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NC State’s Dave Doeren’s Week 7 ACC Media Teleconference Transcript



Today NC State head coach Dave Doeren answered questions on the weekly ACC Media Teleconference heading into the Wolfpack’s Week 7 bye week, with Clemson looming in Week 8. Here’s the transcript:

DAVE DOEREN: I’m proud of our football team, had a great win this past weekend over a very good Boston College team, and playing a team at the time that had led the ACC in plays in the backfield and tackles for loss and sacks, and gave up no sacks. I thought that disruptive part of the game we won. Defensively playing more in their backfield than they did in ours, and it’s easier said than done against a physical team. I thought our run game was very efficient, and I thought other than two mistakes Ryan made, I thought he bounced back well and played a heck of a game. Our receivers, Jakobi Meyers, having him full strength again, and having Kelvin had another very productive day, and the running backs, Reggie had his first 100- yard game, which was great for him, and Ricky gave us another support with some explosive runs, and I thought defensively we really responded well to some tough situations from a field position standpoint. We turned the football over too much, didn’t play well enough on our special teams units, and obviously need to coach those units better, and I own that with a punt block that we gave up at the end of the game that shouldn’t have happened. But a great win and fun to see our team just continue to battle and never flinch in a football game. Probably couldn’t have played any better than we did in the first half, and now get a needed week to rest and recover and kind of reset as we get ready to play a really good football team in Clemson. Questions?

Q. I’m actually writing an article about transfers at the quarterback position, and obviously Ryan has been with you guys, but he was a transfer, and I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on the advantages that the transfers can bring, especially at the quarterback position.

DAVE DOEREN: Well, you know, I think it starts with what you’re trying to get on your roster. We’ve had success here with Jacoby Brissett before Ryan, and now Ryan, and when you have a hole in your roster that’s created either through injury or attrition or a position change, which is what we had with Jakobi Meyers and Dylan Parham changing positions, getting an older player to compete fills in a hole in your roster, and for us at that time, we had a major hole in our roster. We had Jalen McClendon, who we really liked, and nobody with really any experience to compete with him. So Ryan came in to give us that second older player, and then the competition started from there. With Jacoby Brissett it was different. We didn’t have anybody here at the time that we felt like we could win games with, so he was the oldest quarterback and the most talented quarterback, and it’s different than taking a junior college guy. It’s a guy that was a qualifier in high school. It’s a guy that sometimes is a graduate from a college, and they’re just very mature and have been through some adversity, so they come in with some thick skin ready to compete.

Q. Driving to the game I was covering Saturday, I was listening to yours on radio, and it seemed every 30 seconds they mentioned Germaine’s name. Was that the way it looked on tape to you, as well?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, he had a great game. He really did. He was very productive. He prepared well. He was ready for what plays were coming at him. He adjusted well to some new plays, and he made good calls. The tough thing about BC is they’re lining up in a lot of unique formations, and they’re doing it at mach speed, so the linebackers have a lot going on in that game mentally. So I was really proud of him, not just for how he played but how he ran the show out there and got people lined up.

Q. And then just overall defensively, I think maybe conventional wisdom might have suggested that when you lose, what was it, eight starters off last season that you might level out defensively, but you’ve taken this big leap forward. Did you anticipate this much of an upgrade defensively just given what you lost last season?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah. Well, I mean, it says a lot about these kids and Coach Huxtable and that defensive staff. There’s been several guys, Germaine is one of them, that have been waiting their turn. James Smith-Williams, you know, Eurndraus Bryant, these guys have been waiting to be the guy, and they’re taking advantage of their opportunity, and that says a lot about them, one, that they didn’t transfer when they weren’t the No. 1 guy, they kept working and grinding and being a great teammate, and now that it’s theirs, they’re seizing the moment, and we weren’t replacing seniors with freshmen, so we developed the players, we recruited good players, and they’re kids of high character that when they have adversity they continued to battle. It’s what you want in your program. When you lose your veteran guys, you want the next line of veterans waiting their turn that have game reps, and we had that at a lot of the positions.

Q. What are some of the points of emphasis during the bye week that you guys are going to be really focusing in on with Clemson next?

