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September 26, 2013

DL coach Ryan Nielsen sees need for more depth



Head coach Dave Doeren mentioned Monday that NC State may be a little short in some areas entering Saturday's game against Central Michigan. One such position could be defensive end.

Fifth-year senior Darryl Cato-Bishop is questionable after leaving during the first half of the Clemson game with an apparent leg/foot injury. Prior to that, defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen had already depth worries at the end spot.

Nielsen has been working with a four-man rotation there, a group that includes two seniors, making defensive end depth even more precarious going forward.

"We don't have a lot of depth, and that's the thing," Nielsen said. "That's why I am telling recruits they can come in and play now. We're playing 11 true freshmen. With our depth at defensive end, we've had to move some guys. The guys that are there are doing okay. We just have to keep improving on our fundamentals."

One player that can expect increased playing time if Cato-Bishop has to miss some time is redshirt sophomore Mike Rose, who had six tackles and a sack against No. 3 Clemson. Rose's performance was a highlight for a group that held up well against the Tigers.

On the interior, one player that has been able to add some depth is defensive tackle Monty Nelson. As a true freshman, he has played in all three games, notching four tackles, including 2.5 for losses, and a forced fumble. Nelson had 1.5 tackles for loss against Clemson.

"We told Monty when we recruited him that he was coming here to play, and I think that's one of the things that attracted him," Nielsen recalled. "He's done a nice job coming here and playing. He's making some plays. It's pretty good when you can split a double team and get into the backfield and make a tackle as a true freshman."

Nielsen though wants more from defensive linemen.

"There is no victory in a loss," Nielsen said. "Guys played hard and did some things well. We had 13 tackles for loss as a defense [against Clemson], the most we've had on defense this year, which is a good thing.

"We have to create some turnovers like we did the first two games and we didn't do that. That hurt us a little bit I think. Overall, they were okay, but not good enough."

Despite the successes against Clemson, Nielsen is not worried about a letdown from his unit against Central Michigan.

"Our goal is to be 1-0 every week," the coach explained. "We have a 24-hour week where good, bad or indifferent, what happens after a game we learn from it, throw it in the trash and move on.

"I think we got a mature group and we've been able to do that. They've had two really good practices so far this week and that's what we're looking for."


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