Monday, August 30, 2010

O'Brien explains State's surprise move at running back

N.C. State held its third scrimmage Aug. 17, and we now know the Wolfpack coaches were not happy with what they saw. That led directly to Monday’s shocking announcement that redshirt freshman Dean Haynes will start at running back, and true freshman Mustafa Greene will be behind him.

State did not release any individual statistics, but did say the offense rushed 36 times for 122 yards in that third scrimmage. After that, Wolfpack coach Tom O’Brien said on his radio show Monday, the State coaches made a change.

Haynes, a 5-foot-11 and 178-pound safety from Georgia, had impressed coaches on the scout team last year. He played running back and quarterback in high school, running for 878 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns, but was playing safety for the Pack.

O’Brien said Monday night that he considered moving Haynes to tailback in the spring but was concerned about his secondary. Once he was confident the secondary was solid, and the coaching staff continued to have questions about Curtis Underwood and James Washington at tailback, Haynes was moved.

“After the third scrimmage, I don’t think any of us were satisfied with the production we were getting out of our tailback spot,” O’Brien said Monday.

O’Brien said Haynes is a smart player who is quickly learning the pass protections so important for a running back.

“He took the challenge and certainly earned his position,” O’Brien said. “He will be there Saturday night, along with Mustafa Greene.” Greene, 6 feet and 190 pounds, is from Irmo, S.C. He was a four-star recruit after averaging 9.0 yards per carry and scoring 18 touchdowns as a senior.

“He has really good vision he probably made more big runs in scrimmage situations than anybody,” O’Brien said of Greene. “Certainly, when he has the ball in his hands he’s a pretty exciting player.”

Radio host Tony Haynes asked about Underwood and Washington would fit in, and O’Brien said, “Um, they are going to fit in behind those two guys.”

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