Defensive end Art Norman has a bit of a unique perspective of the Dec. 31 Music City Bowl in Nashville. The NC State redshirt sophomore may get a chance to tackle his older brother, redshirt junior Vanderbilt running back Warren Norman.
There's no guarantee it will happen. The 2009 SEC Freshman of the Year had 1,941 all-purpose yards as a rookie, which was a new SEC record. But injuries have sidetracked his career, and he's been relegated to a reserve running back role that saw him get just 21 carries for 75 yards and a score this season.
NC State's Norman admits that because his brother did not play as much, he did not follow Vanderbilt too closely, so he's not capable of giving his fellow Wolfpack teammates too much information about the Pack's bowl opponent.
"I followed a couple of their games," Norman said. "They looked pretty good. Coach [James] Franklin has really changed their program around."
Watching his older brother from a distance though has been good for Norman. He joked that the further he got away from his brother, the better their relationship developed.
The two are opposites, just like their parents. NC State's Norman is more like their mother.
"My mom, she'll go up to you and talk to anybody," Norman noted. "I'm king of like my mom when you get to know me."
Conversely, Vanderbilt's Norman takes after their father.
"My dad's the kind of guy, he's from up north, he won't say too much unless he has something to say," Norman stated. "He's not talking to you if you're not talking to him, and that's kind of how my brother is."
The Norman brothers began getting closer as they matured, but Art Norman said that, "right now we're the closest we've ever been."
"I think we started getting closer when he first went to college, and I was a senior in high school," Norman said, adding that his brother helped him go through depth charts and handle coaches during the recruiting process.
"He was a big factor in my recruiting."
Thus when the two are home in Stone Mountain, Ga., for Christmas, there will not be any uneasiness or awkwardness over the game.
"We know it's just a game," Norman said. "It's just all fun at the end of the day. He's still my brother."
Norman's bigger worry has been settling back down into a routine after a whirlwind few weeks for the Pack football team. The coaching change hit them right after Thanksgiving, and as soon as Dave Doeren was hired, the players had to hit the books for final exams.
"It has been kind of challenging," Norman noted. "We are used to a schedule and a system.
"Thank God exams are over."
NC State had higher expectations than a 7-5 regular season, Norman acknowledged. That does not mean that the Pack cannot end its season with a positive.
"It didn't work out the way we planned it to be," Norman said. "We just want to go with a bang. It's the last game of the season until 2013. We're trying to go out with a bang. I'm sure Vanderbilt is, too."
All Norman has to do is ask his brother.