March 21, 2011

Audie Cole keeps it simple

Changing positions is nothing new to Audie Cole. As a three-year starter at quarterback on the prep level, he totaled 3,285 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air, while also seeing time at safety and linebacker as a senior. However, the 6-5, 239-pound former Golden Glove champion was not recruited by NC State to star under center and he redshirted his first year on campus while making the transition to full-time linebacker.

After starting for two years on the outside, Cole is now moving to the inside, where linebackers coach Jon Tenuta likes to position his best player at the position. For the rising fifth-year senior, this switch is a mole hill compared to the mountainous change that had to be made from the prep level.

"I can't really say [what the biggest change will be] because it was my first day doing it, I don't know much about it but all it is, is a different view, I guess," he said. "I don't think it's too much different, though. The only thing that is really different is the perspective of it, who you are looking at and who you are reading. It's a different view, but it's just like looking out a different window. It's all the same thing, you just have to know your assignments and locate the football. No matter where you are at, it's about tackling the guy with the football and you'll be alright."

Cole has experienced a ton of success from his outside spot - the former two-star recruit from Monroe, Mich. led the Pack with 85 tackles in 2009 and tied for the team lead with 97 total stops last fall. He also has started all 25 games over the past two seasons, playing through minor injuries and is ready to emerge as the heart and soul of the defense, the role that Nate Irving filled so well last fall.

"I like [the move], I'm excited for it," Cole said. "I'm new to it, I still have to figure out a lot of things but I think it's going to be a good thing."

Although Irving is off training for the NFL Draft, the new man in the middle keeps in touch with his predecessor, who Cole said is always willing to help out. In turn, Cole is trying to help his replacement adjust to a new position; as sophomore D.J. Green is moving down to outside linebacker this spring, as well.

"D.J.'s going to be good, he's a heck of an athlete," Cole said. "He can play wherever we put him. The position is not too much different than a safety, it's nothing too drastic, the only thing that changes is the name and a few assignments.

"He's going to be better than I was there. He's a great athlete, he understands the game, he's going to do well."

With Green on one side of him and Terrell Manning on the other, Cole can already notice a difference in the linebacking corps despite the fact that the spring is just beginning.

"I think we're expected to just keep getting better and keep going [in the right direction]," he said. "I thought we did a good job on the first day of practice. Obviously, the first day is going to be rough, everything is going wrong, guys aren't going to where they are supposed to be; it's mayhem out there. I'd say for the first day, we did a lot of things right, especially some coverage's that we used to mess up, even halfway through the year last year. I think we did very well for the first practice."

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