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September 10, 2008All eyes Saturday at Clemson will be on NC State redshirt freshman quarterback Russell Wilson as he makes his return from a grade III concussion suffered in the season opener at South Carolina on Aug. 28.
Wilson though does not seem nervous.
"I'm definitely excited to be coming back and everything," Wilson said. "The doctors did a real good job with me and Coach [Tom] O'Brien. I think we're ready to go."
Wilson put a scare into not only NC State fans but a nationally televised audience when he fell to the ground after being hit first by South Carolina end Jordin Lindsey from the front, and then banging the back of his head on the knee of end Cliff Matthews as he was being driven to the ground.
"It was just a freak hit," Wilson noted. "I went down. God blessed me to get back quickly, and then the doctor did a great job of it."
Wilson did not pinpoint a moment from when he got over the repercussions of the concussion.
"No specific time necessarily, I just had a quick recovery," he stated. "As I said, the doctors and everything did a great job getting me back together."
He had taken a few hard hits before the play that knocked him out, but Wilson insisted that he did not feel anything from the previous plays. He also does not remember how long he was out. He does however recall giving the thumbs up as he was carted off the field.
"I just wanted to give NC State fans something to be excited about." Wilson said. "I didn't want everybody to down, and I wanted everybody to know I'll be okay."
Wilson adds that he is not worried about taking that first hit Saturday against a fast Clemson defense that last year knocked NC State quarterback Harrison Beck, a redshirt junior that is Wilson's backup, out of the game.
Although he was only on the field for a few series in the first half, Wilson was able to take something from the South Carolina game.
"It was just good to be out there, really," he said. "Coaches had really prepared me and everything like that and coaches prepared the rest of our guys. Hopefully we'll do well on Saturday.
"I think we're going to be okay. I think our team is going to be ready to go. Just have fun out there, and just follow what the coaches have been teaching us. If you do that, you'll be okay."
Wilson said that he did not view O'Brien's decision to quickly reinsert him back into the starting line-up as a vote of confidence.
"I always want to play, but whatever his decision is everybody is going to follow," Wilson said. "I am going to follow his decision, whatever it is.
"Coach O'Brien, I trust him. I definitely trust him a lot and definitely the medical staff. I'm eager to play. I'm always eager to step out on the field, stuff like that, but they did a great job with me."
Wilson of course is not the only injury for NC State. Pack fans have come to dread the weekly release of the injury report before each game. Wilson is not worried of the emotional toll it takes on the team however to see fellow players going down.
"As a team, we always pick each other up, no matter what the situation is," he said. "We'll always be there for each other, hopefully have people to move in, step in and be ready to play."
Wilson knows that against a speedy defense, the passing game will need to be effective. Thus far NC State's air attack can at best be described as up and down.
"Everyday we are working on it as a team, not just myself, the offensive line, the wide outs, the tight ends, myself and the rest of the quarterbacks," Wilson said. "I think we are definitely improving."
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