DAVE DOEREN: The first thing we do Monday as a staff is go through every game, and we create lockers on all of our players that have significant reps and their positive plays and their negative plays, and then we bring them in Monday night and show them to them. Together with the player, talk about where they are and what they’re doing well, what we want them to continue to do well, and then where their areas of focus need to be in practice over this current week that we’re in, so as we get ready for Clemson, we’re taking some of our weaknesses and removing them from the field. It’s kind of a part-to-whole approach where if each player does that, as a team you’re collectively a lot better. We do that offense, defense and special teams, and so for today’s practice and tomorrow’s practice we’ll get a jump on Clemson with some of their stuff, but a lot of it is just about individual improvement across the board.

Q. I remember before the season Ryan talking a lot about sort of embracing this sixth year and trying to kind of mature and embrace the entire spectrum of what it means to be the leader of this — not just the offense but the whole team. I’m curious from your perspective having been around him for three years now, do you feel like he has sort of taken that next step just both on the field and off the field in terms of how he’s sort of handled this season so far?

DAVE DOEREN: Absolutely. The thing that you love about him and Germaine Pratt, who I think are two vocal guys, they don’t flinch. I mean, they make mistakes, they learn from them, the next play is the most important play, and those are things that when your best players do that, it helps the rest of the team immensely because they can see, hey, this guy made a mistake, like Ryan threw a pick and the next series he’s out there playing and playing well and still throwing the type of balls we need him to throw and not being gun shy. I think he’s very resilient. He’s very focused, and he cares a lot about the guys around him and he’s encouraging but also demanding, and he’s doing a great job with the role that he has. (ACC)

NC State Football

VIDEO: Dave Doeren Talks Before NC State’s Showdown with Clemson



NC State head coach Dave Doeren spoke to the media today before the Wolfpack’s showdown against Clemson this Saturday down in Death Valley. The video is ABOVE and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW .

  • Going to have to play the best we can against their front-4. They are NFL players. It’s not just blocking really good players. They do a lot of different stuff. Got our hands full, but we are excited.
  • We will play uptempo. Give them different things to look at. Move the ball around. We’ve got to take advantage of tight coverage and get behind them. We have to run our offense and execute and give Ryan (Finley) a chance to do.
  • LG Terronne Prescod and C Garrett Bradbury deserve credit for buying in. You can develop only if you want to develop. They deserve all the credit they get. They’re playing hard. I told them it would be better to win the award, instead of a midyear deal
  • Clemson has good defensive backs. They play tight coverage. They’re going to compete for balls. Our guys have to win those competitions. If they can’t catch it, they need to break it up. There are going to be 50/50 balls in the game. We’re going to give our guys chances. He’s going to put it in some tight spots, and we need to win those balls.
  • Clemson leads the nation in explosive plays. Our overlap players have to be where they are supposed to be. Have to have proper pursuit. We are going to miss some tackles, that’s inevitable, but need to hit them with the proper leverage so the other guys can get it down on the ground.
  • RB Travis Etienne is the one that stirs the pot for their offense. Playing with a lot of confidence. More snaps. Scores every 8 touches. Really dynamic player.

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NC State Football

NC State’s Dave Doeren’s Week 8 ACC Media Teleconference Transcript



Today NC State head coach Dave Doeren answered questions on the weekly ACC Media Teleconference before the Wolfpack’s matchup against Clemson this Saturday. Here’s the transcript:

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by NC State head coach Dave Doeren. Coach, please make an opening statement and then we’ll open it up for questions.

DAVE DOEREN: Excited for the opportunity this week, play Clemson on their homecoming at their place. Two really good teams, undefeated. Great rivalry team between Atlantic Division foes. Excited for that. In the bye week, sure for them as well, has been very productive, not just from a scouting standpoint, but to get a little bit of a head start on a great opponent, also be able to heal up a few guys that were banged up, put us in a better position. Excited for the opportunity down there and looking forward to it.

Q. Could you share a few specifics about why you’ve matched up so well against Clemson the past few seasons? Some great games. How much is your run D going to need to be special in this one?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, I mean, both games have come down to one possession, single plays in the game that swing it one way or the other. Our kids have played hard. Two years ago we forced a bunch of turnovers against them defensively, weren’t able to capitalize, which really ended up losing the game. I think we had five takeaways in that game and didn’t get enough points out of them. Last year is more of a shootout, a lot more points scored in that game. I just think we’ve been able to execute, not enough to win, but to make it a game. That’s kind of where we’re at now. Obviously want to be able to put them away if we’re in that position. Try to make it a four-quarter game, make the key plays at the key moments. You have two teams that are battling, I know that. It means a lot to both programs.

