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August 16, 2011

Situational scrimmage challenges players

The third of four scrimmages tests the players mentally almost as much physically.

NC State coach Tom O'Brien has the players think on the fly, adjust to either trailing or leading in the final minutes of games, and what could bring overtime in certain situations. He said the team goes through six different scenarios and it's a practice they've been using since being at Boston College.

"It's all three-minute or four-minute situations," O'Brien said. "It's all end of the game. There are so many learning things that happen with this on all sides of the football. It's a great drill for the quarterbacks, and good for the coaches. It's just good for everybody.

"Three times last year we lost in the last minute of the football game, so that is why we do these things."

One scenario led to freshman kicker Niklas Sade rushing on to the field with the clock ticking down and calmly hitting a 53-yard field goal as time expired. He also added 38-yarder and is 10 of 12 over the three scrimmages.

Freshman punter Wil Baumann averaged 43.4 yards on five punts for another positive to go along with Sade's kicking.

"Those freshman have been impressive thus far," O'Brien said. "I've kept putting them under pressure.

"I was really happy with that situation [Sade's 53-yarder] with the way it played out."

The quarterbacks combined to go 22 of 41 for 261 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. The offensive line paved the way for 98 yards and a score on 38 carries, but the defense did break through for seven sacks for minus-48 yards and 15 tackles for losses.

"One team is always behind," said O'Brien, who said the offense had four penalties and the defense three. "You are playing at the end of the game in a two-minute situation. You get in some situations where you have to throw the ball regardless. Most of them [interceptions] were long throws at the end of time or fourth down heaves. That isn't good for the offense because in those situations you have to go up for the football."

O'Brien was encouraged despite the gloomy offensive statistics.

"I think the offense caught up a little bit in some of these situations," O'Brien said. "That is a positive for this team, and hopefully a confidence builder for the offense. And it knocks the defense down a peg or two, which is pretty good."

Redshirt junior quarterback Mike Glennon is under the microscope and is expected to accelerate his progress when he gets game experience. He's been seldom used the last two years.

"I think he did well, but I don't know what his breakdown is," O'Brien said. "They [the offense] made some plays tonight that they haven't made the first two scrimmages. That is positive for the offense.

"There are some things he works on every day. He's not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. He has good days sometimes and he has bad days sometimes. He makes good throws and he makes bad throws. The bad throws, you have to make those in practice because you have to test your arm, and test what you do."

O'Brien also believes Glennon is adjusting fine to being one of the leaders of the offense.

"I'm not asking him to get that even though it's a function of being a quarterback," O'Brien said. "The thing he has to do is run the offense, and if he runs the offense efficiently, that will be leadership for us right now."

O'Brien couldn't yet confirm the arrival of LSU center transfer Cameron Fordham, who will have to sit out the season per NCAA rules. However, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Everett Proctor of Fayetteville, N.C., has left the program.

"He didn't do what he was supposed to do as far as being a champion in the classroom, community, so he doesn't have a chance to play on the football field," O'Brien said. "It's permanently. I think he'll go to a junior college somewhere."


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