NC State Football

Dave Doeren: "These Kids Are Working Really Hard"

November 11, 2019

NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media to preview the upcoming game against Louisville.

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

Opening Statement...
I'd like to thank our fans and students for the atmosphere we had on Saturday... and I know right now it's tough as a fanbase as we're suffering through some difficult things. I also know we've built a heck of a program here and these kids are working really hard and the staff is working really hard. They will continue to do so.

For us it's an opportunity to be the best leaders we can be. I was raised by a great family and had a terrific grandfather who used to say, “Tough times never last, but tough people do,” and I think that's a great thing for this program now.

We have a great opportunity this week. I'm excited to get back on the grass with our guys. They were really good in our meetings yesterday.

It's about ending every drive with the football and handing the football to the referee after every play, whether we finish each drive with a punt, field goal, or extra point, that's what we need to do to win football games.

Defensively we have to get much better in our tackling fundamentals. The last two weeks that's not been where we need it to be. It's really just consistency with technique, which allows you to be consistent in your fundamental execution of plays.

As far as Louisville goes, I have a lot of respect for Scott, and he's doing a great job. They have good team speed. He inherited a team that had some really good skill players and those guys make plays for them. They have three receivers who average over 17 yards per catch and have a young tailback who is really dynamic. They play hard on both line of scrimmages. Their coaching staff does a great job.

It's going to be a great opportunity. For us it's about helping whoever is in the lineup to execute as well as they can. We have to practice really, really fast, and the hard thing for us is when you're taking guys from your scout team to the upper fields, your scout team doesn't give you the best look all the time. We'll have to do some good on good throughout the week to make sure we can simulate the speed we're going against.

Louisville has had some turnover issues early in their season and they've got that together. They've been relatively healthy as a football team.

I do think personnel-wise their quarterback is playing well, 62%... he's a very good athlete with only three interceptions and 10 touchdowns. I think Hawkins, Atwell, and Fitzpatrick are really good players. They do a good job with them on their play-action schemes, jet schemes, getting them the ball where they can make plays.

On defense they've struggled in some games and in other games they've been very productive. They are disruption-based; they bring pressure and give you a lot of looks, coverages.

When the season starts you probably map out what has to happen for you to be good. Without going through that list, has anything come to fruition?
We are punting and kicking the ball well. Those two things are happening on a consistent, weekly basis.

I was worried about our punter going into the season with A.J. being a four-year starter, and I think Trent Gill has done a great job on kickoffs and punts.

That's been consistent. I wasn't sure with all the change in our special teams how that would go, and we're covering kicks better than we have. Coach Goebbel has done a really good job with our coverage units, and that was one area I was concerned about because I didn't know what it would look like.

A lot of the rest of it has been, I don't know how many different starting lineups we've had, but I don't know how you can predict consistency when you are inconsistent with your lineups each week. That's the hardest thing.

Nobody sits in their office in preseason... you don't go through what we've been through and have those answers. You have to do the best you can with what the trainers tell you each week and get the guys ready.

Where are your linebackers right now?
Isaiah will be back this week. We're excited for him.

Drake is fine. C.J. Hart is fine. Sounds like Payton will be good. Still waiting to hear back on Louis. I haven't heard on his status.

Any rhyme or reason to the injuries?
I wish it was all one injury so I could say we're not doing something right, but it's not.

It's a foot here, a shoulder here, a knee here, a concussion here... we've had a lot of different things. It's one of those things we're going through right now.

Were most of them game injuries?
Tyrone Riley had has foot stepped on in an inside drill. We've had two or three practice injuries, but about 90 percent of them have been gameday, which is really weird.

A lot of times because they are playing so fast you don't have that. Most of the injuries in previous years have been training camp because you are going back-to-back and you don't have the recovery time.

How much of their run game looks like what you try to do with Dwayne being there?
The stretch or wide zone is the staple. It was at App, and it was here with Dwayne.

They are doing more QB run game because their quarterback is a good athlete. He can run and is their third-leading rusher.

There is more 12 personnel than we were able to do here with the bodies they have there, but 75 percent of that run game is stretch which is what we were with Dwayne. You see a lot of that.

Watching back Clemson, how well did the OL and backs pick up the blitzes?
Could be better. There were times we won and times we didn't win. Get in a game like that where we're down as fast as we were, and they were going to tee off and put you in a tough situation protection-wise.

There were a lot of different things being thrown at two true freshmen. I thought Dylan and Icky played really well for freshmen in that game. I was proud of them for how they competed, and there were times the backs won and times they didn't.

I think our quarterback did take some shots and showed some toughness, but obviously you would like to keep him up.

When did you find out about Xavier Lyas?
He came in and saw me on Sunday. I wish him luck. I'd rather talk about the guys that are here. Somebody put a great screenshot out that their girlfriend is in the portal. I thought that was pretty funny.

It's life. Some of these kids don't play as much as they want. That's how it goes. As far as our depth, we will be fine. We have enough defensive ends, so we'll be good.

How do you walk the fine line between trying to get the best out of these guys and being patient with them at the same time?
I don't think we're at a point where patience is what we're doing. We're trying everything we can to try and win the games we can with who we have.

I told them week three or week four that if you're a freshman playing in all games you're not a freshman anymore.

They are all football players who need to play better, and that's how we're approaching it.

We noticed the three guys?
I looked up to the sky on that one and was like, “Come on now.” I went by each pile to see and quickly two of them were, “I'm good.” Payton was the one we were concerned about because the other two guys gave me the thumbs up pretty fast.

Tough deal.

More on going out to the injured players...
I'm going out there to comfort the guy to see if he's okay and then second to get information for the coaches... is he done for the day or will he be back quick?

There's not a long list so we have to be ready.

Staying positive... is that your personality?
I believe in karma. If you're a negative person everyday you bring negativity in your life. If I'm negative in that building then that building will have a negative feel.

My job is to create an environment where people want to be great, and I have to be positive to make that happen. I also have to be truthful and tell them the facts. I think if you're a positive person with a positive outlook, try to find solutions rather than problems, better things will happen.

There's a lot of days where I'm picking people up because a lot of people don't see things like that. I think a lot of people want to see the negativity that's going on out there.

To me it's a problem you have to face one way or another, you can attack it or run from it, and I like to attack it with the right attitude.

Short turnaround from Louisville to Georgia Tech...
[Smiling] That wasn't very fair.

We'll get back... we'll be home Saturday night at 1? Then we'll leave on Wednesday to play a game.

It's something the league should look into for both teams, to never have to play a night game the Saturday prior, from a player safety standpoint that will be a wise discussion.

It will be very difficult to practice with pads that week, maybe one day, and our guys have a lot of academic obligations on Monday and Tuesday. You wake up on Sunday and it's already game week Wednesday. That's crazy... short turnaround.

I should let Justin come, my trainer, next week. You guys will have a lot more fun with him.

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Dave Doeren: "These Kids Are Working Really Hard"

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