Q. Your run D is going to have to be a real key in this game?

DAVE DOEREN: Absolutely. I mean, everybody playing in this league, you have to stop the run. What makes them challenging is their tailback is the fastest guy on the field. When No. 9 is in the game, he is super explosive. Each week you’ve got a different challenge in this conference. When you play Clemson, it’s always the explosive plays you’re concerned about from a defensive standpoint. He just adds a different dimension to their run game.

Q. I’m asking coaches this week with Nick Bosa withdrawing from Ohio State, preparing for the NFL, do you sense that’s going to be a trend in college football, for guys that project that high, do you think it’s going to be one or two guys that might do that going forward?

DAVE DOEREN: I couldn’t tell you. I mean, I’m not able to read the future, buddy. I’m worried about this game and our team, not Nick Bosa.

Q. Have you ever had that discussion with players that have been injured, obviously have NFL futures, whether they would try to come back and play for you or shut it down and prepare for the NFL?

DAVE DOEREN: We dealt with it last year. We had a couple seniors that didn’t play in our bowl game. Bradley didn’t play, was healthy. I feel like that was a good decision for him. Tony Adams didn’t play and wasn’t healthy. Didn’t think it was worth the risk for him. He wanted to play. He just couldn’t get back in time for it. I’ve had those discussions with them. The thing I loved about our guys is they were both on the sidelines cheering on their teammates, being a part of the preparation, helping those guys finish out their senior years. To me that was special, still having that leadership from them.

Q. You mentioned how one play, one possession can make a difference. Your kids that have been through these last two games, is that something you emphasized it or something they already know?

DAVE DOEREN: No, we’ve emphasized it. I have said ‘every rep matters’ to these guys for the past two years. I’ve probably said that as much as I’ve said anything. You don’t know what the play is that can cost you or win you a game. You have to approach it that way. People all talk about the last play of the game because that was the one they remember. There was plenty of opportunities in both of those games where we could have won and didn’t. Dropped the pass, had a pass interference on a critical third down, had a field goal blocked before we missed the one that was a chip shot. Every rep matters is a big deal in a big game. I think you look across our game last year with them, the punt return they had for a touchdown is really what gave them the lead. That wasn’t the last play. The guys just have to strain that way and understand the importance of every rep that they get.

Q. In light of all the personnel you lost on the defensive side of the ball, what have you been pleased most with in terms of your defense?

DAVE DOEREN: Really just the way that they go about their work. I think you have a bunch of guys that play for each other, play hard. They’re getting better. They know that they have things to work on and they work on them. It’s just week-to-week. I think they’ve rose to the challenge depending on what the offense was we were facing. Played a great receiver at Marshall, shut him out. Played really, really well on the road up there against them. That guy had 240 yards on us the year before. To be able to play Virginia the way we did, I don’t think that team gets enough respect. I think that’s a really good football team. I think what they do offensively is really, really challenging. Our guys took a quarterback out that was basically on the highlight reel of every ESPN SportsCenter for a week hurtling over people. He had 20 yards against us. Then Boston College, I thought we might have played as good of football as we’ve played since I’ve been here in that first half with their difficult offense, holding them to three points. They’ve rose to the challenge. Obviously this week presents another one and the most difficult one of all of them because of their personnel.

Q. You and Brent Venables are Kansas guys, coached in the Big 12. He told us he gave you an endorsement at Kansas. Describe how your relationship has evolved over the years, what makes him such a good coach?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, Brent is a great coach. I’ve known him since I was a GA at Drake, when he was a GA at Kansas State. I have great respect for him as a person, as a football coach. We used to recruit the same area in Dallas, talk football, talk linebacker play. Obviously compete against each other. But he did, he helped me get an interview with Kansas when he was at Oklahoma with Coach Mangino. Obviously I got the job because he got me the interview. I definitely owe him for that. But I think a lot of him. What makes him a great defensive coordinator, I think he’s a very detailed guy, I think he’s a passionate guy, very knowledgeable guy that understands how to relate and connect to people, but also how to push them, get a lot out of them. I know his players play hard for him and he competes his ass off in practice every day as a coach. I know that about him. I have great respect for him. He deserves every dollar he gets down there, he does a great job for them.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you

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NC State Places 6 on PFF’s Midseason All-ACC Team



ProFootballFocus released their 2018 Midseason All-ACC Football Team yesterday, and 6 NC State players were honored, which was the most of any team in the conference.


