NC State graduate senior Audie Cole wasn't sure what would happen in his football career when he arrived in Raleigh, but he's leaving with a quality legacy.
The one-time former prep quarterback eventually found a home at strongside linebacker, and then for his senior season, middle linebacker. The three-year starter enters the Belk Bowl against Louisville on Dec. 27 in Charlotte with 122 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks and three caused fumbles.
The Monroe, Mich., product has accumulated 318 tackles, 13 sacks, 28.5 tackles for loss and one memorable interception against Central Florida in 2010 in his 50 games at NC State.
Cole recently took some time to answer some questions from The Wolfpacker:
What do you think of Louisville's pistol formation on offense?
"The pistol is basically the same as a quarterback under center. They run the same plays out of it. It's like a solo back with a quarterback under center. It really doesn't change too much for us."
When Louisville runs the football without a lead blocker for the running back, how does that affect you?
"The solo back thing, the lead blocker comes from the line. The thing is, any time you play a quarterback that can run, that adds another element to the game. We know what we have to stop, and have to take care of the quarterback and the running back."
Is Louisville freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater slippery when he runs?
"He can move and he's not slow. You definitely have to be aware of him. I don't know if he's a true running quarterback. I don't know if he's a [Michigan quarterback] Denard Robinson, but he can run the ball when he needs to."
Does Bridgewater keep his eyes downfield when he rolls out of the pocket?
"He's trying to throw the ball more than run the ball. We have only watched so much film right now. I don't personally know everything about him, but our coaches know. We'll be putting in things as the days go on."
Louisville uses the "Wildcard" offense a lot with former quarterback turned starting running back Dominique Brown in the shotgun. What is that like to defend?
"We are preparing for it and look at it a few times a day. It's a different version of what everyone else does, but they have a little different look. They are mostly looking to run the ball, but they have the option to throw. We are always looking to stop the run first. If they throw it, they throw it."
Do you expect a physical game?
"It's going to be a physical game. They are going to try and come in and try to out-physical us. We understand that. We just have to bring it to them."
What will it be like to play your last NC State game?
"It's just a game right now. I'm just preparing for the game like any other game. You can't take it any other way."
How important is it for you to go out on a winning note?
"Going out on a winning note or not going out on a winning note doesn't really matter. We are always trying to win every game. It's important to win all the games, so it's not like this is more important than any other game for me."
How many friends and family coming to see your last NC State game?
"I'll have a couple people from my family and a few friends. I'll probably have about 10-to-12 people there. I don't know who is all coming yet."
What is the difference for the returning players to have an 8-5 record compared to 7-6, and going into offseason workouts with a victory?
"I don't think there really is a difference between 8-5 and 7-6, but obviously you want to go in on a good note and on a win. If you look at our schedule, there are games we should have won and there are games that we got lucky that we won. There is a lot to look at more than this final game for these guys going into the next year."
Will you pretty much be training for the NFL following the bowl game?
"That is the plan. Hopefully, everything works out and hopefully, that is what happens. I'll be playing in the Senior Bowl [Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.]."