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NC State Football

Dave Doeren On Miami: "It's Going To Be A Tough Game"

October 18, 2021

NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media to discuss the Wolfpack's win over Boston College and the upcoming matchup against Miami.

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

Opening Comments...
“I was proud of the team and the staff.”

“That was a good BC team, very physical team; a team that doesn’t beat itself... very well-coached.”

“I learned a few new curse words and I appreciate that. It was nice.”

“It was a tough first half and we hung in there. We got a chance to get into the locker room and really make some adjustments defensively.”

“Our sideline energy; it's a clicking and helping each other.”

“Different parts of the team sparked us at different times of the game.”

“In the second half in the third quarter we had an explosion in a positive way.”

“I thought Trenton Gill was really, really good in a windy stadium.”

“With the halftime adjustments I was really impressed.  Every game we make adjustments and every game we try to get our players to 

“Halftime is fast. Guys come in... coaches are running from the press box and you have two or three minutes to correct and adjust. Then you stretch them and you're back in the game.”

“It wasn’t that we made good adjustments, we try to do that every week.”

“We really emphasized making contest catches in this game.’

“Dylan Parham’s catch put him in an awkward position, he’s okay, he's fine.”

“The negatives, we dropped three balls that could have made things easier.  We had five penalties we need to get off the tape."

“Defensively we didn't play as well as we wanted in the first half but we stopped them enough, kept points off the board.  We were spectacular in the second half. We had an interception, safety, and two fourth-down stops. In the second half we gave up no points with negative yards rushing which is hard to do against anybody, particularly Boston College.”

“I thought we played really well, physical.”

“Devan Boykin played really well at strong safety and free safety.  We’re trying to get more of a rotation to spell our guys, and he really did a good job."

“We had penalties to extend drives three times.”

“I’m impressed with Keyon Lesane as a guy covering punts right now. He’s helped our team in an unselfish way.”

On Miami...
We've been studying them since we got back. Obviously the record isn't impressive at 2-4, but they are playing a lot better than I expected to see them on tape.

They are scoring a lot of points and very fast on perimeter. On offense they are still scoring 30 points a game without King and have a bunch of receivers a lot of people would love to have. They do a good job with their tempo.

We played them last year and played about as well as we could on defense.  That side of the ball remembers that game and has a bad taste in their mouth.

Their defense with Manny calling it is very aggressive. They are long, their safeties are gigantic. 6'5 safety, No. 0, and 6’2 in Bolden. The corners are long and active, and the linebackers run well to the football, there is a rotation up front.

We know it’s going to be a tough game, another road game.   

Chandler Zavala Injury Update...
I don't know if he’s out long-term or not yet. It’s day-to-day.  He wasn't ready to play this past week.

We're hopeful, but I can't give you a deal on him yet.

How important is that final drive before the half; you've got points on that last drive in all but one of your wins...
It’s big. You go into the locker room with momentum from the score.  Sometimes you're getting the ball back to start the third quarter.

It's big... it goes back to Devin Leary. He’s a very clutch player.   He's very calm in those scenarios and understands where to put the football.

In the redzone previously you seemed to lean on the run game more.  Right now you're ninth in the country in redzone touchdown passes. Was that something you wanted to tweak/work on?
I'd have to study that to give you an educated answer.  Offensively we have had more explosive plays which is some of that is from the pass game, you saw with Thayer and Devin on some of these long touchdown catches.

When you get into the tight redzone it is hard to throw the ball... that’s where the run game has to help you.

Without studying it, I'd have to say there are probably more explosive plays in the pass game that has helped us.

You will likely be favored in all or all but one of your remaining games. Is there is something you have to do to flip the mentality?
If we end up in that scenario then yes. Right now we're not favored so I don’t have to go there yet.

If we do, yes and the message will be clear.  What got is here is doing things this way.   We have to keep playing the same way. We understand from the past that if you do have a game you don't win, you're quickly thrown out.

We have to take it one week at a time and at the end of the year the body of work will have the respect it deserves. 

Hopefully we can keep playing it one week at a time.

After the road loss... what were some of the takeaways from that?
I think when you lose a game it will count as a loss, but if you can use it and really learn from it, it's not a loss for the season. We did that. 

In my opinion, we were a bunch of guys that played really good in the opener... a bunch of guys with a lot of hype, and they played great the first game and thought here we go again, and we didn't. They returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.  We didn’t respond well.

Offensively it showed it's head in a negative way.  “Hey throw me the ball, hey hand me the ball," instead of "Coach, what's the call?”  We learned a tough lesson that day and a good lesson to learn.

When things get selfish or things get fragmented because guys are in an emotional state instead of a focused state, you can have bad things as a football team.

Not that I ever want to lose a game, but I'm thankful we lost that game the way we did that early in the season because it has helped us.

