After his players filed into bleachers and posed for the team picture today, N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien expressed confidence that they can meet some of the team's goals for this season.
The Wolfpack has yet to post a winning season under O'Brien and is 16-21 during his three-year tenure. During his Meet the Pack Day news conference with reporters, O'Brien said this team can do better.
"We have enough weapons, I believe, offensively and defensively to have a winning season and get to a bowl game," O'Brien said.
O'Brien acknowledged that injuries could change that situation. Over the last three seasons, the Wolfpack has faced a devastating series of long-term injuries to key players such as Toney Baker, Anthony Hill, Donald Bowens and Nate Irving that have crippled the team.
This season, O'Brien said, the team doesn't have unlimited depth but has enough to weather some injuries. He expressed hope that injuries won't hit his team as hard this season.
"When you've been around long enough, it's going to even out," O'Brien said. "We've got to get some good bounces here somewhere another. We don't count on it, but you hope for it."
Creecy, Greene impress. After performing well in the team's second preseason scrimmage Friday night, freshman running backs Anthony Creecy and Mustafa Greene have a shot at earning the team's No. 3 running back position.
"Mustafa Greene and Tony Creecy look to be pretty talented," O'Brien said. "They're in there trying to figure out who's fighting for a spot on the team."
Junior Curtis Underwood and sophomore James Washington still are competing for the No. 1 spot at running back. O'Brien plans to rotate two running backs and get playing time for a third back.
High praise for Crisp. O'Brien said former Raleigh Athens Drive offensive tackle Robert Crisp, the jewel of N.C. State's 2010 recruiting class, is talented enough to be an All-Pro in the NFL some day.
O'Brien said Crisp's head is swimming during his first preseason camp because of the complexity of the college game, but said Crisp is everything the Wolfpack coaches thought he could be when they recruited him.
"He has that makeup where he doesn't get down and he gets back to the huddle and goes back out and forgets about the last play and goes on to the next one," O'Brien said. "And that's a good trait to have."
Players sorry. Defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy and offensive tackle Jake Vermiglio said they were sorry for an offseason incident that led to charges against them that were later dismissed.
Sweezy, Vermiglio and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn were cited April 24 for simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaing a dwelling for the purpose of using a controlled substance after police found about six grams of marijuana in their off-campus apartment, according to a Raleigh police search warrant.
A fourth player, tight end George Bryan, has a Sept. 3 court date on a single charge of maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of using a controlled substance. All charges against Sweezy, Vermiglio and Kuhn were dismissed after a judge ruled police improperly searched the apartment.
"I've thought long and hard about what I was going to say about this," Vermiglio said. "I thought the best way to say it is, we all made a mistake. It was just a bad decision. I'd like to deeply apologize to the Wolfpack Nation, my teammates, my coaches and my family. We embarrassed them, and hopefully we'll show that we mean business on the field this year."
'Perfect Storm'. Wide receiver and team tri-captain Jarvis Williams said offensive coordinator Dana Bible has come up with a nickname for a Wolfpack offense that averaged 30.3 points per game last season.
Bible is calling the offense "The Perfect Storm."
"We've got receivers that want to catch the ball," Williams said. "We've got a quarterback that can throw the ball. We've got a backup quarterback that can also throw the ball and make plays. We have one of the best tight ends in the country. We've got an offensive coordinator that wants to throw the ball. So there's just no way around it. And defenses are going to have troubles with us this year."