Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Haynes' smarts elevate him at RB for Pack

Dean Haynes was so eager to learn N.C. State's running back playbook in a short time that he made flash cards to quiz himself on his assignments.

Even Haynes admits that he was surprised that he was named the starting running back for Saturday's 6 p.m. opener against Western Carolina. He moved from cornerback to running back midway through fall camp after coach Tom O'Brien was disappointed with the play of the backs in the team's third preseason scrimmage.

Heading into the preseason, junior Curtis Underwood was listed as the starter and sophomore James Washington was the backup. Now redshirt freshman Haynes is starting with freshman Mustafa Greene backing him up.

Haynes played quarterback in high school and on N.C. State's scout team at times last season, and he said that helped him understand what defenses are doing. He also earned a 3.123 grade-point average in the 2009 fall semester.

"I’m a smart player," Haynes said. "I was able to get in the book and learn the stuff, and obviously the coaches think I can play and I can excel at the position."

Greene earned his spot by making more big runs than anybody else in scrimmage situations during the preseason, according to comments O'Brien made on his weekly radio show Monday night. (O'Brien refused to talk to reporters Monday evening before and after his radio show, and again declined an interview request after Tuesday's practice. His next media availability is on the ACC's weekly teleconference Wednesday).

Like Haynes, Greene said he has been able to adapt quickly. He models himself after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

"I just like his effort," Greene said. "Every play he’s trying to score."

Haynes said he concentrated heavily on being able to pick up blitzing linebackers and protect quarterback Russell Wilson. That was a phase of the game in which last season's backs, Toney Baker and Jamelle Eugene, excelled.

"I felt good at cornerback," Haynes said, "but then again the coaches know what they’re doing. I was nervous about the running back spot. Now I feel comfortable here, too, so they know what they’re doing and I trust their decision."

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

Very strange move IMO. There is a total lock down on info about Underwood and Washington.

TP said...

Hey, as long as it works I have no problem with it.


Anonymous said...

typical MO for TOB, he doesnt give the press anything to go ona nd just when they think they got it figured out he pulls something else out from under his straw hat. he did make the comment that he thinks this team is close to the kind of teams he was able to put together at BC which sounds positive. could be a very interesting fall.

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