GREENSBORO, N.C. - NC State senior wide receiver Owen Spencer doesn't think there is anyone who can chase him down in the ACC. The vertical speedster talked about the return of quarterback Russell Wilson, the rivalry with North Carolina and where the Wolfpack passing attack stacks up in the league Sunday at the ACC Football Kickoff.
What was your 40 time this spring?
Is that your best?
No, I've run faster than that, but that's just the time that they clocked me at. It's still fast, I still think I'm the fastest in the conference.
Do you have that swagger on the field when you're at receiver? Do you have to think that nobody can stop you on the field?
Oh yeah, that's always going to be there. Like I mentioned, you have to believe in your strength and speed. I have good confidence in myself, too. You have to go out there and not be intimidated, it's just football. You have to do your job and the guy that is covering you has to do his job. I got to stay confident when it's me and my talents against a DB or any other opposing player.
How much bigger and stronger have you gotten in the past two years?
I feel so strong now. It's just crazy. I'm a lean guy, I'm not the biggest receiver, but I have to work with what I have. I've gained at least 35 pounds since I've been in college. I came in as a small guy. I weighed 165, but I'm getting stronger every day. Working out is important and the mental process of things, too.
Is it weird being a senior?
I'm ready, but it's bittersweet. You want to be the senior, knowing that you've been there four years, you were a captain and you've been through the past. Now, it may be my last year, so that's always a good feeling. I'm ready, I'm stepping up to the challenge and I've been looking forward to this for a long time.
How early does the banter start between the NC State and UNC fans?
That's a rivalry that I think is one of the best, if not the best, in the country right now because of all the outcomes of the games. That rivalry is going to always be there. We hate going into our mall or in Raleigh when we see Carolina Blue shirts and fans, but that's all good competition. But we hang out with [Carolina] players in the offseason and things like that. We're all representing North Carolina. But, on game day, it's a whole different story. It's a great rivalry and I'm looking forward to it again this year.
The team has a few games on Thursday night. How are those games different than the regular Saturday ones?
I'd say it's different in the pregame because you know what is coming. You know that the camera is going to be out there as soon as the ball is snapped, but after kickoff, it's just a regular game. Obviously, the hype going into the game is exciting. It's something to look forward to, but you treat it like a regular Saturday game. It's something to look forward to and you feel different because you know the whole world is watching. It's something to look forward to.
Can you talk about having Nate Irving back?
Nate is awesome, I'm glad to have him back. He's a huge morale boost for our team and for our defense, most of all. He brings a different level of comfort to the defense. Having him back is tremendous. He had a phenomenal spring. He made a lot of plays. To be honest with you, I don't think he lost a step, I think he really got faster. With his instincts, instincts make you look faster than you are, and he has the whole package. I'm excited for him to step out on the field, wearing the Red and White again. It's a blessing that he's back, so I'm excited for him and for our defense.
Are you worried about Russell Wilson?
I'm a little worried, but that's not in my hands. He's got to do the best thing for him and his family. That's why we got Mike Glennon and been working all offseason. You don't want to not have chemistry with your quarterback. That's always important because someone may go down and get hurt. With Russell coming back, it's big. We're very excited to have him back and get to work.
Do you think the passing game will be the strength of the offense?
Oh, yes. That's been the strength of our team for a few years now. With our receiving core being at its best, it's something to look forward to. We've worked hard so much. We have a lot of young guys who are humble in this senior group. They want to make the plays, but they know it will come in due time. This is our last year, so they'll need to step up and carry on the tradition.
Can this be your best year?
Oh, yes. We have all the tools now. We have no excuses. We have a lot of seniors, we've played in all types of games. It's something to look forward to. We should light it up.