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November 22, 2013

Tim Buckley and DBs prepare for air assault

NC State redshirt sophomore safety Tim Buckley has never played more than 12 snaps in a game, but that might change Saturday afternoon when the Pack hosts East Carolina.

The Pirates are going to throw it, and they will probably throw it a lot. ECU averages 43.6 pass attempts per game heading into Saturday, and they start four receivers. That means that although the Pack utilizes a 4-3 base formation on its defense, the nickel package will likely see extensive action.

That could mean more playing time for Buckley, who has often come into the game in the nickel package. Thus far this year, Buckley has 16 tackles, including assisting on one hit for a loss against UNC.

Buckley rarely played as a rookie in 2012, logging most of his playing time on special teams. Getting onto the field has not felt any different to Buckley however.

"It just was fun," Buckley said. "Finally getting out there was fun."

Fun is a word Buckley uses a lot. He noted that going through a disappointing season like the Pack has endured in 2013 is tough, as he described it, but he does not let that take away from his enjoyment of the sport.

"I just enjoy myself," Buckley noted. "That's all I can do, control what I can control. I'm having fun, having a good time. It would be better if we were winning, obviously, but I'm enjoying myself.

"I just have to keep getting better every practice and stay patient and just have fun really. You just have to have fun. You got to come here everyday, so you have to make it fun."

Buckley is a hometown kid on the Pack roster. He starred at Cardinal Gibbons High School, which is literally across the street from Carter-Finley Stadium. He walked on at Penn State for a year before earning a scholarship there.

In the wake of NCAA sanctions at Penn State, Buckley transferred without punishment to NC State. Despite being a local product, Buckley has few connections to East Carolina.

"I never really talked to ECU, they didn't offer me or recruit me," he said. "One kid from my high school went to ECU, Matt Milner, but besides that I don't really know anyone on the football team."

But Buckley is familiar with ECU's style. He noted that the Pirates are, in his opinion, the best team in Conference USA, and he knows that East Carolina will be amped up to play in Raleigh.

Buckley though thinks the defense will be just as excited, especially for himself personally.

"They do throw the ball a lot," Buckley noted. "It's exciting for the DBs because there is going to be some action. Last week [Boston College] didn't throw the ball a lot, and we didn't get to do so much. We are going to be a lot more involved, and that's always fun if you are a DB."

Not that Buckley needs any help having fun while playing.

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