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Starting At Tailback…Dean Haynes?

August 31, 2010

No no no...I said *HAYNES*. Dean HAYNES.

Tom O’Brien, probably more so than any other coach in the area, loves to tweak folks on the opposition, in the media and in the public through his information dissemination.

He typically won’t release a depth chart until the last possible moment. He usually, when pressed by folks in the media for hints or clues as to who to expect to play in a given week, will openly state he won’t give that info out because he isn’t required to.

So it’s not all that surprising that State’s depth chart released yesterday afternoon might be a little quirky.  It is somewhat surprising where the “quirk” is, though: starting tailback.

In fact, BOTH tailbacks on the two-deep are surprises. Neither Curtis Underwood nor James Washington–the only two backs with any experience, who dubbed themselves “Sonic Boom”–make an appearance here. Rather, your starting tailback is one Dean Haynes, backed up by Mustafa Greene. Folks, I give you…“The Mean Dean/Greene Machine.”

Huh?

Per the News & Observer:

Redshirt freshman Dean Haynes, who began the preseason as N.C. State’s starter at boundary cornerback, will start at running back at 6 p.m. Saturday in the season-opener against Western Carolina.

Coach Tom O’Brien said Monday night on his weekly radio show that he was disappointed with the performance of N.C. State’s running backs after the team’s third preseason scrimmage.

Junior Curtis Underwood and sophomore James Washington, respectively, began the preseason as the first- and second-team backs, but O’Brien was unimpressed with their production after the third scrimmage.

Haynes had caught O’Brien’s eye running the ball on the scout team last season.

“He opened a lot of eyes, especially on the defensive staff, so I had that in the back of my mind,” O’Brien said on his radio show. (He refused to talk to reporters before and after the show.)

O’Brien felt comfortable enough with N.C. State’s secondary to move Haynes to running back. As a senior at Northwest Whitfield County High in Georgia, Haynes played quarterback and running back, rushing for 878 yards and 18 touchdowns.

His announcement as the running back starter came as a surprise because O’Brien hadn’t told reporters that Haynes had moved to running back. O’Brien said last week that he had made some position moves that the staff was evaluating, but he did not elaborate.

So… are we to assume that Haynes is the man from here on out?  I’m inclined to believe not…that this is a move to light a fire under Washington and Underwood.

But perhaps I’m wrong.  Perhaps O’Brien truly believes Haynes has earned the #1 TB spot and we expect to see him in that role from here on out.

A surprising move by O’Brien putting Haynes and Greene on the two deep, but then again, this is TOB we’re talking about here.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    August 31, 2010 2:47 pm

    questionable to say the least…I’ve never been a fan of TOB’s ‘quirkiness’…Just win football games

  2. Uncle Mike permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:48 pm

    Dean Haynes is truly a talented player. I am not at all surprised that he impressed the coaches early. He is a true athlete, serious about the game, and works hard. Dean works just as hard at the rest of his life. He walked away from High School with perfect grades and is continuing to do well academically at NC State. Dean doesn’t risk not being 100% for the game by partying, and is a respectful, sincere man. I am not biased just because I am his uncle. I just happen to realize it and have witnessed it because I am his uncle.
    Keep it up Dean, you deserve everything you worked for!!!! Go Pack!!!

    • October 1, 2010 9:24 am

      Uncle Mike, thanks for stopping by! I think all of us State fans have been real impressed with what Dean has been able to accomplish after switching to tailback on seemingly such short notice. He had a rough game against Cincinnati, hanging on to the ball, but he rebounded well against Georgia Tech which I think says a lot about his mental constitution, his ability to put the last game behind him.

      Don’t be a stranger! If Dean keeps running like he has so far I imagine we’ll have quite a bit more to say about him.

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