Nyheim Hines ready to prove hes a nightmare for ACC defenses

Sophomore dual-threat weapon set for breakout season in new offensive scheme.

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
N.C. State running back Nyheim Hines (7) practices Monday

RALEIGH — Nyheim Hines can do it all. He has the strength and explosiveness to line up as a running back. He runs routes well and possesses the breakaway speed to serve as an excellent option at wideout. The combination of all these skills make him a dangerous and explosive return specialist, capable of ripping off big plays. Last season was a personal disappointment for Hines, as he was only seen in limited action. But with a new offensive system under first-year offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz, the NC State offense is prepared to unleash Hines this fall.Hines has shifted from wide receiver to running back multiple times this offseason and is still sorting out his position with less than a week before the season begins. Regardless of where he ends up, Hines is ready to help lead a new-look offense into a difficult schedule that starts on Thursday against William & Mary.North State Journal: How difficult has it been to transition between receiver and running back on a constant basis?Nyheim Hines: I’ve learned a lot of the receiver things and I feel like I know a lot of receiver routes and what they need to do based off the run or protection. I can tell I haven’t played receiver in a while. (Laughs) I’ve been forgetting a little bit of the fine details. [Wide receivers coach George McDonald] has been doing a great job working with me and making sure I’m up to par with the receivers and [defensive backs] because the DBs in this league are so tough.Where do you feel more comfortable?Wherever I get the ball. I’m supposed to be a little bit uncomfortable because it’s a game and that makes you stay on your P’s and Q’s and not relax.Is the wide receiver playbook a little easier than other positions with the new offense?I feel like any offense can be easy as long as you put the time into it and study it. Every night after I get home I make sure I study the plays and install every night. I feel like if you do that, you can be successful anywhere you go, even the NFL.You lost weight during the summer. What was your offseason workout routine?Just running track, really. When you run track, it’s really hard to maintain weight. But I feel faster and healthier because of it. I stayed in the weight room and just ran, like, a lot. I’m about 190 pounds now and I feel like I’m as fast and as quick as possible heading into the season.I’m a lot more explosive and quicker heading into this year. Fans will see that. I was dealing with a knee injury coming into camp last season, so I feel like I’ve gotten all that back and more.How rewarding was it for you to win the 4×100 relay after all the work put in on the track?It was so exciting. We hadn’t done that since 1990, so it’s always great to accomplish something the school hasn’t done in years. Hopefully we can do more of that on the football field this fall. That was the whole reason why I came here was to change the culture in football and track.Did you ever have any Olympic dreams in track?Yes sir, I did. But we’ve got to be realistic that football is probably the way for me to go. (Laughs) I think about doing it during the Olympics every four years, but I think I could go without track a season and it wouldn’t hurt. I don’t think I could go a season without football.Are your expectations different heading into this season compared to last year?Oh, definitely. I’m working to increase the workload this year. Last season I was just really doing kick returns and only in on a few snaps offensively. My plan is to make a huge impact on the offense to really just prove I can be a player in all aspects of the game.How excited were you when you heard about Eli Drinkwitz’s offensive scheme?Anybody who covered me when I was being recruited, I said I wanted to go to a no-huddle spread. So when I heard we got Coach Drinkwitz and we were going to a no-huddle spread, obviously I was ecstatic. I’m loving everything that’s going on with installing a new offense. There’s ups and downs, but we’re pushing as hard as we can go.Being from Garner, what made you want to ultimately stay in state when so many are heading out of state?Family, my sister [sophomore on NCSU track team], I get to go home any time I want and get home-cooked meals. Also the connections. College is all about who you know and who you meet. Being from here, I feel like I know a lot of people. And out-of-state friends on this team I try to help out because I’m from here, so I always tell them to call me and I can try to help them the best I can.I’ve also always been a guy who’s wanted to be different and not do what everybody else is doing. Now the goal for me is to help Coach [Dave] Doeren out and help local kids stay here like Matt Butler. We tried to get Dexter Lawrence, but that unfortunately didn’t work out.We’ve heard a few nicknames for you around camp, what’s your personal preference?Oh, man. (Laughs) Nyheim the Dream is really cool and I’ve always liked that one. But I feel like it’s taken already by Hakeem Olajuwan. So I guess Nyheim the Nightmare works for me. I can punish teams on the goal line, so I guess that makes me a nightmare. I’ll roll with it.What are your personal expectations for this season?Just do everything I can to help us win. I’m not really a statistical guy, just want to help the team in any way I can. I want to have a better season than last year.