thomas enters his senior season with 1,084 career yards -- the second most of any active ACC runner, behind only Montel Harris (3,600).

2. Boston College: Montel Harris could break a 33-year-old ACC rushing record this fall, and his backup, Andre Williams, is a bigger back who has proven more than capable of shouldering the load himself. Together they’re one of the best one-two combos in the league.

3. Miami: The transfer of Storm Johnson hurt, but Lamar Miller should be one of the best in the ACC, and Mike James was ahead of Johnson on the depth chart. The Canes also have Darion Hall, Maurice Hagens and incoming freshman Kevin Grooms.

4. Clemson: Andre Ellington will be the leader of the pack, but true freshman Mike Bellamy could also make an immediate impact, and the group runs deep with Roderick McDowell, D.J. Howard and Demont Buice.

5. Virginia Tech: Had Ryan Williams and Darren Evans returned, this would have been one of the premier groups of running backs in the country. Instead, it will be the David Wilson show (and Josh Oglesby). Not that the Hokies will have any problem with that.

6. Maryland: Davin Meggett and D.J. Adams are a talented duo, but depth should be a concern. Meggett posted a team-high 720 rushing yards in 2010, while Adams had a freshman school-record 11 rushing touchdowns.

7. NC State: The Wolfpack are in a much better position at running back than they were a year ago, when nobody with starting experience returned. Mustafa Greene, James Washington and Brandon Barnes should make NC State’s running game a bigger factor this fall.

8. Georgia Tech: Coach Paul Johnson isn’t concerned about his B-back position because it’s one of the deepest on the team. There isn’t one superstar like in recent years, but Richard Watson, Charles Perkins and Preston Lyons will work together to keep the Jackets one of the top rushing teams in the country.

9. North Carolina: The Tar Heels have to replace three tailbacks who accounted for 96 percent of their rushing last year. Ryan Houston is back for his sixth season of eligibility, but he is the only one who has seen significant playing time. Giovani Bernard, Hunter Furr and Travis Riley help the depth.

10. Wake Forest: Josh Harris could crack the 1,000-yard mark if he stays healthy, and Brandon Pendergrass is a capable backup. There are three true freshmen at the position, and it’s one area coach Jim Grobe can’t afford any injuries.

11. Virginia: Perry Jones and Kevin Parks are talented, but the Cavaliers will miss the production of Keith Payne, who accounted for 14 of the team’s 17 rushing touchdowns. Jones started all but one game last year, but only scored one touchdown.

12. Duke: The Blue Devils’ running game is starting to show progress, but last year it still ranked 104th in the country. Depth isn’t a problem, as Desmond Scott, Josh Snead and Juwan Thompson should help make it a more productive group this year.

Stay tuned for the top 10 ACC running backs for 2011 ...

Catching up with Tom O'Brien

April, 13, 2011
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This spring is the first time coach Tom O'Brien's NC State team has had all its scholarship players to work with in the two-deep depth chart. That alone has made it a more enjoyable spring. The biggest question facing NC State heading into the fall will be the wide receivers, but O'Brien can deal with that. "In the past we've had two or three question mark positions," he said. "Now we're down to one."

I caught up with O'Brien on Friday to see how the Pack was doing this spring. Here are some highlights:

[+] EnlargeO'Brien
Brian Utesch/US PresswireNC State coach Tom O'Brien has confidence in quarterback Mike Glennon.
First, the bad news: NC State running back and 2010 leading rusher Mustafa Greene will have foot surgery and miss the rest of the spring, according to The Raleigh News & Observer. Greene had really made strides with his pass protection since last year and O'Brien told me on Friday Greene had "grown up a lot."

The good news: Greene is expected to be back by the fall, and the Wolfpack is in a much better situation than it was this time a year ago, when it didn't have any running backs on the roster with starting experience. Brandon Barnes and James Washington give the position depth.

The move to the middle: Audie Cole's move to middle linebacker has been a successful one this spring. He has taken over the spot vacated by Nate Irving, and O'Brien has been pleased. "I think it’s showing that the move was a good one for us," O'Brien said. "Audie Cole is really a good linebacker, he’s a smart kid. Jon (Tenuta) likes to put his best player at linebacker. Audie has taken the challenge, he’s getting everybody lined up, he understands everything about the defense."

The Mike Glennon era begins: O'Brien has no lack of confidence in Glennon, who has plenty of spring experience running with the first team. "He's much more comfortable doing things. He has the ability to make any throw that has to be made on the football field. It's just a question of getting in and doing it in game experience and gaining the confidence to do it under pressure time in and time out."

