N.C. State’s annual Kay Yow Spring Game will be different this year and that’s a good thing.
The past three years, under a traditional Red vs. White setup, have been lopsided affairs. The Red team, with the starters, has out-scored the White team, the backups and third-teamers, 97 to 3.
There will be more of the first-team offense vs. the first-team defense this year, albeit with less contact and some more situational work mixed in, Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said.
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“It’s going to be more practice-oriented, there will be a lot of situations,” Doeren said. “It’s not just going to be a game from head-to-toe.”
The game will still raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The parking lots open at 8 a.m. and there’s an alumni flag football game at 10:45 a.m. and then the main event at 1 p.m.
With 16 starters back from last year’s 7-6 team, Doeren said there isn’t a need to see how his players will react in a game situation. Instead, Saturday will be more like a practice with four distinct quarters.
In the first quarter, the Red (offense) will go against the White (defense) in a series of scripted plays. The second quarter will be “sudden change” mode with each side working on how to react to turnovers or big plays on special teams. There will be a 2-minute drill at the end of the second quarter.
The third quarter will be red-zone work for the offense and the fourth quarter will be a live scrimmage between the second and third teams.
Scoring will be kept throughout, with normal points awarded for the offense; the defense can earn three points for forcing a 3-and-out, five points for a takeaway and seven points for a touchdown.
Last year’s game ended with a 47-0 Red win. There wasn’t any interaction between the starting offense and starting defense.
That will be a welcomed change for the fans on Saturday.
“We go against the ‘1s’ in practice every day,” quarterback Ryan Finley said. “With how good our defense is, we’re getting better every day in practice.”
Saturday’s setup is a chance to show off some of the progress for the Wolfpack, which won three of its last four games in 2016.
Finley returns, as do four starters on the offensive line. A replacement for running back Matt Dayes will have to be found. Junior Nyheim Hines, who has spent the past two years at receiver, will get a chance to run the ball more.
So will junior Reggie Gallaspy, but he is not expected to play much Saturday’s game as an injury (knee) precaution. Senior tight end/receiver Jaylen Samuels isn’t expected to be too heavily involved on Saturday, either, as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
The No. 1 goal is to not get anyone hurt, Doeren said.
“I don’t want to have a spring game where I pull 18 guys out and make them watch the game,” Doeren said. “We’ll try to get as many reps as we can with those guys in a smart way.”
The defensive front will be out in full force, though, with senior defensive end Bradley Chubb looking forward to the chance to tangle up with junior left tackle Tyler Jones, who will be his roommate in the fall.
“Yeah, it will definitely be fun,” Chubb said. “To pick up back where we left off is always a good thing.”
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
Kay Yow Spring Game
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Carter-Finley Stadium
Notes: Parking lot (gates A, B or C off Trinity Road ) open at 8 a.m. Admission is free but a $1 minimum donation is suggested. All proceeds benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the Kay Yow Scholarship Endowment.