NC State players gathered around Devin Carter after Saturday’s pregame warmups as the wide receiver gave — out loud — a few words.
Linebacker Isaiah Moore pounded his chest over his heart. Others were jumping, energized, ready to take on Charleston Southern in the Wolfpack’s first home game of the season at Carter-Finley Stadium.
The end result was what many expected – a Wolfpack blowout. NC State won 55-3 and could have scored more had the Pack not gone vanilla with many of its play calls in the second half.
What does the Pack get out of such a game? Another 2-0 win. Many people, including walkers, had to play. There did not appear to be any serious injuries.
What was learned from the game? Here are three things:
Leary is back to being Leary
Devin Leary was not a happy man after the East Carolina game. He left the field at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium with his helmet still on his head and a frown on his face.
But a cloudy day at Carter-Finley turned into a bright day for Leary. On his 23rd birthday, he scored six touchdowns in the easy win and was serenaded by the school band with “Happy Birthday” after the game.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he said with a smile.
Leary couldn’t find a smooth rhythm in the ECU game or put together good play after good play. His fourth-quarter interception, on an onside throw to Thayer Thomas, led to the Pirates’ third touchdown and could have cost the Pack the game.
But the passing touch returned on Saturday. He threw no fumbles, had four TD passes and used all of his receivers as targets.
“Once we get that tempo down, that connection and everything starts in practice, it should translate to the game,” Leary said.
He also ran for a couple of scores, breaking in on a 12-yard run for the Pack’s first TD of the game.
“If I have to get a little tough, I’m willing to,” he said. “I just saw that red end zone and there was no stopping me.”
A new sideshow
Offensive coordinator Tim Beck was not on the Wolfpack sideline Saturday — a first for him at NC State.
Beck has been the one in Leary’s ear for the past two years, guiding, encouraging, teasing, comforting. But the coordinator will now communicate with his QB differently, it seems — from the coaches’ booth upstairs.
“It’s hard to call plays on the field,” Doeren said.
Doren said he could remember times in the past when he was a defensive coordinator on the field during games, not missing anything. He said he could sometimes come in on Sundays after games and say, “Man, if I had seen that I would have done something different.”
That’s how it went with Beck after the 21-20 win over East Carolina, Doeren reported.
“I had another conversation like that after the last game and I said, ‘That’s enough, I’m not going to listen to it anymore,'” he said. “For him to do the controls and the audio the way he wants from the press box, I think he’s got better eyes up there.” .
So Beck is up and assistant coach Kurt Roper is down on the field.
“It was just a small change, but I think it works either way,” Leary said.
A special season for No. 13
It could be a breakout season for senior Tyler Baker-Williams in a year full of disappointment.
His mother, Jonnita Baker-Williams, died in July before the camp began, losing a tough, brave battle with cancer. Tyler later addressed his teammates, his words filled with emotion and leaving many in the meeting room blinking without tears – the scene aired on the ACC Network’s “All Access.”
Then the season started. The Raleigh native picked off a pass early in the ECU game. Against Charleston Southern, the nickelback had a sack in the third quarter that led to a fumble that the Pack turned into seven points. Then choose a pass for the next row.
“I’m happy for ‘T-Bake’ and we need it,” Doeren said.