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August 9, 2012

Practice notebook: Mustafa Greene cleared



It appears that NC State has its roster for the 2012 season set after redshirt sophomore running back Mustafa Greene has been cleared.

"We went two for three, so it's not bad," NCSU head coach Tom O'Brien joked, referencing junior defensive tackle A.J. Ferguson rejoining the team and quarterback Tyler Brosius leaving.

Greene was State's leading rusher as a true freshman in 2010 when he ran 134 times for 597 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 30 receptions for 272 yards and two scores.

A broken foot sidelined Greene all of last season before off the field issues kept him sidelined most of last spring until this week.

O'Brien said it remains to be seen what kind of impact Greene will make.

"He hasn't played in a year," O'Brien noted. "He's got to get back, he's got to get into practice. He's got to be able now to make it through the next three weeks till game time to see if we can get him back into game shape. He's way behind right now.

"He's out there and he looks fit cause he's got fresh legs compared to everybody else right now."

Besides Ferguson and Greene, State also welcomed junior college transfer Robert Caldwell, a linebacker who was not cleared until this week as well.

"He's a big body, seems to move good," O'Brien stated. "The question, he's really got to learn. That's the thing I think is the toughest right now for him, is all the learning he has to do."

Caldwell is not the only transfer State welcomed. Former Penn State safety Tim Buckley, a redshirt freshman, arrived shortly before camp started.

"I think he's acclimated very well," O'Brien said. "Certainly his year at Penn State and going through spring practice and getting himself on the depth chart, he's second team so that means he played a lot in spring practice which is good. It's just a question that any time you change like that it's maybe apples or oranges here or maybe they're called bananas. You just got to do the translation over, do the terminology.

"He's well coached at Penn State, and he's a fast learner so that's good for us."

With Brosius' departure, true freshman Manny Stocker takes over as the backup. O'Brien said though they are not doing anything different to help Stocker transition.

"We're treating him like a redshirt freshman," O'Brien explained. "He's already been through spring practice so he's way ahead. Who knows, we're going to end up better at that position than we were last year I think."

***


Friday is NC State's second scrimmage. The first was Monday evening, an effort O'Brien thought lack enthusiasm. He's looking forward to see what kind of improvements they make Friday.

"It's almost the first to second games," O'Brien said. "You want to see the guys that haven't played before, they get a chance to finally play in that first scrimmage where they got to tackle. You out here, you're not tackling, you're trying to get to the ball, it's not realistic. They got a chance to see themselves on tape. They got a chance to correct their mistakes. Hopefully we've done that these last couple of practices. Now it's a time to learn and see if they've gotten better.

"That's important because you're going to make mistakes. Can you learn from it, can you get better, can you not make the same mistake again? Those are biggest things you look for, and then I want to see a little more competition. We were a little tired last time so hopefully we'll have a little more enthusiasm out there and go a little tougher."



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