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NC State Football

Dave Doeren: "We've got to play and coach better”

October 24, 2020
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NC State’s three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday, as did Dave Doeren’s personal winning streak in Chapel-Hill, as No. 23 NC State fell 48-21 at No. 14 UNC.

The Wolfpack’s issues in this one were myriad, but the two biggest ones were turnovers and stopping the run. Doeren spoke to the media via Zoom after the game; here’s a full breakdown of everything he had to say: 


Opening Statement

When you get into a game, turn the ball over four times and don’t stop the run, it’s going to be a tough day. Carolina’s backs ran hard. We did not tackle well. There’s a lot of things we’ve got to work on. 

I thought [Ben Finley] went in and sparked us there in the first half. I was happy to see that. Our plan was to play him on one series in the first half, and obviously we didn’t do much in the first two series. He came in and sparked us. We stayed with him, and then his inexperience showed up. I was proud of Bailey going back in and playing the way he did. I thought he did some really good things towards the end of the game, throwing the football. It wasn’t the plan. The plan was to have him start and finish the game and get Ben some game reps, because as you guys know, he’s one play away from being the quarterback. I thought he did some good things, did some bad things. He’ll learn a lot from the game today. 

Our team needs a bye week; I’m glad one’s coming. Give Carolina credit. I thought they played well. Obviously we’ve got to play better and coach better.

What was the biggest problem in stopping the run game today?

Missed tackles, more than anything. I think what happens in the course of a game is you’re fitting things well and then you don’t. As a coordinator, you start calling different things to stop it, and then sometimes you start trying to do someone else’s job. There were some plays in the first half where I just didn’t feel like we got off blocks. We had guys in the right spots and didn’t get off blocks. We definitely missed [Tanner Ingle]. We had to move Tyler Baker-Williams to free safety during the game because [Devan Boykin] was struggling with tackling. That showed up a lot. It doesn’t matter what you call it. If you have unblocked players at the ball and they miss the tackle, it’s not going to be a good defense. You’ve got to make tackles.

How disappointing is that considering how well you’ve defended the run the last three weeks?

It’s very disappointing. It’s been something that we put a lot of time into. We fitted the run well throughout the week in practice, but just didn’t get it done.

How important is Bailey Hockman getting some confidence late?

Very. Like I told Bailey at halftime, he didn’t do anything wrong in the first half. I thought he was playing well. He just came out, we planned on putting Ben in for a series and all of the sudden we run down the field and should have scored. The interception was a dropped touchdown pass that ended up being an interception. I told Bailey at halftime, you’ve done nothing wrong. You’re going to get another opportunity. He came in and played really well. I was proud of him.

How important will the bye week be for you guys?

It’s critical. We’ve got a lot of injured players right now. Hopefully we’ll get some of them back down this five-game stretch with four of five being at home. We need to get healthy. Playing six straight, it takes a toll on you, particularly with what we’re dealing with from a numbers standpoint. 

How proud are you of your team’s ability to keep fighting?

They’re not going to quit. That’s one thing about these guys. They’re not going to quit. It’s a great group of young men and they’re going to play hard. We just didn’t play good enough to win, didn’t give ourselves a chance with the turnovers. Like I told them in the locker room, if you don’t stop the run and you turn the football over, it’s a really hard day. That’s what happened today. It wasn’t the lack of effort, it just wasn’t the finish that we wanted on defense and offensively, we didn’t get enough points.

Is there an update on Ricky Person?

It’s a concussion. He was on the sideline during the second half. He’ll be in the concussion protocol. Everything else was OK on him, so it’s just a matter of how long that takes to clear. 

Is getting young guys involved a positive?

That’s really the only positive, is that we were able to play a lot of young guys and get them game reps. That helps them in the future, helps them build confidence. [Anthony Smith]’s very talent, [Chris Scott]’s very talented. So that’ll help them in the next game they get to play. Andrew Jayne’s a young tight end that can run. All those things are good. We need to get healthy. You’d rather play those guys when you’re up, not down.

 
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