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NC State Football

Chris Toudle: "We're Ready To Go Out Firing"

November 12, 2021

NC State redshirt freshman tight end Chris Toudle met with the media to discuss his development at tight end, facing Wake Forest, and much more!

NOTE: Click the video above to watch the interview.

We've talked a lot about both you and Trent Pennix switching from previous positions to tight end, but what kind of gives you that advantage when you have a linebacker on you in pass coverage?
I say definitely speed. Speed is one big advantage that me and Trent both have. I think that and just our route-running ability. I don't think linebackers can keep up with us with our speed, but also when it comes to making fast-breaking moves and stuff. I think that's one way we separate ourselves.

I imagine pre-snap when you know it's a pass play, you can probably tell a linebacker's going to be covering you, your eyes probably light up. This is easy money. Is that what's going through your mind when you see like the coverage in front of you?
Sometimes the coverage is hard to read, but when we do have those moments, and I could say for Trent too, our eyes definitely get big and bright and we get excited to get the ball.

Given their offense and how high powered they are, do you guys feel a little extra pressure maybe this week -- not pressure, but a little extra sense of urgency for you guys to be as sharp as possible?
Every week we just come in really focusing on us. Wake does have a really good offense. They're a really good team, and we don't overlook that or anything, but I think it's more, if we focus on us and staying sharp in our details, then that would be the difference between us winning the game and losing the game, because I feel like if we tend to focus on the opposite team more, then we're just going to get in our heads and it's not going to be a good outcome for us.

Honestly, their defense is giving up a lot of points. Are you guys licking your chops to go against these guys on Saturday?
I mean, it's just...

Give us some billboard stuff here.
It's just another game and another team. It's just the next team we got to play, so I think we're ready to go out firing on all cylinders on offense in the run and pass game.

Devin's been spreading the ball around to a bunch of different guys. I think Coach the other day said that his favorite receiver is the open one. Just for you guys, what does that do for you in the tight end room for the wide receivers to know that he's going to find that open guy? He doesn't care who it is, that he's going to spread the ball around.
Start off, I don't think there's a better quarterback than Devin Leary in the country. He is really amazing at finding the open man. He gets his job done, and us as tight ends, and I can say the same thing for the receivers, we never have a worry, we never have a doubt with Devin.

He just goes out there and delivers, and we all trust in him, and with his trust, he allows us to make plays – and if it wasn't for him, we wouldn't be making the plays that we'd make in the games.

You hadn't played snaps from receiver, you played special teams, so a switch seemed like it was easy for you because it was a way to get on the field. Did it take a lot of convincing?
It really didn't take a lot of convincing at all. Maybe in my earlier years, I was kind of getting my freshman and sophomore year, I was getting more like guys just messing around, maybe because I was a bigger receiver. They were like, "Oh yeah, you're going to move to the tight end." I, honestly, I wasn't happy with that like at first, but now before this season started, Coach Doeren called me up, asked me how I felt, and it was just a really easy decision because I just want to... not only was it a chance for me to get on the field in a better setting for myself, but also just anything I can do to help the team, that's all that matters to me. All we care about is W's around here.

How'd you manage to put on extra weight to be a tight end, but keep that speed and those skills in that position?
I just don't think my body was in the right position it was in my first two years here at State. So the offseason after the Kentucky game, I really focused on my flexibility and being able to gain more weight, to be a tight end. So that really helped me.

I was easily able to put on weight. It wasn't hard, especially with Coach Thunder's program, but also just work on the receiving drills and stuff instead of mainly focusing on tight end, because I want to incorporate both of those receiver skills and tight end skills into my game. So that was just my primary focus.

It's funny you said that because I was about to ask you, it says tight end on the depth chart, but in your mind, you probably think “I'm still a receiver”.
Yes, sir. Most of the time when I put my hand in the dirt, I'm definitely thinking more tight end, but when I'm flexed out, I just love just the thought of being a receiver. There's just really no carry-over. There's not much difference besides more blocking and being more physical, but that's the fun part about playing tight end.

The physical part, was that the hardest change from receiver to tight end – the fact that like you said, you have to bash heads now?
Yeah, it was definitely a big change. I really wasn't in a physical position my whole life playing football, and so this year definitely changed that, but I knew if I wasn't going to be physical, then I wouldn't be able to help the team or even let alone get on the field.

Do you feel like you're going to put more weight on, too? I mean you're somewhat young, you can still put on more weight. Is there kind of a goal for how much you want to weigh? Is there like a weight that you want to target?
Yes, sir. I want to be about 245. I think that would be a good weight for me just so I can maintain my speed and athletic ability flexed out wide, not only in the box.

In reference to Devin Leary, Tanner Ingle said he was an artist. Pitts said that he was a magician. What's one word you would use to describe quarterback, Devin Leary?
Oh man. Stellar. I think Devin Leary, stellar. That just popped up in my mind randomly. I don't know why, but I just think he's just... a lot of quarterbacks in the country can't do what he does in terms of passing.

I think he's changing the game around here. I think he's changing the game around North Carolina. He's definitely bringing back old NC State ties with Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers with what he's been doing on the field. It's been so awesome to even be able to experience that, and let alone have a quarterback of his caliber, just able to get the ball out to us. It's special. He's a special dude.

Yesterday, you found out that he wasn't one of 20 quarterbacks for the O'Brien award. I'm sure as a team, you guys heard that, and how did you react to that, and maybe how was he at practice yesterday knowing that he wasn't one of those 20 quarterbacks when he should have been?
I saw the news on Twitter and I don't really think that... I don't know how much Devin knew about it or anything like that, but that's something... nothing like that's going to phase Devin. Devin's not phased by anything. He's more confident in his play, and he lets his play do the talking.

I saw the list and I thought it just kind of shocked me. I thought it was ridiculous that he wasn't on the list, but at the end of the day, he's our quarterback and we know what he can do and he's going to shock the country. That's all we know.

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