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NC State football doing what it can to prepare for a season of unknowns

NCAA Football: Syracuse at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

A sign of the times: Dave Doeren is giving his players reps at different positions in practice so that they will be better prepared to handle potential coronavirus-related personnel losses during the season. There’s no telling when it may be necessary for some abrupt shuffling within personnel groups during the season, so Doeren is doing what he can now.

As he told the media yesterday:

As we get in there, we’re moving guys. On the offensive line, [Ikem Ekwonu] is playing all over the place. Joe Sculthorpe is playing all over the place; Dylan McMahon and [Grant Gibson]. We’re giving those guys the ability to get reps now in case those things happen, so it’s not game week. [Ekwonu] went from left tackle to left guard today. Joe Sculthorpe went from left guard to center to right guard. We’re moving guys around and giving them the opportunity to do that.

On defense, Val Martin has played end and nose guard. C.J. Clark has played end and nose guard. Davin Vann has played end and nose guard. It’s just giving those guys that opportunity. At linebacker we’ve moved a few guys around as well. Again, it’s going to happen. Some of it is not going to be just because of positive tests. I mean, you could be in a contact tracing situation due to someone in your classroom even.

As for the team’s status right now:

We’re testing here every week, and we’ve been good. We’ve had more scares than anything. A guy will have a headache and we will hold him out until he gets retested and then he’s fine. There’s so many things right now that are symptoms of COVID, so every time a guy has one you pull them out and you quarantine everybody that is in that tracking area. We’ve had more removals and replacements, a day later because we are getting our testing back really fast right now, than we’ve had any real issues.

On the football side of things, NC State is taking advantage of having some extra time before its first game by spreading out practices—the team works out on Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday, which hopefully will help the guys stay healthier throughout camp.

More recovery time between practices is also helpful for a team that is trying to reintegrate several players who suffered significant injuries last season.