Much maligned in 2009, this young group must step up its play in 2010 if the Pack hopes to win.
Like that rhyming? Pretty sick. Someone forward this blog to Dre.
Anywho…No question that the youngest position group on the field last season were the defensive backs and it is no question that it showed. Typical of young players, there were flashes of potential (Pittsburgh), often followed by head-scratching periods of growing pains (Duke). Fortunately, there is no better way to be baptized on the football field than to be done so by fire and that experience should begin to payoff this season…
Frump it for projected starters and analyis….don’t forget the rest of the spring breakdown, listed below and be on the lookout next week for a Frump-exclusive look at the Spring game set to kick tomorrow.
Day 6 – Linebackers
Day 5 – Defensive Line
Day 4 – Receivers
Day 3 – Offensive Line
Day 2 – Backfield (RB and QB)
Day 1 – Overview
CB So Rashard Smith 5-11 176 While the Pack was young in the secondary last season, it did not help that arguably its biggest play maker spent over half the season injured. Smith was the talk of fall camp and proved it on Saturdays. Starting 3 games and playing in 5, Smith keyed up a sack, 2 TFL and a PBU. The Pack sorely missed his aggressiveness and swagger in the defensive backfield. Should he stay healthy, Smith is a rising star with the potential to lock down his side of the field.
CB Fr David Amerson 6-1 182 Yes…it is true that I am predicting a high school safety with limited experience, who was recruited as a safety, to come in and start for the Pack as a true freshman. Before you get the straight jacket just know that Amerson is a great, rangy athlete who is not afraid the mix it up. TOB craves a physical presence at the corner position and Amerson proved he was just that at the Shrine Bowl game, punctuating team NC’s win over the Sandlapper’s with several big hits. At a position battle where the difference in experience between players is minimal, athleticism will usually win out. I am betting that is the case with Amerson.
IN THE MIX
It is a shame that So Jarvis Byrd 5-11 180 was injured late in the season because he would likely be starting…that said, we do not expect him to play this season while recovering from a torn ACL. That leaves Rs So CJ Wilson 5-11 179, Rs So Gary Grant 6-0 186 and Jr Jordan Monk 6-0 184 to battle it out for the nickle rotation. I expect to see all of them at some point.
SS So Brandon Bishop 6-2 210 Brandon will hope to build on his up and down season last year. Bishop rarely made the wrong read, only it was often too late and he would be behind the play. Hopefully, his experience last season will allow him to play faster instead of having to react what the offense is doing. If the mental portion of the game catches up with his physical traits, he will be a fine safety.
FS Rs So Earl Wolff 6-0 201 In his third year in the program, Pack fans have to hope that the light will come on for Mr. Wolff. The opposite of Bishop, who played too cautiously, Wolff had a bad habit of playing too aggressively, putting himself out of the play….especially against play action. Wolff will have to do a better job of staying home and on assignment so the Pack can limit the big play
IN THE MIX
Fr Dontae Johnson 6-3 180, Rs Fr Dean Haynes 5-11 193 and Rs Fr Donald Coleman 6-0 195 will all need to contribute in some form this season. Haynes has the ability to play in the nickle while Coleman is a little more physical and can come in to spell Bishop against run-heavy teams. Johnson’s play will likely mostly be limited to special teams, but if he is not red shirting you know TOB will get him some game experience. One name I have not mentioned is Fr DJ Green 6-4 202…that is because I am not sure what position the staff will put him at. He is an athletic freak so I am betting that the staff will choose to red shirt him, place him on the scout team and let his natural talents dictate where he ends up. His measurables are very similar to a one Willie Young’s his freshman year.
Overall the Pack has one thing they did not have last season….EXPERIENCE. I think that will go a long way. I do think you will still see us give up the occassional big play, I just hope we do better against the short passing game…defending a ‘west coast’ passing game gets a lot easier once you have seen it and that is truly what killed us last season. I think you will see improvement but the lack of a dominant pass rush will continue to unfairly magnify their short comings.
There is no doubt that NC State now has a physical, athletic secondary, similar to those that TOB put on the field while at BC. They just need to grow up and the Pack will win some games this season.