The Kay Yow Spring Game was more practice than game, due in part to having at least 13 scholarship players unavailable Saturday.
But it wasn't just about what was happening on the field — NC State also raised $10,882 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
“That’s really an integral part of the game,” head coach Dave Doeren said. “That is a way for us to show our pride for that cause and to be able to recognize Elizabeth Trevathan, Coach [Henry] Trevathan's wife, her battle and her passing [Jan. 13 at age 56]. That was a special moment.”
Junior kicker Kyle Bambard, taking particular advantage of the red-zone session in the third quarter, nailed six of seven field goals with a long of 47 yards. The Wolfpack also showed off a nifty trick play with redshirt senior wide receiver Gavin Locklear throwing a reverse pass to sophomore wideout Kelvin Harmon for a 46-yard touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, redshirt junior outside linebacker Germaine Pratt looked good in the fourth-quarter scrimmage of live action primarily consisting of reserves, and he finished with a team-high six tackles for the afternoon. The converted safety redshirted last year.
Doeren will dissect the film over the next few days and then start plotting the offseason steps for his veteran squad, which has high hopes to improve upon last year’s 7-6 record.
“Defensively, there is good chemistry and our O-Line last year, we had four new starters and this year, [we have] four returning players,” Doeren said. “You can see how those guys play together.
“Other than the one big play we gave up on the trick play, I thought [the defense] kept the ball in front of them. We weren’t tackling, so we can’t really talk about that.”
Redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley went 11-of-18 passing for 92 yards and didn’t turn the football.
“Ryan Finley is really comfortable out there,” Doeren said. “He was able to make some pretty consistent plays.”
NC State will likely turn to junior Nyheim Hines at running back. He played slot receiver and a little tailback for the Wolfpack in the past, but was a star running back for Garner (N.C.) High. NCSU played without running backs Dakwa Nichols, a fifth-year senior, and junior Reggie Gallaspy, both of whom are injured. Former Rivals.com four-star Johnny Frasier, a redshirt sophomore, departed the team during the spring.
Hines rushed five times for 21 yards. Replacing star running back Matthew Dayes won’t be easy for the NC State offense, and Doeren knows it. The Pack might have to go by committee in the fall.
“[Hines] is playing in the backfield now,” Doeren said. “He is still out in the slot in some different formations. We are looking for different ways to get him the football. Same thing with [senior H-back Jaylen Samuels]. Both those guys will be in the backfield for us along with Reggie Gallaspy once he’s healthy and Dakwa Nichols.”
Hines has been studying how Dayes took care of business on blitz pickups.
“He was actually telling me some things today,” Hines said. “He talked about how well he pass blocks. I went back on film and watched that. I have been playing receiver, so I haven’t blocked as much.”
Bambard's strong afternoon came a day after NC State officially landed Carson-Newman graduate kicker Carson Wise, who has two years of eligibility remaining. He’ll be challenging Bambard for the job. Both are on scholarship.
“It was great for Kyle, and I was excited he was able to do that,” Doeren said about Bambard’s 47-yard field goal that came against the wind.
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