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NC State Football

WATCH: Doeren Discusses Pop-Tarts Bowl Bid

December 4, 2023


No. 18 NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media via Zoom to discuss the Wolfpack’s Pop-Tarts Bowl matchup on Dec. 28 versus No. 25 Kansas State.

NOTE: Click on the video in the player above to watch Doeren’s press conference.

Opening Statement

Super excited for NC State and the Wolfpack Nation to come down to Orlando. As an assistant coach at Wisconsin, I was a part of this game, and as an assistant coach at Kansas. It was a phenomenal experience for our athletes, our staff, our children, and so we are very thankful for the invite. Excited to play against a great school, a great institution like Kansas State and have tremendous respect for them, their coach, Coach [Chris] Klieman, and their president who actually came from NC State, Rich Linton, great program. And so I know our team, staff and fan base cannot wait to come down to Orlando and be part of the experience.

On the wait to find out what his team’s bowl fate would be...

Yeah, I was in a home visit during most of it so I was trying to recruit. It was a weird day in college football to say the least and so thankful we ended up where we did. I think it's a great place. Thankful to the Bowl Selection Committee for us and Michael Strickland, Jim Phillips and all the people involved. I think this was the right location for us to go. Since we've been in some of the other Bowls, I think this is, for our fans, to be able to travel to Orlando, an awesome destination for us, and this is what we were hoping for.

On his past experiences against Kansas State as a Kansas City native and a former Kansas assistant...

I grew up in Kansas City before Coach [Sean] Snyder was there, and it wasn't much of a program, and when I came back from my freshman year in college, Coach Snyder had taken it over and turned that program around and that was the beginning of what became an incredible turnaround in college football. Have so much respect for Kansas State for what Coach Snyder did, twice, and now Coach Klieman. Had a great rivalry there between us when I was at Kansas with Coach Mangino who also came from Kansas State, from that tree. And working under Bret Bielema, who was a part of that tree as well. I have nothing but great admiration and respect for the Kansas State Football program and university. Growing up there, I know a lot of people that are alumni to Kansas State. So, looking forward to playing them, and I know they will have a great turnout from their fans as well.

If there’s still joy on Selection Sunday despite December being busier now than in years past...

It can be. You know, I think it depends where you end, and for us, this is definitely a joyous Sunday. We had a recruiting weekend and had some great young men and their families here. And like I said, I went to a home visit and drove back to my house here to be around my family, and now find out we get to go to Orlando, Florida and be part of a great Bowl experience. It's been a great day, great weekend.

On his experience in this bowl game against NC State...

Philip Rivers' last college game. Was not good. He played really well. But that was a great Bowl experience to say the least. The Champs Bowl, as it was then, which then turned into the Camping World Bowl. We played the Capital One Bowl against Arkansas my first year at Wisconsin when they had McFadden and Felix Jones in the backfield. We won that game. And then we played Miami in the Champs Bowl and beat them and played really well that night. And so all three times I've been there, it's been a phenomenal experience for the families, for the players, and looking forward to another opportunity to play there.

Moderator: Champs Bowl, Camping World Bowl, Pop-Tarts, all the same family, all the same lineage, and this is the latest iteration of it. We are in the first year of the Pop-Tarts, and we look forward to having you. All the same family, all the same lineage and this is the latest iteration of it. We are in the first year of the Pop-Tarts Bowl, and look forward to having you.

On what the strong finish to the season says about the team...

Well, it says a lot about the perseverance and grit of this football team, the staff that came together in a tough time, went through, you know, some difficult things in the middle of the season and really, you know, galvanized our team and brought us closer together. We were able to rattle off five in a row to finish the season, which has only been done, I think one time in a hundred years at NC State. So very proud of the legacy this team has created for itself, and look forward to an opportunity to compete for a tenth win, which again is a monumental thing here at NC State so we're excited for this opportunity and to get to do it at such a great Bowl game against a great competitor is going to be an awesome opportunity.

On his favorite flavor of Pop-Tart...

I'm going to go with the brown sugar. Pretty strong.

Moderator: We will get you some ASAP.

My wife likes strawberry, just so you know.

Moderator: Duly noted.

On extracurricular activities during bowl week festivities in Orlando...

There's multiple theme parks, as you know and so you know, whether you're talking about Sea World or Disney World, Universal. I can't remember, is it Treasure Island, the other one? But it seemed like there was something every day the guys could go do, and coaches, you know, a lot of our coaches have children and their wives and kids can go be a part of that. So just a multitude of things. The roller coaster rides, the players were big on that but I didn't partake in that. The golf course at the hotel, the restaurants, you name it. There's just a ton to do. Each time I went there -- sometimes you go to a Bowl, it's the same as every time and each time we went there it was a little different, which I really liked.

On getting to celebrate this time of year with the team...

I told the guys that after our last win, I said we're going to go to a Bowl game, I'm not sure where it's going to be, and we're going to have more fun than any other team in the country. We're going to enjoy each other's company one more time, and really revel in the brotherhood and the family that we've created and enjoy that. Enjoy the process of getting ready to win a game and what it means to be somewhere together. A lot of teams don't get to go to a place like we are going to go to and enjoy that opportunity to go compete with each other one more time.

On the significance of getting this team to 10 wins...

Well, it's never happened at NC State. We've had an 11-win team, and then a bunch of nines, eights, sevens and so on but never a ten. In over 135 years of football, that would be a first time, and so any time you can break ground into something over a period that long, it's meaningful, to say the least. So this game means a lot to our football program. The guys are going to may really hard.

On taking a bite out of the bowl game’s edible mascot...

Man, I guess I would have to, wouldn't I? I'm not going to the guy that doesn't do that. I guess it's — as long as — what flavor is it going to be? Do we know?

Moderator: I don't think I'm at liberty to divulge that information yet, Coach.

Well, maybe I'm not at liberty to answer the question yet. How's that?

Moderator: That's fair.

Can I chase down the Pop-Tart with a nice bourbon or something like that afterwards? Is that part of the Pop-Tart experience or not?

Moderator: I think we can arrange that if you want. We can make it a whole tasting.

Okay. Then I think I'm in.

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