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Hall Makes Up For Lost Time, Gets Standing O In Wolfpack Scrimmage

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Tramain Hall has waited three years to play at Carter-Finley Stadium. A hamstring injury wasn't about to keephim from participating in North Carolina State's final scrimmage of the spring.

Hall received a standing ovation from an estimated crowd of 14,000 when he caught his first pass from Philip Rivers in N.C.State's second drive Saturday.

"I had heard that people were going to give Tramain a standing ovation when he made his first play, and I had been kidding himabout that all week because he had a pulled hamstring," Rivers said. "I told him: 'I bet you'll be ready Saturday.'

"He's going to be able to do a lot of things for us. We've gotto make sure teams can't key on him when he's in the backfield.We'll have to mix it up, but he's going to be a weapon from alldifferent places."

Hall first enrolled at N.C. State in December 2000. But hewas ruled an NCAA non-qualifier after questions arose about hisscores on the Florida competency test required for high-schoolgraduation.

After one season at L.A. Valley Junior College, the tailback wasagain ruled ineligible by the Atlantic Coast Conference, meaning healso had to sit out the Wolfpack's record-setting 11-3 season of2002.

In other words, he lost two seasons at N.C. State.

"I was working each and every day in that training room, 7o'clock in the morning, just to come out here and show the fansthat I am glad to be back," Hall said. "I'm glad they supportedme."

Hall said he heard the crowd after his nine-yard reception.

"It was exciting," he said. "All that support has beenbuilding since I was in California, all these fans behind me. Theyhadn't forgot about me."

Hall ended the two-hour scrimmage with five catches for 39yards. He also missed connecting on a couple of deep balls.

"Once I recover from this bad hamstring I'm going deep all thetime," he said. "I feel I can go out there and get it."

The only two scores of the scrimmage came from Rivers, who hitJerricho Cotchery with a four-yard fade pass on the senior's firstdrive. He then added another nine-yard scoring play after beinginserted into an overtime situation and finished 12-of-15 for 121yards.

"That's the charisma that young man brings to this footballteam," coach Chuck Amato said. "It's just amazing."

Rivers, who has thrown for 8,993 yards in three seasons,believes the Wolfpack offense will be even more versatile in 2003.

"We've got so much more depth at wide receiver, and we canreally run," Rivers said. "We may dink it five times in a row andthen throw one deep."

The Wolfpack went without seven starters, center Jed Paulsen(knee), running back T.A. McLendon (wrist), wide receiver SterlingHicks, defensive lineman Alan Halloway (hand), and defensive backsAndre Maddox (shoulder), Lamont Reid (groin) and Marcus Hudson(suspended).

Second-team all-ACC offensive lineman Chris Colmer was infor just a few plays because of a nagging groin injury.

"I liked the way some of the young kids produced," Amato said."But fundamentally we're just so far away."

N.C. State opens Aug. 30 against Western Carolina and playsdefending national champion Ohio State on Sept. 13.

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