Going back to Carter-Finley

Before he joined the Clemson staff earlier this year, Mike Reed spent six seasons at N.C. State as the defensive backs coach.

Reed's defensive backs played a critical role in helping N.C. State to four bowl games during his six-year stay under former head coach Tom O'Brien.

During Reed's final season with the Wolfpack, they tied for the ACC lead in interceptions with 16. Three times during his tenure N.C. State was ranked in the top 20 in the nation in interceptions. The 2011 team had 27, the most by any FBS school since 2003.

But all of that is in the past. Reed won't carry any sentimental feelings into Carter-Finley Stadium when Clemson heads there on Thursday night.

"When it does happen, you can't be anything but excited. It's another football game," Reed told CUTigers, during the Dabo Swinney media golf outing. "I get to see some of my old kids. I still talk to them. You don't harbor in bad thoughts.

"I had a great time. I had some great defensive backs, established a lot of good relationships."

Two of Reed's top players during his time at N.C. State are now rookies in the NFL.

Cornerback David Amerson, who recorded 18 interceptions during his three-year college career, is now a starter for the Washington Redskins. Former All-ACC first-team safety Earl Wolff is now with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Juston Burris and Jarvis Byrd are two of the top holdovers from Reed's time at N.C. State.

When asked if it would be a challenge to matchup with guys like Burris, Byrd and others he helped recruit to N.C. State, Reed paused before answering.

"Nah," he said. "Nah, you know, because they're eventually going to go somewhere else and play for somebody anyway, if they're good enough."

Now in his second decade as a coach, Reed understands that players come and go, so do jobs. That comes with the territory. Before joining the Clemson staff, he's made stops at Richmond, the Philadelphia Eagles and N.C. State.

Change happens. Reed knows that.

"That's the nature of the business," he said. "Just make sure it doesn't happen a lot of times."

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