The Russell Wilson era ends:What if he comes back? "It really doesn't matter if he does or not," O'Brien said. "We're committed to Michael Glennon, and we're going forward from there. What we've discussed with Russell and Michael, understand where we are and what we have to do. We're all about team building. It's all about continuity. Nobody can say Russell is coming back. You can't count on it."

Improved o-line: This is the first time O'Brien has five players to work with who have game experience. It's been a much better starting point for the Pack this spring.

The lingering question: NC State graduated its top receivers and needs some playmakers to emerge. O'Brien said he's not going to know how many of the young players will fare until they're in a game situation. "I don’t think it’s an area we’re comfortable with yet," O'Brien said. "It’s an area that’s certainly a work in progress and you can certainly tell that T.J. Graham and Jay Smith are ahead of the rest of the pack because they have the most experience. Steve Howard and Quintin Payton had played a little bit last year. They have showed progress. The kids that are intriguing to us right now are Tobais Palmer and Bryan Underwood. They are the guys we redshirted a year ago. They’re doing a little more thinking right now than they are playing. That’s all part of figuring everything out right now. They certainly are talented young guys. Once they get it figured out they’ll be much more in tune with what we have to do to play much faster."

Spring preview: Atlantic Division

February, 15, 2011
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It's that time of year, ACC fans. Duke kicks off the ACC's spring football schedule with practice tomorrow, so it's time to take a look at three storylines to watch for each program. We'll start with the Atlantic Division:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • The progression of quarterback Chase Rettig. As a true freshman, Rettig replaced Dave Shinskie as starter against Notre Dame on Oct. 2. He’ll only get better with more experience, and there’s room for improvement, as he threw nine interceptions and six touchdowns. He completed 51.3 percent of his passes for 137.6 yards per game. Two of those picks came in the 20-13 loss to Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger bowl, but he’s expected to take an important step forward this offseason and will need to if BC is going to graduate from the nation’s 109th best offense.
  • The offense under a new coordinator. Kevin Rogers replaced Gary Tranquill, who retired after the bowl game, and the Eagles will have to adjust to a new scheme and system, starting this spring. Rogers said he'll adapt his system to the personnel he has to work with, but considering he was hired on Monday, there hasn't been much time for him to evaluate film.
  • The revamped offensive line. BC has to replace three starters up front, including left tackle Anthony Castonzo, right guard Thomas Claiborne and right tackle Rich Lapham. Emmett Cleary and center Mark Spinney are returning starters, and left guard Ian White started a few games at the end of the year. Bryan Davis, Claiborne’s backup at right guard, and John Wetzel, Castonzo’s backup, are frontrunners to earn starts.
CLEMSON

Spring practice starts: March 7

Spring game: April 9

What to watch:
  • Quarterback Tajh Boyd. Prior to the arrival of two early enrollees, Boyd was the only scholarship quarterback on the roster, and his experience alone -- albeit limited -- makes it his job to lose. The staff wants him to become a little more accurate and consistent this spring. His education was accelerated at this time a year ago when former quarterback Kyle Parker spent the spring playing baseball, but that was under former offensive coordinator Billy Napier. He’s got a new coordinator -- and a new offense to learn.
  • The new offensive scheme. First-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris brings an up-tempo style similar to that of Auburn’s, and the Tigers will have to learn it as quickly as he’ll want them to execute it. Morris has said Boyd is suited just right to lead it. Morris will want to stretch the field in every direction, depend on a strong running game and include long pass plays. He’s tasked with improving an offense that ranked No. 10 in the ACC in both scoring offense and total offense.
  • Defense up the middle. It starts up front, where the Tigers have to replace defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins. Linebacker Brandon Maye, who played in the middle a lot, decided to transfer, and safety DeAndre McDaniel, who controlled the middle of the field in the secondary, has also graduated. The Tigers have the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 1 outside linebacker in the country in this year’s recruiting class, but they won’t arrive until the summer. For now, Corico Hawkins returns as a starting middle linebacker, while Quandon Christian is likely to stay on the outside. Rennie Moore will replace Jenkins, but McDaniel’s spot is up for grabs.
FLORIDA STATE

