NC State held their first scrimmage of the spring Saturday on a wet day at Carter-Finley Stadium.
"I think it was a good effort today," Pack coach Tom O'Brien said. "I think it was much more enthusiasm out there. I think we're making progress, but there are a lot of little things which we have to take care of which you would expect at this point with the young and in some case inexperienced guys we have playing. As I told them at the end the most important thing is how we progress this week now that we've actually scrimmaged for the first time."
The scrimmage gave O'Brien a good chance to test some of the off-season position switches. Perhaps the most noted changes has been fifth-year senior John Bedics and redshirt junior Ted Larsen from defensive tackle to offensive guard. O'Brien noted he will not get a full measure of how the duo performed on the line until he has reviewed the scrimmage tape, but so far he believes it was the right move.
"I think it's something that I think is going to help the offensive line in the long run," he said. "Some of what I said before, they are going to have to learn by their mistakes, and it's a little tough situation out there anyway so. I think in the long run they are both into it, they've accepted the change, they're working extremely hard and they're both tough guys. Those are all the makings of being a halfway decent offensive lineman."
Redshirt sophomore John Ware and senior Robbie Leonard also basically switched positions, with Ware moving to safety and Leonard playing linebacker.
"I didn't see Ware enough," O'Brien said. "That's another one that you've got to look at from the secondary, but I think from what I've seen of Leonard it's probably the right move for him. He might be in the right spot for him and to help our defense."
Also, three true freshmen – cornerback Dominique Ellis, defensive tackle Kyle Linney and linebacker Dwayne Maddox – all participated in their first scrimmage since arriving at NC State for the spring semester.
"Maddox has been thrown to the fire," O'Brien said. "It's really tough for him because we got him playing middle linebacker right now. He got his heads turned around a few times today, but it's tough for him today but it's going to be that much better for him in August when he starts. I think he realizes if he was still back in Crest High School in the cafeteria right now he wouldn't be in the same position he would be come August. So that's helped.
"Linney has shown some sparks and so has Ellis. [Offensive lineman Ahmad] Jaradat isn't practicing right now because of the shoulder. Those three kids will be so much better come August having come through this 15-day period and strength and conditioning."
O'Brien has mixed feelings about bringing in recruits midyear.
"It's a double-edged sword in that I think it may be good for the football team, but I'm not sure it's good for them," he said. "It's not so much their senior year, but coming in midyear is really difficult. You have to be very mature to come in at this point because you don't know anybody, you're coming basically off the streets into the schemes of everything. It's a tough adjustment for them. It's so different when they come in as one of 15, 20 or 25 guys as the freshman class and get that bonding with their classmates. So it's a tough situation for them. These three kids have handled it pretty well."
NC State's scrimmage lasted 100 plays. O'Brien said that all three quarterbacks – redshirt junior Harrison Beck, redshirt sophomore Justin Burke and redshirt freshman Russell Wilson – split times evenly under center. Stats given to the media are provided below.
Jamelle Eugene, 20-65
Andre Brown, 17-46
Corey Darrington, 7-(-2)
Harrison Beck, 9-14-146
Russell Wilson, 12-18-177
Justin Burke, 6-16-39
Donald Bowens, 2-74
Matt Kushner, 4-64
Owen Spencer, 5-57
Jay Smith, 4-54
George Bryan, 3-49
Steven Howard, 3-27
Jamelle Eugene, 3-16
Nate Irving, 1
Dominique Ellis, 1
DeAndre Morgan, 1
Markus Kuhn, 2
Jeff Rieskamp, 1
Audie Cole, 1
Keith Willis Jr., 1
Kuhn, 7, four tackles for loss
Ray Michel, 7
Alan-Michael Cash, 6, one tackle for loss
Josh Czajkowski, 4 of 6 with a long of 40
Bradley Pierson, 1 of 3 with a long of 39