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NC State Football

Dave Doeren: "I'm Just Super Proud Of the Resiliency Of Our Team"

September 20, 2020

Following a 45-42 win over Wake Forest, the Wolfpack’s first over its in-state rival since 2016, to open the season, there’s a lot for NC State head coach Dave Doeren to be happy about. Between a solid game for quarterback Bailey Hockman, a dominant rushing attack that piled up 270 yards and four touchdowns on 49 carries and some key defensive stops late, there’s a lot to be proud of. 

There’s also a lot to fix, including a porous defense overall and a pick-six that let Wake Forest back into the game. But, all in all, the Pack is 1-0 and will have reason to celebrate this weekend. 

Doeren spoke to the media via Zoom following the big win; here’s a full breakdown of everything he had to say:

Opening Statement

I’m just super proud of the resiliency of our team. They just kept fighting. They had a lot of fun tonight. It’s been a long time coming to play. I thought they started fast in the opening quarter, started fast in the third and had to overcome some adversity. But I’m proud of them. I thought we were physical rushing the football the way that we did. It was a major point of emphasis with coach Beck, coach Garrison and the whole offense. Kids took pride in that, and I think that helps us tremendously attitude wise in the way that we want to do. 

Other than the one interception, which was a big play for them, we took care of the football. I’m disappointed in some of the penalties that we had. We’ve got to get that cleaned up. Credit goes to Wake. They’re a resilient group as well and they battled back. They played hard. They’ve got some good players on that football team. 

Individually, Ricky Person, I thought, really all our backs ran the football well but Ricky had two touchdowns and threw a touchdown. Bailey did some really good things in that game. On defense, there’s a lot of stuff we’ve got to get better. We gave up the edges of our defense way too much tonight, and it wasn’t by design. Guys were not functioning the way that we need them to. We need to get that fixed. But I am proud of the way they finished the game, back-to-back fourth-down stops. They were put in some tough situations, and the pass rush didn’t get tired, it only got better. The coverage didn’t get tired, it only got better. 

There’s a lot to work on, but we’ll take the win. It’s great to be 1-0, and we look forward to celebrating that tonight. 

What was the process where Bailey Hockman ended up starting instead of Devin Leary? It seemed like Bailey started well but then it got tougher for him?

When we hit our first week in camp, whenever the students came back, we had that eight-day break. Somewhere in the middle of that, Devin had to quarantine. He ended up being gone from here for almost 20 days. He came back as our starter but just was not there. He had some rust, and was really just kind of a victim of circumstance, to be honest. We tried to get him back for the game. He’s practicing, getting better, but 20 days, however many practices that was, just didn’t feel like he was sharp enough and we weren’t putting him in the best place to be out there as the starter. Hopefully we’ll get him back into where he needs to be, because he was having a good camp prior to that. I feel bad for him. 

Bailey took advantage of an opportunity, and I thought he played really well. So I’m happy for Bailey, and I know Devin will bounce back.

I saw Payton Wilson pulled him out of the game, do you have an update on him?

Payton plays so hard, and it’s not a serious thing at all. I think he was dehydrated. They tried to IV him at halftime and he was just lightheaded. He kept wanting to go back in, wanting to go back in and two plays later he’s out. So we just pulled him. The trainers just said he didn’t have enough juice left.

You guys rotated Ricky Person, Zonovan Knight and Jordan Houston at running back. How big was it to keep them fresh?

I think it causes problems for a defense, too. They have different styles when they run the football. So those backs are hitting holes in different ways, they have different vision, they see things a little bit different. Keeping them fresh is going to keep them healthy longer, too. Bailey ran the ball well, too. He had 42 yards rushing. It’s really good to be able to do that. It’s been awhile since we ran the football that effectively. 

Payton Wilson had a huge game, and what did you feel like you got from him tonight?

He plays his heart out. He had a touchdown-saving tackle on punt coverage, too. The kid just gives you everything he’s got. He loves the game; he loves his team. And we love him. He’s a great young man; he’s just going to keep getting better. Hopefully we’ll get him healthy here quick, but I’m really proud of the effort he gave tonight. 

How would you evaluate the offensive line’s performance?

Without seeing the front, it’s hard to say. That’s a good front that Wake has. They got in our backfield a few times and Bailey did some things with his feet to extend some plays. But overall, that’s one of the better defensive fronts we’ll probably play. As you guys know, there’s a lot of reps banked on that defensive line for Wake Forest. So the guys held and did a nice job. There  were some physical blocks, some really physical blocks by the guys. 


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