Football

Offensive line shuffled again for NC State

N.C. State’s Tyler Jones (53), right, and Emanuel McGirt, Jr. (74) do drills during the Wolfpack’s first preseason football practice Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Raleigh.
N.C. State’s Tyler Jones (53), right, and Emanuel McGirt, Jr. (74) do drills during the Wolfpack’s first preseason football practice Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, in Raleigh. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Tyler Jones will get his first career start for N.C. State on Saturday at South Alabama.

It’s probably three games later than the redshirt freshman offensive lineman had expected before the season began.

Jones (6-3, 300) had won the starting left tackle job in the spring. He was displaced in August by redshirt freshman Will Richardson.

With injuries to senior Alex Barr (foot) and junior Bryce Kennedy (concussion), Jones will start at left guard against the Jaguars.

N.C. State (3-0) coach Dave Doeren said Jones was understandably disappointed after Richardson won the job at right tackle in the preseason.

“I told Tyler, it’s going to be a matter of time,” Doeren said. “You just need to be ready when it comes.”

Barr was injured in the second half of N.C. State’s 35-0 win over Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 12 and sat out last week’s 38-14 win at Old Dominion.

Kennedy started for Barr at left guard against the Monarchs and played 51 of 79 offensive snaps before leaving with a possible concussion.

Despite all the changes up front, the Wolfpack’s rushing numbers have been strong the past two weeks. N.C. State ran for 199 yards against Eastern Kentucky and 256 against Old Dominion.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was sacked twice in each game, though, which has Doeren concerned.

Without Kennedy, N.C. State used Jones at guard and senior Joe Thuney at left tackle. Jones and Thuney can play either spot, Doeren said, with redshirt freshman Garrett Bradbury available as a backup at guard.

“(Jones and Bradbury) both had really good weeks in practice,” Doeren said.

Doeren said he was hopeful to have both Barr and Kennedy ready for the ACC opener against Louisville on Oct. 3.

“We should have them both back next week, so that’s the good thing,” Doeren said.

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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