Spring practice starts: March 21

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Big holes on the offensive line. There’s depth, experience and incoming talent, but there are also big shoes to fill with the graduation of left guard Rodney Hudson and center Ryan McMahon. Right guard David Spurlock has been seen snapping on the sidelines at practices, indicating he could move to center, while recovering from concussions and going through rehab. McMahon’s backup was Jacob Stanley. Henry Orelus, Bryan Stork and Rhonne Sanderson all started at right guard for Spurlock when he was out. Junior college transfer Jacob Fahrenkrug, the No. 4 overall junior college prospect, could have an immediate impact at left guard.
  • Backup quarterback battle. With EJ Manuel a lock as the starter, the attention turns to the No. 2 spot. Clint Trickett, a redshirt freshman and son of offensive line coach Rick Trickett, and Will Secord, a redshirt sophomore, are the top two candidates. Secord was named the most improved quarterback of the spring at this time a year ago. Neither of them have thrown a collegiate pass.
  • Linebackers. The Seminoles will have to replace two starters in Kendall Smith and Mister Alexander. Nigel Bradham is the only returning starter. This spring will feature competition among Christian Jones, Telvin Smith, Vince Williams and Jeff Luc. It’s a more talented crop waiting in the wings, but inexperience is a factor. It’s a chance for Luc and Jones -- two of FSU’s top recruits in the 2010 class -- to remind everyone why they were rated the No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 2 outside linebacker, respectively, in the country.
MARYLAND

Spring practice starts: March 29

Spring game: April 30

What to watch:
  • New staff, new schemes. First-year coach Randy Edsall wants to be multiple, get vertical and take advantage of quarterback Danny O’Brien’s strengths. The departure of former defensive coordinator Don Brown to Connecticut was a surprise and a blow to the defense, which will now have to make a transition under a new coordinator who has yet to be hired.
  • Competition at linebacker. Two starters have to be replaced in Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten, who were also both leaders of the defense. Demetrius Hartsfield returns as a starter, but the new staff will have to figure out who else fits into what slots. Ben Pooler has had knee trouble, but he is expected to compete with Darin Drakeford and Ryan Donohue, who were both No. 2 at their respective positions in 2010.
  • Special teams. Not only did the Terps lose a four-year starter in punter/placekicker Travis Baltz, they also have to replace their top kick returner and conference leader in all-purpose yards in receiver Torrey Smith, who left early for the NFL. Nick Ferrara handled kickoffs last year and was No. 2 behind Baltz at both kicker and punter, but he’s a placekicker first, and has to get back on track with consistency. He’ll be the only scholarship kicker on the roster until incoming freshman Nathaniel Renfro joins the team this summer. Dexter McDougle has returned kickoffs in the past, and Trenton Hughes is another option, but with a new staff, it could be a clean slate.
NC STATE

Spring practice starts: March 17

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Mike Glennon. The team is moving forward as if starter Russell Wilson won’t return, promoting Glennon to No. 1 on the depth chart. The offense will have a new look, as the plays will be suited to Glennon’s strengths. At 6-foot-7, he’s much taller than Wilson, a more prototypical drop-back passer with a strong arm. While the plays might look different to the fans, they’re the same ones Glennon has been practicing since the day he arrived on campus. He’s a smart, unflappable player scheduled to graduate this May, but we haven’t seen enough of him to know just how good he is.
  • A new crop of receivers. NC State will have to replace three seniors in Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams and Darrell Davis. Spencer and Williams led the Pack in receiving last year, combining for nine touchdowns and over 1,600 yards. NC State will turn to Jay Smith, who had 10 catches in 12 games, Steven Howard, Quintin Payton, and T.J. Graham, who had four touchdowns and played in all 13 games. Payton played a little more toward the end of the year, and he’s a tall, big target (about 6-foot-4) and comparable to Williams. Bryan Underwood, who redshirted last year, could also contribute.
  • Running back competition. James Washington had taken over the starting job at the end of 2010, but he’ll be pushed this spring by Dean Haynes and Mustafa Greene, who led the team in rushing in 2010 as a true freshman. They’ll also be under the direction of a new assistant coach, as Jason Swepson is now the head coach at Elon. It will be the first time Greene has been in a spring practice, and Washington, who was hurt last year, is finally healthy.
WAKE FOREST

Spring practice starts: March 15

Spring game: April 16

What to watch:
  • Progress of quarterback Tanner Price. The maturation of Price, who started nine games as a true freshman last year, will be crucial to the Deacs’ hopes of returning to the postseason. Price was forced to play earlier than expected and finished with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. He completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 1,349 yards.
  • A defense in transition. Coach Jim Grobe has said the staff is committed to making the transition to a 3-4 defense. The Deacons used that scheme to defend the triple option against Georgia Tech and Navy, and continued to experiment with it as the season progressed. This linebackers in this year’s recruiting class were brought in specifically with the 3-4 defense in mind.
  • Redshirt offensive linemen. There were three true freshmen who redshirted last year who are expected to give four returning starters some legitimate competition -- Colin Summers, Dylan Heartsill and Daniel Blitch. The Deacs will also have to replace starting center Russell Nenon. Chance Raines was his backup last year.

