The Wolfpacker

September 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2017 ■ 33 tion. He understood the offense, playbook and concepts, but learning how to interact with a collection of new teammates wasn't easy. "It is great to be here a full spring and a fall, and getting to know the guys," Finley said. "Our team is closer than ever. Our chemistry as a team is going to correlate to our success on the field." The veteran players have tried to speak in front of the team and open up more about their backgrounds. "I think it is hard for all of us to get up in front and speak in front of a lot of people like that, but at the end of the day we are all family," Finley said. "It is important for all of us to open up and be ourselves." Head coach Dave Doeren pointed out that Finley's personality and leadership skills are more obvious in year two. The players understand who Finley is and his personal- ity quirks. "He is a dry sense of humor guy, but is very funny," Doeren said. "He likes to joke around when he is not in the middle of drills. "He is extremely intelligent. He puts in a lot of time in outside the mandatory time watching film, and he is so far along aca- demically." Doeren viewed Finley putting in the time to get to know his teammates after going through last year's quick marriage. "His relationship with his teammates, showing up, he didn't have a chance to have one," Doeren said. "Now being here for 12 months, he has a totally different vibe with the guys. They respect him and they like him." Redshirt junior left tackle Tyler Jones was Finley's roommate last year and backs Doeren's claim about the quarterback's dry sense of humor. "He'll do little knock-knock jokes or he'll be the guy who will make too much of a smoothie one time and will be like 'Hey Ty, I made some smoothie for you,'" Jones said. "I'll be like, 'Nah, you just made too much for yourself.'" Some players are naturally outgoing and can maneuver through the various position cliques that naturally get formed. NC State players point to senior defensive end Brad- ley Chubb as one key leader who can walk among the position groups and provide lead- ership. It isn't "work" for Chubb, but the Wolf- pack players appreciate seeing Finley now trying to do the same. They recognize that it isn't part of Finley's base personality, but understand the effort being made. "It has always been that way with Brad- ley since he arrived here," NC State senior nickel Shawn Boone said. "Ryan and I will talk about football games and things like that. I've learned who he is." Some quarterbacks embrace being the face of the program or enjoy the media spotlight that goes with the position. Finley prefers limited interaction in that regard and won't reveal many clues to his behind- the-curtain persona with the team. "I just adapt to whatever environment I'm in," Finley said. "I think it is important to be yourself when you are around family, and we call ourselves family. "You got guys from different position groups hanging out and bonding with other guys. I think that's really special." McClendon said Finley has come out his shell with the rest of the team this past spring and summer. The two probably spent as much time together as anyone outside of his roommates from the team. "Ryan is a funny guy and that is my guy," McClendon said. "I support him all the way and learn from him. We are all brothers in the QB room." McClendon recalled the awkwardness of when Finley had just arrived at NC State, but has seen it fade away over time. "He was quiet at first, just like anybody else would be," McClendon said. "He didn't really talk to anybody. Once he got to know a couple of guys, he started talking to people." The players had assumed that McClen- don would be their leader following spring football practice in 2016. Finley's arrival was a bit of a jolt. "Especially for being that quarterback position, that leading role, for somebody to come in from another school and try to step up and say, 'Hey I am the leader now,'" Richardson said. "It's kind of tough being willing to do that. I know a lot of the guys here were questioning him, like, 'Hey who does he think he is?' and stuff like that." Finley's play on the field, toughness and personality started to win over his teammates during the 2016 season. That resulted in wins in three of the last four games, including blowing out Vanderbilt 41-17 in the Independence Bowl. "He's a real laid-back dude, but he's all about football," Richardson said. "He is so passionate for the game. You hear him talk- ing about football and can tell he loves it to death, and I love playing with someone that loves it as much as me. I love blocking for him." Boone was able to get some "insider" knowledge about Finley before he arrived in Raleigh. Boone's former West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer teammate Jonathan Moxey played with Finley at Boise State and was also his roommate. Moxey, who is trying to make the NFL as an undrafted free agent cornerback, told Boone how Finley was a cool guy who is about his business and his work. "Right away, he didn't say much, but when he got comfortable he started talk- ing trash to the defense," Boone said. "We follow his lead. He is the quarterback of the team. "The defense can do all it can, but he's the engine that runs this thing." Boone understands the impact a quar- terback's leadership can have on a team. Boone played with former NC State star quarterback Jacoby Brissett at Dwyer High and then again with the Wolfpack. Boone said Brissett is top of the line when it comes to being a leader, but he has seen the strides Finley has made over the last year. "Ryan is a great guy and a swaggy quar- terback who doesn't care and talks trash," Boone said. "He almost is like Aaron Rod- gers [of the Green Bay Packers]. He is a funny trash-talker because you don't ex- pect it out of Ryan." ■ Comparing Notable First-Year Starting Quarterbacks At NC State Rush Rush Rush Player Class Year Att. Com. Pct. Yds. TD INT Att. Yds. TD Ryan Finley R-So. 2016 243 402 60.4 3,059 18 8 74 94 1 Jacoby Brissett R-Jr. 2014 221 370 59.7 2,606 23 5 124 529 3 Mike Glennon R-Jr. 2011 283 453 62.5 3,054 31 12 51 -110 1 Russell Wilson R-Fr. 2008 150 275 54.5 1,955 17 1 116 388 4 Philip Rivers Fr. 2006 237 441 53.7 3,054 25 10 73 -87 2 "His relationship with his teammates, showing up, he didn't have a chance to have one. Now being here for 12 months, he has a totally different vibe with the guys. They respect him and they like him." ■ Head coach Dave Doeren on Finley

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