Joe Thuney looks like an offensive lineman out of the 1970s. At 260 pounds, sometimes he wishes the defensive linemen were still the same size they were 40 years ago.
"That would make it easier," Thuney said.
Despite being outweighed, usually by at least 25 pounds, the sleight center has held his own the past two games on N.C. State's rejiggered offensive line.
Against Florida State, Thuney, a redshirt freshman, had to block Everett Dawkins (6-3, 300 pounds) and Anthony McCloud (6-2, 310 pounds), a pair of fifth-year seniors.
McCloud got the best of Thuney in a second-quarter sack but on the game-winning touchdown, on fourth down from the 2, Thuney helped keep Glennon clean to find Bryan Underwood for the touchdown.
Down three starters since the middle of the 44-37 loss at Miami on Sept. 29, the Wolfpack's offensive front has found its footing. Thuney has played with Cam Wentz, the regular center, at right guard and Duran Christophe at left guard and R.J. Mattes, who started the season at left guard, at left tackle. Sophomore Tyson Chandler has filled in for the injured Rob Crisp at right tackle.
"We've jelled together," Thuney said. "It has been an easy transition because the seniors (Mattes and Wentz) have put in the right position and helped me out."
N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien compares Thuney favorably to former Boston College center Matt Tennant, a former NFL lineman.
Thuney and Tennant are both from Ohio. Thuney came to State weighing about 230 pounds and he redshirted last season. He doesn't have the size to play the entire game, so he has shared snaps with Cameron Fordham, who plays right guard with Wentz at center, but Thuney has finished the past two games.
At 260 pounds, Thuney sticks out on the field, especially next to Wentz (301 pounds), Mattes (306) and Christophe (302). At 6-5, there's room to grow into his frame.
"I've got to get bigger but it's a slow process and you can't rush it," Thuney said.
So far, Thuney has been able to hold his own despite his lack of weight.