The Wolfpacker

September 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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20 ■ THE WOLFPACKER TRACKING THE PACK NC State redshirt junior left tackle Tyler Jones has the ability to play either tackle or guard, but has found a home protecting the blind side of redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley, who was his room- mate last year. The long-armed 6-3, 300-pounder played 98 percent of the team's offensive snaps last year and didn't allow a sack over the last seven games. The Wolfpack offensive line returns plenty of ex- perience with senior right guard Tony Adams joined by four redshirt juniors — Jones, center Garrett Bradbury, left guard Terronne Prescod and right tackle Will Richardson. Jones, a Stone Mountain, Ga., product, recently took time with The Wolfpacker to discuss his upcom - ing season. What are your expectations this season? "I just expect to get better and finish games be- cause we came close in a lot of games last year. I feel like as a team, we are ready to take that next step. "That next step is to finish the games and not just be like, 'We were close or we held them to so and so,' but we didn't win the game'" How close is the offensive line? "We are really close. We are closer than we have ever been. I'm sure [the media] hears that in every interview, but our group is probably one of the clos - est groups on the team. "We joke with each other and can make fun of each other or laugh at each other. We also want to make each other better." What were your goals this offseason? "I have gained some weight, and I've been work- ing with my coach on some backside steps and out- side zone blocking. I want to get the backside cut off. "We left points on the board because I couldn't get the backside cut off. That was a point of em- phasis for me." Do you feel more of a veteran leader as a redshirt junior? "I have a lot more people looking up to me now. I can't go about my day like I did as a freshman or sophomore. You don't want to set a bad example." How does your chemistry with redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley help you in pass protec- tion? "We got close over the last year and a half, and he is really a process-based guy. He does everything at the same time every day. I know if I give him a certain amount of time, the ball will be gone. "If I don't give him enough time, then he'll be back there scrambling and panicking." If one of the running backs gains more than 100 yards in the game, is there something they could get the of- fensive line? "They should get us another 100 yards. I just want to see our running backs succeed. They don't have to buy us anything. "Maybe get us some cookies. Cookies would be good." What are some of your academic goals at NC State? "I am majoring in communications and media, and I am considering being a broadcaster one day or to become a journalist. I eventually hope to get into law school." Who inspires you? "My parents, Keeshun and Corey Henry. I talk to them all the time. They say to keep my head down and keep working. They just tell me to work hard." — Jacey Zembal Getting To Know: Redshirt Junior Left Tackle Tyler Jones Quick Questions Last good movie you watched? "Girls Trip." Who would you like to see in concert? Future. Favorite class at NC State? Media writing and production. Go-to place to eat in Stone Mountain, Ga.? American Deli. If you didn't go to NC State, where would you have gone? I love North Carolina State. Mississippi State was second. Oddest thing buried somewhere in your room? I still have my first PlayStation. A PlayStation 1 in my closet. Favorite television show? "Family Guy." Favorite actor or actress? Will Smith. What is something that maybe not everyone on the team knows about you? I listen to a lot of R&B and jazz. Favorite NFL player? [Washington Redskins left tackle] Trent Williams. Jones didn't allow a sack in the Wolfpack's final seven contests last year. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN Basketball's Offseason Conditioning Yielding Results When fifth-year senior forward/cen- ter Lennard Freeman strolled up to the podium for a media gathering Aug. 1, the day before the team set off for a trip to Italy, the fact he had lost 22 pounds and recently checked in at 239 pounds on his 6-8 frame was visibly evident. First-year head coach Kevin Keatts forewarned his new team that it would be the most well conditioned squad in the country. Keatts noted at that pre-Italy trip press conference that the players "think they are in great shape" before adding, "I think they have a long ways to go." That may be true, although Wolfpack redshirt junior wing Torin Dorn stated he feels like he is in the best shape of his life. Freeman's body transforma- tion may prove to one of the emerging stories from the summer. The question then becomes: can Freeman and his shin stay healthy? Keatts asked every media member to raise their right hand and knock on the wooden table in front of them when asked about that very subject. "I feel great," Freeman added. "I'm not going to say I feel the best I've ever felt because I haven't always had an 18- inch rod in my leg, but I feel better than I've felt in the past two years." A healthy Freeman is important, a fact not lost on the player himself. He knows that he will have to join sopho- more center Omer Yurtseven and senior forward Abdul-Malik Abu in holding down the fort inside. "It's going to be extremely important especially when we go four guards," Freeman stated. Freeman noted that practices are "night and day" different under Ke- atts compared to the previous staff and head coach Mark Gottfried. Both he and Dorn confirmed that the competi- tive elements of practice have amped up considerably. "With Coach Keatts, everything is competitive," said Freeman. "He wants to bring the best out of everybody." "Everything comes down to win- ning," Dorn added. "Losing has con- sequences. You lose a drill, you're running. If you looked tired, you're running." — Matt Carter

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