N.C. State football coach Dave Doeren went through the growing list of injured players on Monday. As many as a dozen might miss the Kay Yow Spring Game on Saturday.
That’s an expected part of spring practice, Doeren said on Monday, and the extra reps for the younger players always helps.
“I don’t think it’s realistic to have everybody,” Doeren said. “The positive is that all these guys are all slated to be back for the summer.”
Doeren then stopped to knock on wood: “Hopefully, we can keep it that way.”
On the depth chart N.C. State released on Monday, there were nine players marked out for Saturday’s annual spring game. Seven of the injured players are on the defensive side, including six on the defensive line.
With the loss of senior defensive tackles T.Y. McGill and Thomas Teal, Doeren knew there was going to be a transition on the defensive front but injuries to Justin Jones, Monty Nelson, Mike Rose, Kenton Gibbs, Deonte Holden and Garrett Bradbury have complicated the process in the spring.
But the players missing now are expected back by fall, plus four more freshmen will be here by training camp.
“We’re going from pretty thin depth chart to very full,” Doeren said.
The early enrollment of freshman defensive end Darian Roseboro has helped, and so has the switch by sophomore Kentavius Street from end to tackle. Doeren spoke at length on Monday about how impressive sophomore Bradley Chubb, a linebacker last season, has been at defensive end.
But in terms of getting a look at what the roster might look like by the Sept. 5 opener against Troy, the spring has been an exercise in extrapolation.
The defensive line, the offensive line and the receivers were the three position groups Doeren said he was looking for growth this spring.
Redshirt freshman Tyler Jones has stood out at left tackle, Doeren said, and senior Alex Barr has been penciled in at right tackle. Seniors Rob Crisp and Tyson Chandler anchored last year’s line which helped the Wolfpack put up some of its best rushing numbers in three decades.
Receiver has been another group difficult to evaluate because of injuries. Johnathan Alston (hamstring) and Bra’Lon Cherry (ankle) have been in and out of practice with injuries. Doeren wasn’t sure if either would be able to play on Saturday.
The Wolfpack has to find replacements for Bo Hines (45 catches, 616 yards) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (22 catches, 257 yards), who both transferred in the offseason.
Junior Jumichael Ramos and sophomore Gavin Locklear, who missed all of the 2014 season with a broken leg, have both been strong this spring, Doeren said.
Even with the number of players out, Doeren said missing time now is preferable to missing time later.
“It’s important, don’t get me wrong, but the fall is the most important for us,” Doeren said.
At least nine N.C. State football players are expected to miss Saturday’s spring game:
TE David J. Grinnage (back)
WR Stephen Louis (shoulder)
DT Justin Jones (shoulder)
DT Kenton Gibbs (biceps)
DT Monty Nelson (knee)
DE Mike Rose (hip)
DE Deonte Holden (foot)
DT Garrett Bradbury (shoulder)
LB M.J. Salahuddin (knee)