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NC State Football

Thoughts on NC State’s 52-13 Loss to Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl



NC State wasn’t expected to beat #19 Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. They were 7.5 point underdogs.

A one-score loss was the projection…a five-score loss was the outcome.

The Aggies beat the Wolfpack 52-13 in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on New Years Eve.

The 1st half was a good matchup. The Wolfpack actually led for half of the 2nd quarter, and entered halftime down 21-13…one score…which was the spread.

On the opening drive of the 2nd half, NC State drove down to the Aggie 25-yard line, with an opportunity to either tie the game, or at minimum, make it a 5-point game. Instead of reclaiming a little bit of momentum, Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley threw an interception that was returned 78 yards for a touchdown.

From that point on, ‘momentum’ wasn’t even a word on NC State’s radar. From that point on, an apt word for the Wolfpack’s performance was ‘surrender.’

Texas A&M shutout NC State 31-0 in the 2nd half, and finished the game scoring 45 unanswered points.

In sum, it was one of the worst offensive and defensive performances by NC State in a bowl game.

They were 0-13 on third down offensively, entering the game ranked 7th nationally in offensive third down conversion percentage (49.03%). It marked the only time all year that NC State failed to convert a single third-down.

The 15 first downs were close to a record low (fewest ever in a bowl is 13).

The 273 yards of total offense was the lowest total of the season.

Texas A&M’s 52 points are the most NC State has ever given up in a bowl.

The Aggies’ 541 yards of total offense was the second most that the Wolfpack defense allowed in 2018.

Texas A&M rushed for an audacious 401 yards against NC State, which is most given up by the Wolfpack in a bowl. Junior Running Back Trayveon Williams rushed for 236 yards (2nd most against NC State in a bowl) and 3 touchdowns (most rushing touchdowns against NC State in a bowl).

Wolfpack Quarterback Ryan Finley finished the night 19/32 for 139 yards and 1 touchdown (2 interceptions), which all added up to his second worst passing efficiency rating of the season (93.7), on the biggest stage of the season.

The MVP of the game was Freshman Place Kicker Chris Dunn, connecting on both of his field goal attempts (43 and 49 yards). The 49-yard field goal marked the longest of his collegiate career, surpassing a 44-yarder against UVA earlier this year.

Also, the Running Back tandem of Senior Reggie Gallaspy and Freshman Ricky Person were a small highlight. The two combined for 126 yards rushing, averaging 5.25 yards per carry (Gallaspy – 14 for 79/Person – 10 for 47).

In the end, Texas A&M outplayed NC State, and Jimbo Fisher out coached Dave Doeren, and Doeren admitted as much after the game.

To be honest, I didn’t have any expectations that the Wolfpack would win the Gator Bowl. They were without Junior Wide Receiver Kelvin Harmon and Redshirt Senior Linebacker Germaine Pratt, who had signed with agents to begin preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft. Both players were 1st Team All-ACC.

They were without their Offensive Coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, who took the head coaching job at Appalachian State, and Offensive Line Coach Dwayne Ledford, who took the Offensive Coordinator job at Louisville.

The experiment of George McDonald and Des Kitchings serving as Co-Offensive Coordinators looked like a middle school Bunson Burner chemistry project gone wrong. To be fair, I don’t think the offensive production in the Gator Bowl will necessarily be indicative of what the offense will look like under McDonald and Kitchings in 2019. They had less than a month to prepare for this new role, and they were without all of their personnel, against a dangerous SEC opponent in Texas A&M.

While I expected a loss, I didn’t expect humiliation.

All in all, it was one of the worst performances by NC State in recent memory.




