Monday, August 9, 2010

Defense strong in Pack scrimmage

Quarterback Russell Wilson remains a bit off target, linebacker Nate Irving didn’t scrimmage and the defense held firm in N.C. State’s first preseason scrimmage Monday at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Coach Tom O’Brien shared only limited statistics from the scrimmage. He revealed that the offense completed eight of 20 passes for 116 yards and rushed 55 times for 92 yards.

O’Brien said Wilson, who spent the spring and summer playing baseball, is still “a little bit off,” but the coach didn’t sound concerned.

“It’s just going to take him a little bit of time,” O’Brien said. “He’s still turning two [as in a baseball double play], so we’ve got to get him out of that mode and back into throwing the ball. But luckily we still have three or four weeks before we’ve got to play a game.”

Irving, a senior captain who missed all of last season with injuries resulting from a car crash, didn’t scrimmage Monday and won’t scrimmage Friday either. O’Brien said Irving didn’t need the work and wasn’t needed to get the defense lined up against the simplistic plays the offense was running.

O’Brien’s priority with Irving is keeping him free of injury.

“We’ve got to get him to the first game and make sure he’s healthy,” O’Brien said. “. . .The emphasis today of what we were doing, it didn’t seem to be a good idea to play him at all.”

N.C. State did have bad news on the injury front on one player. Jesse Riley, a former walk-on who had a shot at getting playing time at cornerback, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in practice and is out for the season.

Judging from the statistics, the defense performed well in the scrimmage. In just over 80 plays, there were eight tackles for loss, including six sacks.

On special teams, Josh Czajkowski made field goals of 36 and 35 yards but missed from 45 and 43 yards. The team punted five times for an average of 40 yards.

Ken Tysiac