N.C. State’s Wilson awaiting medical clearance
By Joedy McCreary
Associated PressRALEIGH ó Russell Wilson is a hard man to find at N.C. State ó both on and off the field.When he’s not escaping tacklers, the Wolfpack’s elusive all-ACC quarterback doubles as an infielder on the baseball team. But he hasn’t played with either of those teams lately as he recovers from the knee injury he suffered nearly three months ago in the Papajohns.com Bowl.
He’s about a week away from receiving medical clearance to return to N.C. State’s football and baseball fields, coach Tom O’Brien said Monday ó exactly 11 weeks after Wilson sprained his knee while tearing his posterior cruciate ligament in the Dec. 29 loss to Rutgers.
“From the first day he was hurt, (a team doctor) said it was going to be 12 weeks, and he said he would check him as time went on, which he did,” O’Brien said. “And after the last time he checked, he said he’d clear him a week from today, which is the time for full-go.”
The Wolfpack starts spring practice later this week, and O’Brien said he and Wilson worked out a schedule that, once cleared, will allow him to take part in most football practices while not missing any time with the baseball team he helped lead to an NCAA super regional berth last season.
The first freshman in league history to be named an all-ACC quarterback has some work to do to keep hold of his job from Mike Glennon, a pocket passer who redshirted during Wilson’s breakout season.”I hope (Glennon) competes for the job and tries to take it away from Russell,” O’Brien said. “Nobody better think they’re starters because nobody owns the jersey. North Carolina State owns the jersey. … They have to earn it. If Glennon has that ‘potential’ tag ó that dangerous tag which means you haven’t done anything yet ó he’ll certainly have his opportunities.
“It became pretty obvious to us (last season) that our choice was going to be Glennon or Wilson coming into the fall,” O’Brien added. “Russell ended up winning that competition then, but he’s the incumbent because it’s his job. But Michael Glennon wants to take it away from him.”
Wilson threw for 1,955 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 388 more yards and four scores. But when he was hurt ó and it happened rather often ó N.C. State’s team had a drastically different feel.
He missed roughly two full games with injuries and, not coincidentally, they ranked among the Wolfpack’s worst performances of the season.
He sat out the second half of the shutout loss at South Carolina with a concussion that limited him to special-teams duties during a lackluster victory over William & Mary. A shoulder injury suffered in the East Carolina upset kept him out of the 41-10 loss to then-No. 13 South Florida. N.C. State held an 11-point halftime lead in the bowl game ó but after Wilson went down, Rutgers rallied to claim a 29-23 win and drop the Wolfpack to a 6-7 finish.
“There’s a lot of things that decision-making-wise he has to get better at (and) that will keep him from some of these injury situations he’s gotten himself into,” O’Brien said. “A couple of times he’s gotten hurt, if he makes a better decision, he doesn’t put himself in a situation where he gets hit.
“Your strength’s your weakness and your weakness is your strength. Obviously, one of his strengths is pulling the ball down, taking off and running. We don’t want to discourage that, but there are times when he can throw the ball and he doesn’t have to run ó he can throw the ball and complete the pass, and we can get a 20-yard gain without him running 60 yards to get 20 yards. Those are things we want him to get better at in the spring.”
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