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NC State Football

Dave Doeren: "The Bye Week Came At A Good Time"

October 11, 2021

NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media to discuss the Wolfpack's bye week and preview the upcoming game against Boston College.

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

Opening Statements...
”It was great to be able to sit back and have some time to look back at that [Louisiana Tech] game.  The biggest thing is our guys have found ways to win differently in a lot of contests dating back to last year. I’m proud of the guys for that.”

“They are playing complimentary football.”

“Defensively we were dominating in the first half and really the only thing they did was when we had two penalties to extend drives. In the second half we didn’t do as good a job at times of finishing in coverage.”

“I thought our special teams were excellent all night.”

“We had to handle a lot of weird kickoffs. They were determined not to kick it to Bam in that game.”

“It was good to see Chris Dunn get back in rhythm.”

“We won the explosive play battle... offensively that was one of our goals and we had 15 plays that hit that category for us.”

“I thought Ricky’s run was the best football play I’ve seen him have since he's been here.”

“Negatives, we started slow and you’d like to see us score more points. We didn’t finish drives, sustain blocks... got on the right people and didn’t finish.  That obviously got corrected in the second half.”

“We did pressure the quarterback well. We need to do a better job of getting the quarterback to the ground.”

“On the designed runs, we stoned the run very well... I thought our d-line, outside of one play where we got out of our gap at nose guard, we had really good gap integrity. We missed some tackles late, we got fatigued, you could see that.”

“Jakeen’s interception on his birthday, it was pretty awesome to finish a game like that.”

"At corner I feel like we can play better. At times those guys played too loose... we had a really good week with that with our bye week.”

“Boston College is a 4-1 team that plays really hard.  They are a very good statistical defense.  They are fundamentally sound.”

“They are strainers, really strong guys up front. They have good length at defensive end. They have a good rotation.”

“Their linebackers are active.  No. 19 makes a ton of tackles for them."

“Their corners played well against Clemson. They were very aggressive. Their safeties do a nice job of disguising things... they've made a lot of plays. They have six interceptions as a defense.”

“A lot of one-high coverage, a lot different than what we just played against.”

“Offensively, good rotation at tailback... what makes them different is Zay Flowers. I have a lot of respect for Zay.  I recruited him out of high school, he's a kid we offered here on both sides of the football.  He’s a really talented guy.”

“We have to be diligent with our time here; be smart as players and coaches. We have to be at our best.”

“The bye week came at at good time. We played two physical, emotional games in a row... we were able to get off the field and get them some rest, and we had two really good days of work.”

The bye week... through the first five games, do you have a gauge of the identity of the team?
We want to get better. That's the biggest thing.  We’re a very close group of guys.  They play hard for each other. There is a lot of passion on this team, not just for playing football, but playing for your brothers.  You can see it. That's evident.  

We learned a lot in the Miss. State game. That game helped us, even though we lost.  It helped us identify some things that we can’t be.  The guys took that to heart, but we’re a team that’s physical, plays hard, not beating itself, and all those things put yourself in a position to win a lot of things.

That’s one thing I love about this group. The things we emphasize and see, they are really diligent about what we’re asking them to do. Each week it’s something new that comes out and we’ll go to work on those new things.  They aren’t listening to outside stuff. They are focused on how they can get better and know it’s a tough game coming up against a really good team.

When you look at your offense, were there areas that you can work on specifically?
There are tendencies you uncover when you study yourself like we did. The first thing is trying to erase some of that.  Certain personnel groups are run heavy or pass heavy... formations. You want to make sure you're not giving things to the defense.

Looking at our stances, everything, to make it as unpredictable as we can for the opposition. 

From a player standpoint, every guy was taxed the same thing: find one thing you want to see disappear from film. We don’t need a guy to fix 25 things. If 60 are playing and they all do one thing better, we’re a much better football team.

There’s not a singular thing offensively, but there are little things throughout the roster that can improve.

Do the road trips become more difficult with all the night games?
They do. They take a toll on your kids and coaches; you get home at 3, 4 or 5... it's a lot. I wish there was a little more ability to play a 3:30 game every now and then.  I’m not saying I’d like to play at noon.

This will be our sixth game and five were at 7:30, so it’s a little different.

Are there one or two players who benefited from the bye week?
I think our receivers and corners and safeties and nickels, the skill guys who run the most yardage, they were sore. Their legs, feet. They put a lot of yardage on their feet.  Typically on a hard work day of practice they run anywhere from four to six thousand yards.

That accumulation over time, it allows us to back down and get those guys some rest. Devin Carter, Emeka, Thayer... the running backs.  Defense, you have Isaiah Moore and Drake Thomas, guys who have played every snap on defense, it’s helpful.

When you have players in a rotation, I don't think they get the same wear and tear as maybe some who play the entire game.