Ryan Finley, NC State

2018 Season Grade92.5

The ACC’s top-graded passer is also the top-graded player overall as Finley has pushed NC State to a 5-0 start. He hasn’t let pressure affect him much, fielding the ACC’s top passer rating under duress at 99.2.


Kelvin Harmon, NC State

2018 Season Grade82.6

One half of the NC State receiving duo represented here, Harmon has brought down 33 receptions this season as 26 of them have either moved the chains for a first down or been a touchdown.


Jakobi Meyers, NC State

2018 Season Grade80.2

Meyers joins his teammate here on the back of four missed tackles after the catch and another 17 first downs on his 30 receptions.


Terronne Prescod, NC State

Week 7 overall grade: 89.5

Prescod may be the ACC’s best offensive lineman this season and also may be the most well-rounded. He holds the conference-best 90.6 run-blocking grade and the second-best pass-blocking grade (90.5) among any position.


Garrett Bradbury, NC State

Week 7 overall grade: 86.0

The NC State offensive line is making their claim for best in the nation and Bradbury is certainly part of that. The highest-graded center by a mile in the ACC, Bradbury also was named to our Midseason All-American Team earlier this week.


Germaine Pratt, NC State

Week 7 overall grade: 86.6

The lifeblood of the NC State defense, Pratt has been strong in all facets of play at linebacker. He has recorded 11 pressures on 31 blitzes, 19 total defensive stops and has not allowed a touchdown in coverage.


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Dave Doeren Looking for his 1st Signature Win at NC State



This Saturday head coach Dave Doeren is looking for his first signature win at NC State.

I want to be clear. I’m impressed by what Doeren has done at NC State, and I’m here for the program he is building, and the word “program” isn’t a term that could legitimately be associated with Wolfpack football for quite some time now.

With that being said, he has yet to beat a team that finished the season ranked in the Top-25. The News & Observer’s Joe Giglio did some research, and he is 0-14 against opponents that finished ranked in the final polls.

According to my calculations, it’s actually 0-15.

#9 Notre Dame (finished 11th) – 14-35
#6 Clemson (finished 4th) – 31-38

#3 Clemson (finished #1) – 17-24
#7 Louisville (finished #21) – 13-54
#19 Florida St. (finished #8) – 20-24

#3 Clemson (finished #2) – 41-56
#19 Florida State (finished #14) – 17-34
#11 UNC (finished #15) – 34-45

#1 Florida State (finished #5) – 41-56
NR Clemson (finished #15) – 0-41
NR Louisville (finished #24) – 18-30
NR Georgia Tech (finished #8) – 23-56

#3 Clemson (finished #8) – 14-26
#3 Florida State (finished #1) – 17-49
NR Duke (finished #23) – 20-38

That’s not to say that NC State hasn’t had ‘big’ wins under Dave Doeren. The Wolfpack have won 6 games since 2013 as underdogs. The two victories over Florida State and Louisville last year, who were both ranked, are the two biggest wins of the Dave Doeren era in my opinion.

Syracuse – 3 point favorite – 24-17
UNC – 6.5 point favorite – 35-7
UCF – 2 point favorite 34-27

UNC – 9.5 point favorite – 28-21

#12 FSU – 11.5 point favorite – 27-21
#17 Louisville  – 3 point favorite – 39-25

A good sign of the consistency of play under Doeren, is the fact that the Wolfpack has won 83.3% (25 of 30) of the games in which they have been favored since the beginning of the 2014 season.

Last season NC State finished the season ranked 23rd in the AP Poll, and even if they lose to Clemson on Saturday, I project that the will finish ranked for the second straight season. The Wolfpack will likely be favored in every game after Clemson, and they have shown the ability to take care of business under Doeren as the favorite.

If NC State finishes the 2018 season ranked in the Top-25, it would be the first time the Wolfpack has done so since 1991-92.

Things are moving in the right direction. Period.

With that being said, if NC State wants to get over the hump, and finish seasons ranked 1-15, instead of 16-25, they have to find a way to pick up some signature wins over opponents that have staying power in the rankings…like Clemson.

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