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Looking at the depth chart

Today, NC State's athletic department released a depth chart for the season opener against Virginia Tech.

Of note:

-- Darrell Blackman listed as the first string tailback, beating out Bobby Washington and Reggie Davis (not to mention Toney Baker and Andre Brown) for the job. This is probably just formality, though--someone has to start the game--because the Wolfpack will go with the dreaded RBBC. And it's gonna be one big freakin' committee.

-- Tramain Hall listed in the slot receiver spot, but we'll see him in the backfield as well. Hall had 65 catches in 2003 (Rivers senior season) and just 28 receptions in 2004 (the Jay Davis Effect). Must get T-Hall the ball.

-- Some surprises on the OL. Leroy Harris and Derek Morris are very good, but beyond them, there isn't a lot of experience. Dwayne Herndon was a defensive tackle last season; Kalani Heppe and James Newby have been reserves up to this point in their careers.

-- Curtis Crouch is humonstrous! Six-five, 354 pounds. A true freshman! Sweet merciful crap.

-- John Deraney will be handling all kicking duties again. Deraney has a huge leg, but made just 13 of 22 field goals in 2004.

-- Depth at defensive end concerns me a bit. Love the depth at DT, however.

-- Stephen Tulloch finally gets to play full time at linebacker, and he is going to be everywhere this year. I love watching this guy.

-- Secondary: it's all good at safety/rover, not so much. While technically not starters last year, AJ Davis and Marcus Hudson played a lot. Hudson in particular has a lot of experience, and his size makes him perfect for the bump-and-run defense State likes. Garland Heath (rover) has somewhat limited experience as a backup. Miguel Scott (free safety), a true sophomore, played in every game last season, but only saw about 10-15 snaps. Scott's backup--JJ Jones--has been a career special teams player.

-- Based on this depth chart, NC State could return eight starters on defense in 2006. Of course, Mario Williams is as good as gone...and there's no telling what else may happen.