There’s an emphasis on the now and one game at a time, but the ACC is wide open.  Do you have to talk to your players about not getting caught up in what might be available?
Nothing is ever a given.  They are 18-22-year old guys... as a society they walk around with a phone and see everything there like you guys do.

One of our goals is to be the best 1-0 team we can be so we’re really focused on the present. It does matter that four of five are on the road but what matters is we take this week for what it is.

I met with the captains yesterday to have a conversation and understanding of where the team is; how I can help them from a recovery standpoint the most.

Your impressions of Boston College’s offensive front...
They've embraced what they are up there. Coach Addazio did that, you're seeing coach Hafley do that. They have linemen for one, they are all old. They have one sophomore but the rest are graduates or fifth year players... 22-24-year old guys.

They are big. Their demeanor is they are going to run the football and play-action pass. They are physical and good at what they do.  They have big tight ends who are quasi linemen who go in there and do a nice job.

They have big backs. They aren’t as big in the backfield as they’ve been when they had Dillon and those guys, but they are still 200-pound backs.

When I was at Wisconsin we embraced what we were there, and BC has done it. They don't try to run the spread offense. They are going to get into a phone booth.  Tey are still going to try to run by you, don’t get me wrong. They have some play-actions with guys running down the field and do a good job with their misdirections and jets.

You have to be ready to play those types of things. As you know, I like that type of football too. Our guys embrace the challenge, and we look forward to playing a physical football team.

Is it a situation where they seldom surprise you but are efficient at what they do?
It's the first time playing against Jeff and his group so it's hard fo rme to say that. With the previous staff they were different every year based on what their quarterback was. They would always run power, counter, pin-pull with the different formations, but sometimes they had an athletic quarterback or a dropback quarterback.

The thing that impresses you with Jeff teams, it doesn't matter. The quarterback got hurt but the other guy came in and they are still putting up points.  That’s good coaching. They are making the offense fit their quarterback.  They aren’t turning the ball over or hurting their defense.

Do you give the younger guys additional attention during the bye?
There’s been some years where guys have done a lot of that, developmental practice, but this wasn’t one of them. We’ve been doing that every Friday.

This was more of a time, it’s not just the physical toll... it’s a long year and being with your family for a couple of days can help reset. It was great to have that option whether they took advantage of it or not.  I think that was good for them

Emeka Emezie and Chris Dunn are nearing program records. Can you talk about what they’ve meant to the program.
It’s a tribute to their work ethic and consistency.

I think for Emeka it's why he came back, to get better and leave a legacy behind.  He’s been chasing these guys in front of him for a while. Whether it happens this week or next week, those are meaningful things for him.

Chris has been Mr. Consistency for us in this program. You all know what we went through for years before him at times after Nik Sade, and Chris has been someone we can count on.

He had a tough day versus Clemson, but outside of that, his four years he’s been very, very, very consistent.

I'm really excited for them and any player who has had that type of career. It says a lot not just about their ability but dependability.

Thoughts on his reserve running backs’ usage on special teams.
Those kids have all bought in to helping each other win. They realize there are two really good backs in there and are probably the biggest fans on the team for what happens when Bam and Ricky get the ball.

They know right now their way to help us win is through special teams and staying ready in case something happens in the backfield.

They are guys people look up to on the team... they are leaders. Coach Roper has done a nice job of developing that identity in the room, whether it’s seen or unseen.

Coach Goebbel said Demarcus and Delbert have everyone’s respect. Did you see that from them early on?
Yes, definitely. They get along well. What’s funny about Delbert is if you watch his highlight tape he's blowing people up on kickoffs. That’s one of the things I liked about his film.

There are a lot of good running backs on tape, but when you find one who likes to break the wedge up all the time, that sticks out.

That’s one of the reasons we offered, not just ability to run the ball but what he’s doing without the football

Has BC's offense changed since Jurkovec went out?
Not much.  

There were maybe some design runs you’ll see.  They are still doing some zone read avoid where they will read the end.... you still see that but going back to last year it seemed like the starter had more rushing attempts.  

Some of that may be they want to protect the guy now that they are down one for the year, but the rest of the offense, I’ll say 95 percent, looks the same.

You guys haven’t recovered a fumble, which is interesting with a physical defense. Do you consider that a little unlucky? What would you attribute that to?
We’ve had a couple of balls out that haven't bounced to us.

Sometimes the fumble thing is about getting  a break with how the ball bounces.   I do think as we get more sacks you’ll see more fumbles. That's probably where the offense will have the worst ball security... the quarterback thinking about throwing it.  Getting more to the quarterback can help that stat.

Overall, we’re ahead of where we were a year ago in the takeaway category.  It’s trending... it’s about getting two or more a game. That’s our goal. We’re not there yet, but we’re better than we’ve been.

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