On the first day of preseason camp, junior Rob Crisp lined up at left tackle. It was a development that Crisp himself did not know about until the beginning of camp.
"The coaches try to hold onto everything until the last minute," Crisp stated. "I found out as soon as everybody else did. I kind of thought in the back of my head based on summer workouts, but I didn't know until the beginning of camp."
Last year's starter at left tackle, fifth-year senior R.J. Mattes, slid inside to left guard to make room for Crisp, who lined up during spring practices at right tackle.
"I've been playing left tackle all my life, so it's good to be back home," Crisp said. "It's exciting, but I still have a lot to work on being how I haven't played it since my freshman year."
Crisp said that the footwork at left tackle can be a little more difficult than the right side. The left tackle also has the task of protecting the blindside of right-handed quarterbacks, such as NC State fifth-year senior signal caller Mike Glennon.
With an unproven true freshman in Manny Stocker backing up Glennon, one might guess that Crisp feels more pressure to protect Glennon. That's not necessarily the case.
"I feel like whoever is at quarterback, we still have to protect him to our fullest potential," Crisp said.
Potential is a word that has been used a lot around Crisp. He was a prized five-star recruit coming out of Athens Drive High in Raleigh in 2010. Despite showing enough to start the 2010 season opener as a true freshman and the Belk Bowl last December, Crisp knows that he has come a long way.
"I have taken a giant leap from where I used to be, but I'm definitely learning," Crisp said. "Freshman year was a little rough from where I am now.
"I definitely get a few chuckles every now and then thinking about it."