Mustafa Greene injured

November, 27, 2010
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The official word here is that NC State running back Mustafa Greene is out for the rest of the game with a neck strain. The Pack were struggling to run the ball with Greene, but he'll definitely be missed in the second half. He's a fan favorite and has shown some potential this season. He took a big hit from Cameron Chism that resulted in a 15-yard penalty in the first half.

Defenses the difference

November, 27, 2010
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Both defenses are now putting the pressure on. The bone-jarring hit that Cameron Chism laid on Mustafa Greene knocked Greene out of the game with a head injury. His status is expected to be updated at halftime.

This quarter has been highlighted by sacks, forced fumbles, and now a game-changing interception by Maryland backup safety Eric Franklin. Maryland has been one of the best turnover teams in the country this year, and NC State fans will remember Russell Wilson's costly interception at East Carolina this year.

In each of NC State's losses this season, turnovers have been a factor. This game is no exception, as the Terps were able to convert that turnover into a game-tying touchdown. The game is 14-14 with 2:25 left in the half.

Halftime: NC State 21, UCF 7

September, 11, 2010
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Surprise -- NC State is winning with its running game. Quarterback Russell Wilson has had a pedestrian first half, and he hasn't had to be a superstar. Rookie running backs Mustafa Greene and Dean Haynes have each rushed for at least 40 yards and a touchdown. It's not easy to win on the road no matter who it's against, and NC State's defense has helped by shutting down UCF on third downs and stopping the run. Keeping the game plan for the second half should help the Pack take another step forward.

Recruiting rewind: NC State

February, 4, 2010
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As a former offensive line coach, NC State coach Tom O’Brien has a heightened interest in the progress of the group, and with five offensive linemen in this year’s class, the Pack took another important step in building it into the formidable wall of protection O’Brien is aiming for.

“We want to build an NFL line, like we did at Boston College, no doubt about that,” he said. “I think, as we move on, we are recruiting kids who have that kind of skills.”

ESPNU 150 offensive tackle Robert Crisp, the Pack’s top prospect in this class, is one of them.

“He has really good feet,” O’Brien said. “With all linemen, he is not on the ground a lot. He's a lot like Teddy Larsen. If you can move your feet, get good body position and you are not on the ground a lot of the time because you have good balance, those are keys to being a good offensive linemen. He has great size and great reach. If you draw up a proto-type body, he has it for an offensive lineman. He has to come in and learn his right from his left and who to block, then he has the physical skills that look he can be a good lineman.”

NC State helped itself up front on both sides of the ball on Wednesday. With four junior college transfers, five offensive linemen and four defensive backs, O’Brien was able to add depth and talent in his fourth recruiting class. And his top two prospects -- Crisp and defensive back David Amerson -- came from in-state.

“We addressed a lot of things we had to address in this recruiting class,” O’Brien said. “We signed 11 on offense and 11 on defense, so once again we signed a football team. And we signed a kicker who will hopefully help resolve some of the problems we’ve had kicking off. We made a concerted effort once again to recruit our home and did a real nice job in the state of North Carolina.”

NC State had a patchwork secondary in 2009, and O’Brien said it’s one position a freshman could see immediate playing time. The Pack also added maturity and size up front on both sides from junior college transfers David Akinniyi and Mikel Overgaard, who should work their way into the lineup. Another player who could see the field early is running back Mustafa Greene.

“You look at the running back situation, and he probably thinks he has a real good chance, which is why he is coming here,” O’Brien said. “There are not a lot of carries and not a lot of yards by the three guys that are there. As with all freshmen, who knows who is going to play and who is not going to play. As has been explained to him, the faster he learns the offense -- and for a running back that means he is going to have to learn some pass protection, he can't whiff on that -- the faster he can play. But, when it comes down to it, he is going to have to learn to protect the quarterback.”

The one thing that NC State still lacks is upperclassmen, as there will only be 12 seniors on the team this year, and six were inherited from the previous staff and four are incoming junior college players.

“We still need help on both sides of the line with young kids,” O’Brien said, “but we are still trying to buy time until some of these young kids grow up.”

They appear to have done that with this class.

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