RALEIGH — After a hard-fought win in the sun against James Madison, NC State’s trainers have been busy.
The good news for the Wolfpack is that it sounds like the walking wounded all have a good chance of being back for Saturday’s game against Georgia State.
“I feel pretty good. I was down in the weight room earlier and all the guys were working out. Most of the stuff we were dealing with was heat-related — guys needing IVs, cramps, things like that,” coach Dave Doeren said. “I’ve talked with our nutritionists, our training staff, our strength staff. We thought we did everything right going into the game, but we still had guys cramp up. So we’ve got to change that.”
While the Panthers don’t have the name recognition to strike fear in anyone’s hearts, they feature the leading receiver in FBS. Junior Penny Hart, a preseason All-American, is first in all of FBS with 5.64 receptions and 83.1 yards per game during his career. He’s also third in touchdown catches, with 18.
“We’ve got to be aware of where he is,” Doeren said.
State struggled with pass defense in week one, as former Pitt quarterback Ben DiNucci completed 23 of 27 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. The Pack will need to find an answer for Hart and quarterback Dan Ellington, who threw for three touchdowns in his first college start last week after entering as a junior college transfer. Ellington led the team back from a 14-0 deficit to beat Kennesaw State.
“That’s impressive, the way they’ve been able to keep it together with a new quarterback,” Doeren said. “He really had a nice game. He’s a good athlete. Three touchdowns, no interceptions, over 70 percent completion rate, and he was their leading rusher.”
So State could use a full contingent of players against Georgia State. Early-week reports are promising.
Jakobi Meyers, who had 14 catches in the opener, many of them on a sprained ankle, is working on his recovery.
“Jakobi’s doing good,” Doeren said. “We just need to get his body back. He was pretty beat up after the game, but he said he’d be ready to go.”
He could also be joined by Stephen Louis. The Pack’s active leader in yards per catch missed the opener after hurting his leg in practice.
“During training camp his hamstring was bothering him and then it got better,” Doeren explained. “Then on Wednesday it got tight on him. … He tried to warm it up (in pregame) and it was still tight. I think he’ll be fine for this week, but you don’t know until we get out there tomorrow and see how he’s feeling.”
On the other side of the ball, defensive tackle Eurndraus Bryant suffered what appeared to be the most severe of the Wolfpack’s Saturday injuries. After recovering a fumble, he suffered a neck injury and was carried off the field on a stretcher to undergo X-rays.
“Eurndraus is doing really well,” Doeren said. He’ll practice (Tuesday). So he’s been fully cleared.”