Redshirt junior offensive guard Duran Christophe started every regular-season game at left guard last season. The 6-foot-6, 302-pounder began this year as a reserve, but that didn't last long - he was pressed back into the starting lineup before the Miami game, when R.J. Mattes had to bump out to tackle due to injuries, and he also started there in upset win over No. 3 Florida State.
Although the offensive front has been constantly changing because of injuries, the group has performed admirably and allowed just three sacks over the past two games. They limited the Florida State defensive line, widely regarded as one of the best in the country, to just one sack, but Christophe was not surprised by the group's performance.
"When your name is called, you've got to do what you've got to do," he said. "Everybody knows everybody's position. The scout teams guys should know what to do. You never know what could happen, so whether you're first-string, second-string or third-string, you should be able to come in there and do your job like a first-string player."
Heading into Saturday's tilt with Maryland, Christophe has started 15 contests while appearing in 28 games during his career. He has allowed just two sacks in 1,149 snaps from scrimmage, and thinks the front line can continue their success against Maryland. Left tackle Rob Crisp and right tackle Andrew Wallace were both listed on Thursday's injury report as probable, and their possible returns could make the line even stronger.
"We're practicing for Maryland and watching film on them every day," Christophe said. "We're just trying to get as prepared as we can before the game.
"I guess they want you to think they run a 3-4. They try to get you off schedule and confused you, but as long as everybody is on the same page, we'll be all right."
There is a ton of excitement surrounding NC State football after their monumental win over Florida State, and if they win the rest of their games, they will get the chance to play for the ACC Championship in Charlotte. However, Christophe and his teammates are only thinking about the task at hand.
"That's true, but you can only worry about the next game," he said. "It won't mean anything if we lose this game, we can only worry about the game coming up."
In addition to serving up quality protection for quarterback Mike Glennon, Christophe has been operating a deli in the Avent Ferry shopping center near campus with his wife, Lisette.
The Christophes, who also have a young son, opened NYC deli earlier this year and have a menu board with sandwiches named after Wolfpack greats, such as Mario Williams and Philip Rivers.
"I think it's been about eight months now," he said. "My wife is opportunistic. She's smart, so when she says, 'jump,' I ask, 'how high?'
"It's New York style sandwiches with corned beef and pastrami, New York style bread and cheese."
Christophe joked that he had a bunk bed set up in the restaurant this summer because he was spending so much time inside the deli. However, with football season and class in session, he's had to step back a little bit and allow his wife to run things. He still helps when he can and dines on his favorite sandwich, which is not on the menu, at least not yet.
"I just put all the meats on one piece of bread with some mayonnaise and mustard," he laughed. "That's not on the menu, I've got to come out of the pocket to pay for that one."