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NC State’s offensive line tweaked with familiar names and new ones

N.C. State's Alex Barr (71) warms up during the Wolfpack's first preseason practice Tuesday, August 4, 2015, in Raleigh.
N.C. State's Alex Barr (71) warms up during the Wolfpack's first preseason practice Tuesday, August 4, 2015, in Raleigh. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Senior Joe Thuney has played every position on N.C. State’s offensive line. And he has moved back to left tackle, coach Dave Doeren said Saturday after the team’s second scrimmage.

The Wolfpack has to replace both starting tackles from last season. Thuney, who started nine games at left guard in 2014, slid outside one spot to left tackle, where he started 10 games in 2013. Thuney is the only player on N.C. State’s roster who has started at tackle.

Doeren went into camp with the plan to start redshirt freshman Tyler Jones at left tackle and senior Alex Barr at right tackle. The standout play of redshirt freshman Will Richardson has altered that plan.

“Will came into camp and had great tempo and energy, and he’s just playing with more confidence, playing with more finish than Tyler,” Doeren said. “Tyler has the ability, but to Will’s credit, Will has out-played him.”

Saturday’s scrimmage was closed to the media but Doeren said that Richardson started at right tackle and Barr was moved to left guard. Barr has started 18 games the past two seasons at either guard position.

Senior Quinton Schooley, entering his third year as a starter, played center and sophomore Tony Adams was at right guard, Doeren said.

“That’s been our primary lineup the last week,” Doeren said.

Jones and redshirt freshman Garrett Bradbury will be rotation players, Doeren said. Offensive line was a strength for last year’s team with N.C. State’s averaging more than 200 rushing yards per game for the first time since 1992.

A pair of senior tackles, Rob Crisp and Tyson Chandler, anchored last year’s group. With Thuney, Schooley and Barr, there are three seniors in this year’s starting group but Doeren is concerned about depth.

He said he would like to have a 10-man rotation but would probably only use eight, with junior guard Bryce Kennedy also in the mix. Bradbury came in last year as a tight end and moved to the defensive line during the offseason. Doeren praised Bradbury’s versatility Saturday.

With five linemen gone since the end of last season, by either transfer or because of injuries, Doeren said the offensive line is the program’s thinnest position.

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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