"I think we can be better," Manning said. "Our secondary has grown intensely, just overwhelmingly they have grown up. They’ve been playing together for a while now. As everybody knows, sometimes it was a question mark whether they were going to come to play. The front seven was always going to play good. This year they’re going to be a very strong asset to our team as well as our front seven. I feel like with the whole defense bringing it, we should definitely be good. Of course you lose Nate, and everybody has to pitch in and make up for the plays we’re losing."
Manning also jokingly pointed out that the LB corps is going to be faster because Nate was the slowest of the group.
There are a couple of indicators that suggest we don't have to worry about a big dropoff on the defensive side of the ball. One: returning starters. Two: size and strength in the front seven. State's 2011 defense will feature one of the bigger front sevens in the ACC, but more on that at a later date.
-- NC State checks in at #33 in the Orlando Sentinel's preseason countdown.
-- The latest R&R podcast is out today (James has gone mad with podcasting power!), and this episode features one of my favorite Tar Heels.
-- Georgia Tech has been under NCAA investigation, apparently. An announcement from the NCAA is coming this afternoon, and Tech's 2009 ACC football title may be in jeopardy.