Wednesday, November 10, 2010

N.C. State, like UNC, faces uncertainty at running back

N.C. State’s situation at running back has been unsettled much of this season, and that’s the case again as the Wolfpack heads into Saturday’s home game with Wake Forest. Dean Haynes, the surprise starter at the beginning of the season, took a blow to the head against Florida State, and coach Tom O’Brien held him out of the Clemson game.

O’Brien said Haynes is “full go this week,” but would not commit to how much he will play.

“He’s back in the mix. We’re still - because of some situations - not sure who will start on Saturday,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien should be commended for holding Haynes out in a sport where concussions rank as real problems. Many doctors, led by Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz at UNC, have urged football coaches and leagues to take the threat of concussions seriously, since one concussion can lead to another. (In case you missed it, NBC 17’s Penn Holderness just did a piece on Guskiewicz).

O’Brien pointed out that he held Russell Wilson out in a similar situation after Wilson took a blow to the head at South Carolina in 2008.

Haynes, a redshirt freshman, lacks Mustafa Greene’s explosive talent. But Greene, a true freshman, His game-by-game rushing totals are 35, 55, 84, 68, 91, 11, 75, 76 and then 26 against Clemson.

“Consistency is tough to get out of a freshman,” O’Brien said.”There are so many things that go into playing and participating football-wise and campus-wise and everything else.”

But, O’Brien said, “We’ve gotten a lot of good football out of Mustafa and he’s got more to give.” 

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