ACC Football: Wolfpack halted by rain
By Aaron Beard
RALEIGH ó North Carolina State’s preseason practice is off to a stormy start.
The Wolfpack managed to get in about three-quarters of its first workout Monday before lightning and a heavy downpour forced the coaches to call off the last 30 minutes of practice.
Players huddled under a shelter at the practice field near Carter-Finley Stadium during the summer storm, excitedly “oohing” and laughing at every thunder clap and lightning bolt. At one point, a sideline yard marker began floating in a stream of rainwater that had drained to the side of the field.
The delay lasted about 45 minutes before coach Tom O’Brien called it a day with the storm still going and the field getting sloppier by the minute.
“I’ve had days like this,” O’Brien said. “There isn’t anything you can do about it. You don’t worry about the weather.”
It wasn’t quite what the Wolfpack players and coaches had envisioned when they took the field in the late afternoon sun and heat. N.C. State was the first of the state’s four ACC schools to begin practice.
“I’m sure it’s not raining all over the ACC right now,” defensive end Willie Young said, “so we have to really come out (Tuesday) and make up for the five or six periods we missed today.”
Still, O’Brien said he saw some things to feel good about in the abbreviated workout, primarily the continuity of players being in his system for a third season. That includes Russell Wilson, who entered last year in an open competition for the starting quarterback job and ended up becoming an all-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team pick.
“Today’s a great day, getting going and starting a new season,” Wilson said. “I feel a lot more comfortable out there. It’s exciting.”
O’Brien said much of the team will continue taking exams from summer classes Tuesday. He’s just hoping his players can get through an entire practice, too.
“We missed about a half-hour of practice, which is not good,” O’Brien said. “But it’s not the worst thing that can happen to us.”