April 12, 2011

Anthony Talbert eager to show improvements

Tight end Anthony Talbert is getting ready to put the finishing touches on his second year on campus in Raleigh. After redshirting during his inaugural season in the Red and White, he saw the field in every game last fall, and he is ready to continue his ascension towards even more playing time.

"It was good experience as a redshirt freshman," he said. "I appeared a little bit on offense, but mostly on kickoff return and PATs. It was getting my feet wet, getting a little contact, seeing how other guys play and feeling how strong other guys were."

Now that he has experienced game action, Talbert is getting used to it. The 6-foot-4, 252-pounder admits that he felt nervous in front of a packed stadium at first but now it's nothing more than a few more sets of eyeballs watching.

"My first experience [going into a game], I was nervous with tens of thousands of fans watching, with their eyes on you," he said. "After a while, it just becomes like practice and it's just you and your teammates out there, just you and your family."

While the returning starters on offense this year have to adjust to working with Mike Glennon under center, Talbert is familiar with the redshirt junior signal caller from teaming up together in countless practices as the two worked their way up the depth chart.

"I love working with Mike, we've got good chemistry together," he said. "He knows how I run my routes, I know the kind of timing we need. Mike's got a pistol, the ball is coming out with a tight spiral, and it's coming hard and accurate."

The native of Cincinnati, Ohio has been working hard to prepare for the upcoming fall, trying to claim the back-up position to two-time All-ACC honoree George Bryan. He is competing with a loaded field at the position that includes junior Asa Watson and redshirt junior Mario Carter. What the group may lack in overall numbers, they can more than make up for with excellent size. The foursome averages more than 6-4 and 250 pounds.

Talbert, the youngest out of the quartet, is up a couple of pounds from the end of the season, when he was checking in between 248 and 250 pounds. The extra weight is thanks to some focused work in the weight room, which helped the youngster gain foot speed and hip explosion.

"[I focused on] getting off the ball, being fast in my routes, being explosive in my routes and being explosive in my blocks," he said. "We power clean and that helps gets your hips right and we have a great agility program that gets your foot work good, also.

"I expect to continue getting better personally, making myself a better player, getting more prepared and just being the best asset to the team as possible. If it's on special teams or on offense because George needs a sub, it's about being the best player I can be.

"I want to show the coaches that I'm ready to play and that I have a lot to offer the team."

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