NC State Football

QUOTEBOOK: Dave Doeren's Weekly Press Conference

September 9, 2019

NC State head coach Dave Doeren discussed the upcoming matchup between the Wolfpack and West Virginia, along with various other topics, in his weekly press conference.

NOTE: Click the video above to watch the press conference.

Opening Statement...
I thought our guys were physical. I really like how they attacked the line of scrimmage and took care of areas we really emphasized.

They didn't cross the 50-yard line, and with the way the defense is playing, the amount of kids we're getting in the game, the passion they are playing with, the effort, that's fun to watch. It's fun to coach.

We responded... as the game went on and we settled down at quarterback, we got the run game going. That two-minute drive at the end of the half was really good by Matt. There were some good schemes the coaches put in to get that drive going.

I thought our special teams improved, besides the two kicks out of bounds... areas we wanted to get better at I felt like we did.

We now get to go on the road and play in a great stadium. We're excited to play West Virginia... a very storied program that we know a lot about, studying them a year ago and not getting to play them. We feel like we know their roster pretty well; obviously a new coaching staff, but having played Troy a couple of years ago, I have a lot of respect for Neal, his coaching staff, and what he was able to do at Troy.

Excited to take this young team on the road and see how our offense can handle the crowd noise which will be a big challenge for us.

Playing good defense, playing good special teams, and controlling the line of scrimmage can hopefully help in that environment.

With having to replace Ryan Finley, you expect transition. When you talked Saturday about the deep passing problems did you expect that?
We went through it with Jacoby in his first year, he struggled down the field accurately. Ryan will tell you his biggest improvements were down the field accuracy over the course of his career.

That's just part of it. Practice is different than games sometimes with how juiced up they are. The ball will go a little too far, you saw that with one of the plays to Thayer.

He's also thrown some good deep balls. He hit a wide open guy and sometimes a wide open guy is harder to hit than a covered guy and he hit Cary down the sideline.

He's done a really good job on some of his passes coming off our play-action game. That's one area I've been impressed with him.

Just the consistency of letting our guys be able to make a play, like he did with Devin Carter. I thought the throw to Devin Carter, that was a really good throw, a skinny post where Devin could use his big body.

Early in the game we threw a fade ball to Emeka and the ball was out of bounds, didn't even get a chance to make a play.

Just working on those types of things, it will come. The good thing is it hasn't been bad in practice. We just have to get it to carry over to the game.

Nick McCloud is off the depth chart. Anything to that?
He's just not ready yet. He'll be back, he's just not ready.

RB rotation... will there be a hot-hand approach?
It's evolving as we go. They all give us things and they are all good players. Some have strengths in different areas than others and certain plays they are better than others. We have to use those strengths.

I don't think there will be a hot-hand thing. There are certain things Jordan Houston does better than Ricky and Ricky does better than Bam. That's our job, to find ways to get them the football, keep them fresh, healthy, and let them play.

Those guys are playmakers. We have to keep feeding them the football.

WVU, do you see them in a similar phase to you in terms of turnover from a roster standpoint?
They've been a successful football team. The last three years they've been really, really good and lost a lot of talent to the NFL and lost their coaching staff.

It's a young roster, inexperienced roster, but a team used to winning, and we're very similar to that.

They are still trying to feel their way out. Having been in a first year as a head coach twice now, it takes some time as a coaching staff and locker room to figure things out; it doesn't mean they are a bad football team. They are not. They have good players. They are fast. Their DBs will hit you.

We expect a really, really good football team to show up against us.

Will you re-schedule the game from last year or is this a one-off?
It's a one-off right now.

No touchdowns allowed yet, is there an element you're looking at that you like?
I think we're playing fast. You see some things where a guy will be out of his gap or blocked and you'll see guys cover up for it quicker.

We have a few more answers in coverage where you won't sacrifice your ability to defend the run.

There is a lot more variety and a lot more opportunities to get people involved schematically because of what we're doing in the back-end.

We still haven't played the big, heavy-set offenses yet and those tests are coming with this game and what is down the road with conference play.

Do you have any reservations with this odd-front in terms of stopping the run? Was that the big question?
Anything you haven't done a lot in this profession, the first time you do it... you don't know the answers to it.

Math is a big part of defensive football. If you have one more than they do you'll stop the run if your guys are coached well. This box count is no different than the previous box count. There is just more people out there.

Hux is going to make sure every run they have we can fit up, be sound against. Executing it is a different thing.

This summer they spent a lot of time going through to make sure we'd be ready if we went through what we did [with injuries] in fall camp. I'm proud of them, staff-wise, of having a Plan A and a Plan B and being able to execute both.

So far it's been a good addition.

What is biggest challenge going on road for first time in a hostile environment?
It's easy as a quarterback when things don't go well and you can go to the bench with your fans behind you. It won't be like that.

I told him the other day they'll probably learn some new words they haven't heard, just smile with people yelling at you.

There's nothing more rewarding than going into another stadium and playing really, really well... the big thing is communication and making sure you don't have a lot of pre-snap penalties.

Cecil Powell playing both ways. Is this first time you've had a player do that? When did you feel like he could do that?
At Kansas we had Charles Gordon play both ways, John Randle played both ways, and Aquib Talib played both ways. I was very familiar with doing that. We didn't have to do that at Wisconsin... we didn't have that personnel issue.

We feel like he's another guy who can add things to the offense without having to totally flip him because he will be a really good defensive back. Now with Nick hurt on defense we're trying to get Cecil ready at corner, as well.

You saw him on the first punt run by their team and get down there five yards before everyone else. He can fly... he can really run. It gives us another guy who can stretch the field, and losing CJ we felt like he could help us there.

Rotating and building depth with the freshmen...
These guys will grow as their confidence grows... they have really good ability. The freshman class is not a group I'd call rep guys. They pick football up very fast. Most of them come from really good programs where they are well-coached. You're not starting from scratch in a lot of cases like you are in some cases.

Each time they are out there they get more confident and comfortable. If there are injuries where you have to plug them in as full-time players, they now have their feet wet.

After watching the tape, Jordan Houston nearly broke it for a touchdown twice...
Shoe-string tackled a couple of times, so something for him to get better at, and he has to get better at that, but he plays at a different speed..

It's like watching Nyheim sometimes when you see him... his acceleration is really, really impressive. He gets to top speed in a hurry.

Do you think there is added significance for Tony Gibson in playing this game?
I think you have to ask him that. I don't want to speak for Tony for that. All of us that have worked at other places and get to go back; we have different meaning, so I wouldn't want to speak for him.

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QUOTEBOOK: Dave Doeren's Weekly Press Conference

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