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Tuesday Scrimmage Stuff

August 19, 2009
Per the stats posted over at and Ken Tysiac’s write-up on the Charlotte Observer blog, here are a few thoughts on the third scrimmage of State’s fall practice schedule:

  1. Tight-end Mario Carter had surgery on his knee sometime this week. Coach O’Brien seems to imply there’s a chance we could see Carter again before the year’s out, but the intimations I read when I first heard of the injury were that he’d be gone for the year., so who knows. Carter was third on the depth chart at tight end behind George Bryan and Matt Kushner, but Carter showed great promise with his performance at the spring game and having three healthy tight ends opened the doors to some jumbo sets with capable pass-catching threats at both ends of the line. We’ll have to see what Carter’s status is heading forward.
  2. Freshman punter Chris Ward looks like he’ll be a real weapon right off the bat. He posted a 42-yard average on four punts, and boomed two punts in the first scrimmage for an average of 48.5 yards (though Ward later admitted a favorable bounce added 10 extra yards on one of those kicks). Over six kicks he’s averaged just over 44 yards/punt, which would’ve placed him just outside the top 10 nationally last season. It’s a fallacy to extrapolate a season-long average out of just six kicks in two scrimmages, but it’s fair to assume that Ward has the ability to boom some monster punts when he hits it square. I have a feeling he’ll have some Pack fans oohing and ahhing this year.
  3. This is the second scrimmage out of three where the defense has had the upper hand against State’s passing attack. Both times (the first scrimmage and yesterday) the secondary recorded three interceptions against only one touchdown. That’s somewhat encouraging, given the thin nature of State’s defensive backfield and that most considered that an area of weakness for the Pack. But again, it’s tough to put much importance to these numbers since we don’t know exactly what situations these picks took place in. Hopefully this is a good sign for our secondary’s development.

Also, former Pack coach Dick Sheridan stopped by practice. Sheridan popped by after visiting with David Horning, recovering from a stroke suffered earlier this year, at his home and then took in the last moments of practice afterwards.

WRAL has post-scrimmage video of both O’Brien and Sheridan.

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