Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pack LB Manning gets new position

With junior Nate Irving out indefinitely, N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien has moved linebacker Terrell Manning from the "field" position to the "boundary" position.

That's the position Irving played before he suffered a broken leg, broken rib and a collapsed lung in a car crash in June. Sophomore Dwayne Maddox, who backed up Irving last season, entered preseason camp with the first shot at replacing Irving.

Manning, a redshirt freshman considered one of the top recruits in the state in his class, will get a chance to compete with Maddox. At middle linebacker, senior Ray Michel remains the starter ahead of sophomore Sterling Lucas.

Sophomore Audie Cole now is backed up by former walk-on Asante' Cureton at field linebacker.

"He's a walk-on who has done a really good job for us," O'Brien said after practice Wednesday. "He knows the defense. He's got some power. So right now he's ahead of (the freshmen) because he can get lined up and he knows where to go and what to do. So maybe he can win himself a spot."

O'Brien said the linebacker positions for the Sept. 3 opener against South Carolina are far from settled. The coaches will continue experimenting to figure out how to get the best three on the field as starters and develop three more backups.

- One of the most positive developments early in camp, O'Brien said, has been the ability of sophomore Russell Wilson and redshirt freshman Mike Glennon to get the team in and out of the huddle in a timely fashion.

"The huddle operation is much better because of the fact that you've got two kids running the huddle now that have been in the program," O'Brien said.

- O'Brien wasn't pleased with his players' struggles in the heat during Wednesday's practice.

"Guys are cramping up a little bit, feeling a little sorry for themselves because it's hot," O'Brien said. "And we've got to learn to push through it on days like this."

- Ken Tysiac