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December 30, 2012
R.J. Mattes, Wolfpack sticking with routine
The thought had not crossed fifth-year senior offensive lineman R.J. Mattes' mind until asked, but he admits it would be nice to be able to get a snap at center.
That's not likely to happen with senior and three-year starter Camden Wentz effectively manning the position, but you couldn't blame Mattes for wishing. For the last four years Mattes has started at four different offensive line positions.
He was the starting right guard in 2009 as a redshirt freshman. A year later, Mattes was at right tackle. Last season, Mattes protected classmate and quarterback Mike Glennon's backside at left tackle. This year Mattes has been the primary left guard.
"I could play wherever on the field," Mattes said. "I like to be a player that is considered to be versatile, that way on the next level if I get a chance I could be plugged in wherever they need me.
"Later on in life I plan on being a coach, so I will be able to say I've been there done that. I'm glad I got that experience. It's a good thing to have."
Another important aspect of being prepared for games, and down the road being an effective coach, is film room study. Mattes takes pride in breaking down tape either with offensive line coach Jim Bridge or even by himself.
That's part of Mattes' routine, and as Mattes noted, routine is important in football. That's never been truer for NC State than for the Music City Bowl preparations against Vanderbilt. Going through a coaching transition while working for the bowl can be a challenge.
To Mattes' relief, the same bowl practices program he has been used to during his career at NC State has remained in place in December thanks to interim coach and Tom O'Brien's offensive coordinator Dana Bible.
"It's the same-old, same-old," Mattes said. "Coach Bible was groomed by Coach O'Brien. It stinks that he is not here with us, but Coach Bible stuck with the same plan. He's a routine guy. Football is a routine sport. We stick with the same routine, things haven't changed. We're practicing the same, going on with life. I hate that it happened but we got to go on.
"There hasn't been any change. We still watch film. All the position coaches are still here. It still feels the same, we're just missing one guy."