NC State Football

VIDEO: Dave Doeren Talks at the End of 1st Week of Spring Practice



NC State has nearly wrapped up it’s first week of Spring Practice, and Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren met with the media after practice yesterday. The video is ABOVE (Via PackPride), and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • Some good, some bad.
  • It’s the second day in pads today. I thought yesterday or 2 days ago, we were a little sloppy. A lot of young guys were playing in pads for the first time. Too many guys on the ground. Today was much better.
  • There’s a fine line between how physical you want to play and playing against your teammates, so you also want to keep people up and prevent people from having ankle sprains in piles and things like that.
  • It’s a matter of 17 new players getting used to playing college football. But there’s some good things. There’s some new schemes, there’s a lot of learning going on, and today I thought there were fewer mental mistakes than there were the day before.
  • The new coaches have great energy. I think any time you’re new at a school, you’re trying to prove yourself and earn respect. You have to come out and be a good teacher. You have to be consistent. You have to have a voice. The players ultimately, no matter where you are, want to get better. These guys do a great job with that. They have good command with their position groups. They’ve put a lot of time into getting to know their players, and I know they’re just having fun working with these guys. We’ve got a good group of young men to work with.
  • Quarterback play is up and down. I think Matt (McKay) and Devin (Leary) are further along probably because they know more. Obviously, Bailey (Hockman) and Ty (Evans) are just getting here, so you’re going to expect to see more mistakes from them.
  • They all throw the ball well. They’re all coachable guys. They care a lot. But there’s a lot of time between the decision process, and it’s just a body of work that you need to put together over a long period of time.
  • We’ve had really good success bringing in grad transfers, and you don’t bring one in unless you have a serious need at that spot. Obviously losing Kelvin and Jakobi early, to be able to add an older player (Tabari Hines) to that room, I think, is very, very important.
  • He’s (Hines) a guy we know a lot about, having seen him on film, not just against us but against the league. He’s hungry to play. He had a tough year last year, so he’ll have a chip on his shoulder which fits our program. I’m looking forward to getting him here in May.
  • I didn’t know him (Hines) at all. You get to know him as a person and the type of worker he is. Anytime you get to talk to a senior, it’s a different conversation than when they’re younger just because the sand’s running out of the hourglass on him. He knows it’s an important year for him. He’s coming in here ready to help our football team and, by doing that, help himself.
  • Levi Jones has really adjusted. The first week was hard. Since then, he’s gained some weight, he can really run, he’s a special athlete, and I just like how coachable he is right now.
  • He (Jones) really wants to learn. I think him and Coach Huxtable have a good relationship. He coached his father, Coach Hux did. It goes a long way back. There’s a lot of respect in that family for each other.
  • We look forward to having him when we get him eligible. I don’t know yet (eligibility this year). I wouldn’t say a pipe dream because everyone is a specific case. We’ll just have to see.
  • I think Coach Huxtable’s done a good job identifying guys, and we’ve been able to sign really good players that we wanted, and they’re tough kids. They fit the demeanor of his room. They love ball, and I think that’s the one thing; if you’re going to play for him, you’ve got to be a guy that loves studying the game and is a true student of the game, not just what you say but what you do, your actions. It’s a good room of guys, really good room.
  • Thayer Thomas is an amazing young man. The way he manages his time between two sports and his academics. He does a great job in the classroom, the way he treats people, and the whole thing.
  • He’s pretty special when it comes to time management. Not a lot of people can pull off two sports and maintain the GPA that he does and play the way he plays. I know he’s helping the baseball team when asked to and has a role with them and obviously has a huge role with us.
  • I didn’t get to watch the NFL Combine.I was watching videos of the guys of their performances when they were posted. I’m very proud of them, but I’m not surprised. Those guys worked hard to get to where they were, and I knew they wouldn’t stop working. When they get another opportunity, they’re going to go full speed at it.
  • Garrett Bradbury’s sub-5.0 40-yard dash doesn’t surprise me. He’s a good athlete. He always has been. That’s one of his strengths as a football player. He’s always been agile, and to be able to put it out there like that, I think he helped himself a lot.
  • I’m really proud of Isaiah Moore. Him and Louis (Acceus) both work really well together. They’re competitive. They’re both really good players. Isaiah’s leadership has grown so much this offseason. I think last year, he was just trying to prove himself, and now he’s trying to help others and serve. He’s really taking that seriously in the offseason.

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NC State Football

Tyler Jones 2019 NFL Combine Rundown



NC State Offensive Tackle Tyler Jones was 1 of 6 Wolfpack players that participated in the 2019 NFL Combine this past weekend.

Bench Press – 23 Reps – 26th
Vertical Jump – 31.5 inches – 6th

Broad Jump – 111 inches – 10th
3 Cone Drill – 7.75 seconds – 23rd
20-Yard Shuttle – 4.82 seconds – 28th

The analysts on the NFL Network raved about how Jones did in the “mirror” drill. He is expected to be a mid-round pick.

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NC State Football

NC State’s Germaine Pratt Shines at 2019 NFL Combine



NC State Linebacker Germaine Pratt shined at the 2019 NFL Combine this weekend.

