This is not something NC State coach Tom O’Brien is doing for fun.
He’s using athletes as two-way players because he’s pretty much got no other choice.
When Rashard Smith played at cornerback and wide receiver at Wake Forest earlier this season, it marked the first time since 2005 that a Pack player had played on offense and defense in the same game. Smith doubled up again the following week against South Alabama.
What began as an anomaly has become a trend.
Walk-on Jacob Kahut played on the offensive and defensive lines at Cincinnati. Last week against Georgia Tech, fullback Taylor Gentry started at fullback, played on most of the Pack’s special teams, and also played five snaps on the defensive line. He would have seen more time on defense, but left the game in the first half with a foot injury and did not return.
“This year it’s been out of necessity because of the injuries we’ve suffered,” O’Brien said. “We’ve had multiple guys now play in the same game on both sides of the ball. In our mindset, one side of the ball takes precedence over the other. Generally, if he’s going on the other side of the ball, it’s to give somebody else a blow so they’re not getting too many snaps. You get a little gunshy when you’ve had as many guys knocked out as we have.”