With what coach Dave Doeren called a “nine-week grind” coming up, N.C. State used its time off wisely.
The Wolfpack (2-1) will definitely need running back/receiver Nyheim Hines and fullback Jaylen Samuels healthy for ACC play. With an open date on the schedule this past Saturday, N.C. State had a chance to rest both players.
Hines turned his left ankle in the loss at East Carolina two weeks ago and did not play in the win over Old Dominion.
Samuels nicked his right foot in the fourth quarter of the win over Old Dominion. Both got some practice time off last week but both were able to get back on the field by Thursday.
“We rested them for most of the week,” Doeren said.
Samuels, who leads the team with six touchdowns, practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, Doeren said. Hines was able to go on Thursday.
“Nyheim went through individual (drills) and felt good, and so hopefully we’ll have him back to 100 (percent) by Sunday,” Doeren said.
Coaches usually prefer an open date later on the schedule, but the timing was just right for Samuels.
“I kind of like it right now because I’ve been getting bruised up a little bit,” Samuels said after the ODU win on Sept. 17. “I need a little break.”
Other than rest, Doeren said the week off was good to self-scout and figure out what went right and what went wrong in the Wolfpack’s first three games.
“It has been good,” Doeren said. “We’ve been focused on us.”
After the time off, N.C. State will play nine straight weeks without a break. The Wolfpack opens ACC play on Saturday at home against Wake Forest (4-0).
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
Last week: Off
This week: Wake Forest, 3:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Carolinas)