Did the guys take pride in seeing they are in the top 25? How important is it?
It's nice for them to get credit. I don't ask them about that. My focus is keeping them in the place they've been. That's hungry.  You're climbing a mountain and we haven't got to the top of it.

How can we get better? I'm asking every player, what didn't you do well against Boston College and let's get a plan?

Do we take pride in trying to prove people wrong, we do.

How happy are you with the depth?
It’s helped.  We're in a place where the next man up on the roster has performed well. I thought Derrick Eason performed really well against a good Boston College front. You’ve seen it with Jaylon Scott stepping in for Payton, etc...

The depth has helped us and we don’t have a lot behind that. We can’t sustain a lot more in those position groups, when you get to third or fourth it gets hard.

The depth has helped and at some positions it's better than others.

Miami's defense... what have you seen differently this year?
It's very aggressive. There’ sa lot of blitzes and a lot of coverages.  A lot of sub packages. I don't know if that’s more personnel?  

They've been aggressive since he's been there. He didn’t call the defense last year but I have a hard time believing he turned his back on it too.  His thumbprint was probably still on it, he was just likely not making the game-day calls as he is now.

They have good personnel. They are big man. They have some really good looking kids.

You haven't had to rely on true freshmen this year... is it better for their development?
I'd say 95% of college athletes are better at 21 than at 18.  That's how you are. Even if you're really gifted physically you don't have the experiences.

We have some good freshmen now, we just have the luxury of some older players in front of them.  I love the redshirt rule where you can play them in four games and get them experience so they aren't so nervous.

Are there some guys who could be contributing this year?
Demie Sumo is playing his third game on special teams would be a guy at running back. Sean Brown on defense has really impressed us as a safety. Those two guys jump out. 

Julian Gray is playing right now. Those are the three freshmen that you'd probably see out there the most.

Had Jordan Poole not had a hamstring injury and missed basically all of training camp he probably could have helped us a little bit more. 

It’s a great year for these guys, not just football-wise but to get used to college. We didn't have regular college last year, it was all online.  Even our second-year players are learning what it's like to be an in-person student again.

Defending Zay Flowers... evaluate the performance on him.
When you play Boston College, if you can say at the end of the game they didn’t have 100 yards rushing and the top receiver had eight years, you'll feel pretty good. That’s what happened.

Can we repeat that performance? I don't know. It's a different challenge every week in this conference. Everyone's offense is difference.

Miami has different challenges. You have Rambo out there, Harley out there.  There are some good wide receivers on the field for them and last year they scorched us... different challenge this week.

I thought we did what the recipe was... try to stop the run and don't let Flowers beat you.  We were able to do that a week ago.

Some penalties... if a corner is in man coverage, you've had some 15-yarders where you didn't give up the explosive play. Is that something you've discussed with those guys?
You don't want to give up a touchdown but you don't want to coach them to PI all the time either.

On third down, we're hurting ourselves more than anything. We lead the nation in 3rd-down defense. If you look at the first downs against us, a lot of them are penalties... not people catching the football.

We have to clean that up and we’ll be better.

Closeness on the team...
It helps no matter where you're playing, to have chemistry.

It's real. A lot of teams talk about it and it's very genuine. They cheer for each other... you have a genuine care for each other.

Daniel Joseph’s impact...
Daniel strains really hard. When you put the tape on, he plays as hard as he can physically play. He's mastered that. That's a huge skillset, when you have a guy playing with maximum effort.

He led our team in sacks a year ago. I fel like with a three-man he will face more double-teams probably. He has to take advantage of his one-on-one's.

He and Savion, Davin Vann, Terrell Dawkins... Kante came in and gave us a great pass rush and sack at the end of that game as well.

Bowl eligibility... talked about it with your team?
No, no we haven't talked about that. I think our guys know that. We're really just trying to win this game and that's it.

One of our season goals was to stay 1-0 as a team.

National perspective on NC State right now...
I wish I could answer that. I don't understand all of it. Two years ago we were not a good football team. I didn't do a good job, and we went 4-8. 

Last year with COVID maybe people didn't watch what we did. We had a heck of a year last year, we won school record conference games and had a really good season. I thought with that people would think we’d have a really good chance to be a pretty good ballclub this year but it doesn't seem people respect us, for whatever reason.

I don't know. I'd think losing to Miss. State on the road, everyone knows how hard it is to play there.  It’s not a loss we wanted to have but a loss to kick you out the top 25 forever? I don’t think it should be.  That's a pretty good team who also beat Texas A&M.  Would we have liked to win that game? Absolutely.

We have a lot of games left. We have six more games. We have to play as good as we can in all those games. It’s been a crazy year in college football. Let's see where we end up.  I'm really not worried about where we're at right now. It will all take care of itself.

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