NC State redshirt sophomore right tackle Tyson Chandler knows the Wolfpack will have a tough challenge Monday against Vanderbilt in the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn.
The Vanderbilt defense, which features three seniors and a junior on the defensive line, allowed 18.2 points per game and had 23 sacks. The Commodores will also get to sleep in their own beds and have a home crowd for the "neutral" bowl contest.
"They do look good and I'm excited to play an SEC team," Chandler said. "The first time we played an SEC team [vs. Tennessee Aug. 31], we didn't get the outcome we were looking for [losing 35-21]. This time, we got a second chance at it and I'm excited about the opportunity."
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Chandler will be playing with senior offensive lineman R.J. Mattes, Camden Wentz and Andrew Wallace, for the last time. He also is thinking about injured senior right guard Zach Allen.
"With the seniors, I know I have one more time to play next to them, but it hurts more with Zach because there is no 'One more time' with his college career over," Chandler said. "I'm excited about playing next to [right guard] Andrew, and really excited about playing with all those guys next to me, since Camden played some guard too. I had R.J. for several games on the left side and Andrew on the right."
Chandler earned three starts at left tackle and then switched to right tackle for the last eight games. The 6-6, 340-pounder from North Plainfield, N.J., seems to have found a home at the latter spot. He allowed two of his six sacks on the right side in his first full year starting for the Wolfpack.
"I'm most comfortable wherever I am and where the coaches put me," Chandler said. "[Offensive line] Coach [Jim] Bridge gets me ready for whatever position I need to play. I'm seeing the little things like where a linebacker is aligned. You can tell what the defense is doing by the linebackers. That is all because of Coach Bridge."
Chandler played defensive tackle on the prep level, including his last year at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. Rivals.com ranked him the No. 12 prep school player in the country.
"I had never played offense before and I wouldn't be where I am today without Coach Bridge," Chandler said.
Chandler is looking forward to learning more about the new coaching staff, led by head coach Dave Doeren, and he's eager to work with new offensive line coach Mike Uremovich. Both have arrived from Northern Illinois.
"I'm excited about the new guys coming in here and I know the athletic director [Debbie Yow] did the best she could," Chandler said. "I'm going to miss who I played for the past two years, but whatever happens, happens. I'll miss Coach [Tom] O'Brien and Coach Bridge.
"I know Coach Doeren is really excited to coach football and is energetic."