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March 19, 2013
NC State opened their spring practices on Tuesday morning for the first time under new head coach Dave Doeren. The first five five-minute periods were open to the media and it was noticeable that there was a renewed energy among the players. Rising senior cornerback Dontae Johnson said there was definitely a new feeling within the program.
"It was the first day and, honestly, it's just great to be back out here on the grass with my teammates and the new coaches," he said. "There's a new energy, new excitement out here. I'm just excited for the season and for the spring.
"These guys out here want to coach us, and they want us to get better. There were a lot of coaches yelling and screaming at us, but my teammates took it well, as constructive criticism, and used it to get better. That will make the team better. There's a new energy, like I said. That's a great feeling and everybody was enthusiastic."
Despite the numerous changes that the program has seen in the past few months, the start of spring practice is always something to look forward to, according to rising redshirt junior running back Tony Creecy, who also noticed a few subtle changes on the practice field.
"It was a pretty good practice," he said. "With the new offense and new defense, a lot of players have to adjust, but overall, I think we had a pretty good practice from an enthusiasm standpoint and an execution standpoint.
"There's not many major differences, the only thing is just the enthusiasm and it wasn't as quiet. There's always someone talking, whether it's calling out plays, calling out defenses. There was a lot of enthusiasm today."
Rising sophomore quarterback Manny Stocker said that the new staff set the tone from day one in Raleigh, and the players know the coaches are all about competing.
"There's a lot of competitive energy," he said. "I think the new coaches brought that out of us in January.
"I'd say it's definitely picking up from what it used to be. The competitive spirit, that nature, is definitely picking up, so I'm glad about that."
Stocker described the offense as, "no-huddle, fast-paced, trying to get on the edge and score as many points as possible.
"There was a lot faster pace than last year's practices. I'm glad I got the opportunity to be in a pro-style offense [last year], and now to be in this offense. I know two different paces, and this one is a lot faster."
"The practice was a lot quicker," Johnson agreed. "The tempo was a lot faster. With the no-huddle offense, we had to make sure the defense was ready and everybody was aligned in the right places and everything. Things have to be recognized a lot quicker than last year. It's definitely good for us because, when game time comes, everything will slow down a little bit for us."
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