On Saturday, his 24 reps of 225 pounds on the Bench Press ranked 6th in the Linebacker group.

Yesterday, Pratt ran a 4.57 second 40-yard dash, ranking 7th.

His 32.5 inch Vertical Jump ranked 17th.

Pratt’s Broad Jump was 116 inches, ranking 20th.

Coverage drills:

SportsCenter Top-10 worthy play…

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NC State Football

VIDEO: Dave Doeren Talks After NC State’s 1st Day of Spring Practice



Spring practice officially started for NC State yesterday, and Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren spoke with the media afterwards. The video is ABOVE, and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • It felt great.
    • Our guys had really good bounce and were in good shape.
    • I thought they flew around.
  • It was good to see the spirit, not just of the team, but the staff.
    • There are obviously some new parts and those guys are excited to be here and you feel their energy on the field.
    • Now, it’s about being consistent and letting these guys get the reps that they need to grow and compete.
  • I’m not going to give you an answer on quarterbacks until probably Aug. 31. You can ask me that every week and get the same answer if you want.
    • I’m very confident with the competition we are about to have, and the guy that will come out of it. Whoever is behind him is probably a really good option. We have good talent.
    • Coach (Kurt) Roper is a really good coach.
    • It’s going to take time. I’m not going to rush it and I’m going to let them fail and see how they respond. I’m going to let them have success and see how they respond. I’ll let the competition play for a while and that is how we have done it here.
  • When you build a program, you recruit a certain kind of player that fits not just your schemes, but the character and the culture of your program. Then you have to develop those guys. You want retention to be a part of that. You have to coach them a certain way.
    • When you lose a good player and you have a guy who has been in the system 2-to-3 years, now it is his opportunity.
      • A great example is Emeka (Emezie). He has been here for 2 years and now he has taken over in Kelvin’s spot, and has made plays and made mistakes. He is ready to step in that role.
      • C.J. Riley is another one and Thayer Thomas is another one.
  • Ricky (Person) won’t practice a lot this spring.
    • He had to do some things postseason to get him healthy.
    • He’s doing good, but he won’t be in that position until after spring break, and then we’ll see.
    • He’ll be fully cleared for the summer.
  • At Running Back, it was the 1st day out there with Zonovan Knight, and we were excited about his athleticism, and what he brings to the table.
    • Once Damontay Rhem comes back from his foot injury, he’ll get back in the groove.
    • Then we’ll have two more freshmen coming in. There is a group of guys in there and it will take some time.
    • Trent Pennix was out there today and got a lot of reps. He looks good and is almost up to 230 lbs. Body type-wise, he is almost what we had with Reggie (Gallaspy), but a little bit taller.
  • Today was a really good day to get on the field to see what they know.
    • We’ve had this week really to install, which is what we did today and tomorrow.
    • It kind of gives you a feel for guys that are:
      • really ready to play
      • guys that are behind
      • how in shape they are compared to other guys
  • Coach Thunder just had 8 weeks with them and some of them, like Ty Evans, has gained 15 pounds.
  • I was walking out today with Joseph Boletepeli, one of our freshman defensive lineman last year that is going into year 2, and he was here early. I was standing behind him and was like, ‘You look completely different.’ He looks really, really good in his jersey (1 year with Thunder and crew)
  • Payton Wilson is chomping at the bit and wants to go so bad. He was able to do some and we’ll be able to graduate him into some things, but not try to put him into everything too early. I’m really happy for him and excited to see the progression.
  • In a way, I think it’s good timing for him. Coming into a group of guys that need to prove themselves and having a completely clean slate to do that. I think it is really good for that competition and you can’t replace experience. All of us in our profession, we go back to things that have happened to us, and those are our learning moments.
  • For him (QB Coach Roper), it goes way, way back to a lot of quarterback situations.
    • All those experiences and all those very good players he has been around
    • All those times with Coach Cutcliffe (Duke).
    • He’s the right guy for the job and I’m excited for him.
    • I’m looking forward to being there for him and those guys through this. It’s going to take time.
  • We call him (Jarius Morehead) ‘Old head’ now because he has been here so long.
    • Jarius is awesome. He is a great person first of all and cares so much about his teammates. How he carries himself, he’s a true role model.
    • We lean on him a lot, not just for football, but how he’s doing and the spirits of the team.


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