As Alec mentioned on Friday, Joe Thuney was playing left tackle with the first-team offense, with Alex Barr at left guard, and redshirt freshman Will Richardson at right tackle. Mainstays Quinton Schooley and Tony Adams are locked in at center and right guard. And based on Dave Doeren's remarks following the team's second scrimmage Saturday, it appears that's how the Wolfpack's offensive line will look in week one.
"Alex Barr and Thuney were playing on the left side together a lot, and Will Richardson took the majority of the reps at right tackle. Tony at right guard, Schooley at center... that's been our primary lineup this week. I think that's where Mike [Uremovich] is most comfortable right now."
Doeren added that he has eight guys "we feel good about right now" up front, including freshmen Garrett Bradbury and Tyler Jones. That's not an ideal level of depth but should suffice barring a rash of injury within the unit. NC State also has a lot of flexibility within its starting five, which may wind up being important: Thuney and Barr both have experience at guard and tackle, while Adams can serve as the center if need be.
Elsewhere, freshman kicker Kyle Bambard (Bambardment!) had another strong scrimmage, per Doeren, and made another 53-yard field goal. He'll be Nik Sade's replacement, and he's also still in the running to handle kickoffs. Doeren mentioned that he had a several kickoffs go for touchbacks on Saturday, and as a result it sounds like the staff is re-evaluating that situation. Jackson Maples is Bambard's competition for that job.
Nyheim Hines was making plays again, and got himself into the endzone for the second straight scrimmage, but the coaches don't want to hand him too much too soon. "We need to get him hit a few times and get the butterflies out of his body on offense probably before we have him returning kicks, but ultimately we'd love him to be the guy," Doeren said.
So maybe we see Bra'Lon Cherry or Matt Dayes returning kicks, at least initially, with Hines stepping in later should the production from returners lag again this season. Cherry lost the punt return gig last year after catching a case of the muffsies (official football term), and let's hope we don't have to go through that again.