Hall Makes Up For Lost Time, Gets Standing O In Wolfpack Scrimmage
Posted April 12, 2003 9:40 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Tramain Hall has waited three years to play at Carter-Finley Stadium. A hamstring injury wasn't about to keep him 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 him about 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 got to 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 all different places."
Hall first enrolled at N.C. State in December 2000. But he was ruled an NCAA non-qualifier after questions arose about his scores on the Florida competency test required for high-school graduation.
After one season at L.A. Valley Junior College, the tailback was again ruled ineligible by the Atlantic Coast Conference, meaning he also had to sit out the Wolfpack's record-setting 11-3 season of 2002.
In other words, he lost two seasons at N.C. State.
"I was working each and every day in that training room, 7 o'clock in the morning, just to come out here and show the fans that I am glad to be back," Hall said. "I'm glad they supported me."
Hall said he heard the crowd after his nine-yard reception.
"It was exciting," he said. "All that support has been building since I was in California, all these fans behind me. They hadn't forgot about me."
Hall ended the two-hour scrimmage with five catches for 39 yards. He also missed connecting on a couple of deep balls.
"Once I recover from this bad hamstring I'm going deep all the time," he said. "I feel I can go out there and get it."
The only two scores of the scrimmage came from Rivers, who hit Jerricho Cotchery with a four-yard fade pass on the senior's first drive. He then added another nine-yard scoring play after being inserted into an overtime situation and finished 12-of-15 for 121 yards.
"That's the charisma that young man brings to this football team," 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 can really run," Rivers said. "We may dink it five times in a row and then throw one deep."
The Wolfpack went without seven starters, center Jed Paulsen (knee), running back T.A. McLendon (wrist), wide receiver Sterling Hicks, defensive lineman Alan Halloway (hand), and defensive backs Andre Maddox (shoulder), Lamont Reid (groin) and Marcus Hudson (suspended).
Second-team all-ACC offensive lineman Chris Colmer was in for 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 plays defending national champion Ohio State on Sept. 13.