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Dave Doeren’s Weekly Press Conference Before VT: BULLETED



NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media yesterday for his weekly press conference before they face Virginia Tech on Saturday night. You can watch it here, or check out the BULLETED breakdown below.

  • A lot of ups and downs on both sides.
    • Proud of how well our team handled that.
    • Kept responding in tough situations.
  • Obviously, we scored 45 points.
    • As an offense, we were very physical.
  • Started fast in both openers, the 1st quarter and 3rd quarter, which was a goal of ours.
    • It was an area we were not good in a year ago and have really worked hard on that area.
  • The Offensive Line…7 players played & played well.
  • Anytime you average 5.5 yards per rush as an offense it says a lot.
  • Bailey Hockman handled the situation well.
    • Completing 70 percent of his passes.
    • Getting off to a good start.
    • Throwing a lot of catchable balls.
    • Took some shots in the pocket.
    • Showed toughness
    • Rushed the football well for us.
  • Ricky Person obviously had a standout game.
    • All 3 backs played well, but to rush for 100 yards, score twice with the ball and throw a touchdown is a great day for him.
  • Only gave up 1 sack.
    • Bailey did a good job managing a couple pressures.
    • Chemistry with O-Line will continue to get better.
    • 1st time Ikem Ekwonu has played a full game at guard.
  • Need to continue to get the ball to our playmakers.
  • Only had 1 penalty offensively.
  • Obviously you’d love to take the 1 interception back.
  • You’d love to close the game out on offense, not giving the ball back to them.
  • 2 different halves for our defense.
    • In the 1st half, we could not get off the field on 3rd down.
      • We had several 3rd down situations we could have won and didn’t.
        • We just didn’t play the right coverage technique.
        • There were no breakdowns, it was more of the technique thing that we’ve got to clean up and did.
  • The Defensive Back’s did a nice job on the outside.
    • Our corners held up well on deep balls that were thrown at them. All four of those guys played and were tested. Like you’d expect in the first game, there were some missed tackles. Some of that is playing 90 snaps. There was some fatigue.
  • We do need to rotate more in games like that.
    • At Safety and Nickel we could have rotated and got a few more guys in.
    • Linebacking corps, we played several guys.
      • Drake Thomas, who was our Defensive Player of the Game, was very consistent, very productive.
      • Payton Wilson made a bunch of plays and has some things to clean up as well, but played with tremendous effort.
      • Great to see Levi Jones have success. He rotated on our first-down, second-down package and then made an impact as a pass rusher on third down. Daniel Joseph and Alim [McNeill] both had standout games on our front.
      • Good to see Jaylon Scott and Calvin Hart get in and make some plays defensively as well.
  • In the 2nd half we shored up our 3rd-down defense.
  • Two 4th-down stops in the 4th quarter to finish the game.
  • Forced 3 opportunities for takeaways and got one of them.
  • 6 sacks and 18 plays in the backfield is good.
  • Got to clean up the edges.
    • There were times with the slow-ride mesh that our guys tried to play too many responsibilities.
    • They were in their gap, then they jump into someone else’s and the ball would initially cut back to it.
    • There’s just some discipline things we’ve got to do that we’ll clean up.
  • Happy for Chris Dunn to break the school record for consecutive PATs, and made his only field goal attempt.
  • I think we were +12 overall when you look at field position on special teams.
  • Need to improve our tackling on our punt coverage.

Virginia Tech

  • Very experienced team.
    • 9 starters back on offense, 8 on defense and all 3 specialists return for them.
  • 27 straight bowl games.
  • Obviously with 2 of their former coaches here, we know their personnel.
    • Just don’t know who’s going to play with what they’ve been dealing with.
  • They’re a very physical, blue-collar, very proud football team.
  • They have a new defensive coordinator, so we’ll see what goes on if there’s changes to their scheme.
    • Obviously they ran a system under Bud Foster that was very successful for a long time and the new DC did play for him.
    • They load the box, they force you to throw the football because they’ve got numbers. They’re aggressive.
  • On offense, they’re balanced, lots of tempo, lots of formations, lots of motion, jet schemes and read schemes on your edges with counters and powers and quarterbacks that can run the football and throw.
  • It’s kind of like playing an opening game.
    • They don’t have film you can watch on anything they’re doing differently.
    • Even when you don’t have staff changes, you’re going to have things you change in the offseason and personnel that makes you different.
    • They have a transfer running back that we’ve heard a lot of great things about in Raheem Blackshear.
    • They’ve got a transfer quarterback from Oregon.
    • There’s going to be players on the field that we don’t know how they’re going to use them yet.

Hockman & Leary

  • We’re going  to need both of them.
    • We’re one injury or COVID test away from having a different player at every position.
    • We need our quarterbacks to be elite, whether it’s Devin or whether or it’s Bailey.
  • I’m proud of Bailey and what he did.
  • Devin did practice last week and he’ll practice this week and continue to get better.
  • Bailey will continue to be our starter until we see that Devin’s in a position to play.
    • It’s his team right now, and we’re going to continue to support them both and get them both ready to help us win.

Maple Syrup Bottles for Pancake Blocks

  • Started doing that maybe 2 years ago, so I guess we kept a good secret here for 2 years.
  • Something the O-line takes a lot of pride in.
  • They sign the bottles and put them up on a shelf.
  • A way to reward what we talk about here.
      • We talk about being tough.
      • So it’s a way to reward that.
  • Not a lot do linemen get love.
    • A way for us in our Sunday meetings after a win to give those guys that love and the whole team goes nuts about it.
    • We’re incorporating tight ends, backs, wideouts, whoever’s involved in those blocks gets that love from the staff and their teammates.
    • It’s just something we take pride in here is finishing blocks that way.

Charley Wiles

  • Charley’s reputation is well-known.
  • I didn’t know Charley very well.
    • Met him a couple times.
  • We’ve recruited against Charley my whole time here.
    • He’s recruited the Carolinas and done a really good job in the state.
  • So when the move was made to bring in a new Defensive Line coach, we wanted someone that not only was a fit here for our players, but fit what coach Gibson wanted, fit what I wanted in recruiting, fit the type of person that I wanted in the room.
  • Charley was one of several people that we interviewed.
    • He was just the right fit for the job, and timing was in our favor.
    • We were just fortunate to find a guy like that.
  • He’s doing great things with our young men.
    • He’s a cultivator of chemistry in the room. Those guys play hard for him.

Offensive Line

  • Good first game for them.
    • Played fast.
    • Communicated well.
  • Grant Gibson IDs a lot of things for us in the pass and run game, and he was spot-on most of the game.
  • Joe Sculthorpe played like you would expect Joe to play.
    • Very consistent, physical, plays with his hands, square.
  • It was good to see Justin Witt and Tyrone Riley out there together.
    • Something we were hoping to have last year and didn’t because of Tyrone’s injury.
  •  Ikem Ekwonu brings a lot of fire to that group.
    • Very physical.
    • Trying to knock people on the ground and that’s what he does.
    • Brings a lot of juice to that room.
    • He got 5 bottles of Maple Syrup.

Drake Thomas

  • Tough.
  • Great vision.
    • Linebackers have to be able to see things…their peripheral vision has to be really, really good.
    • You’ve got to be able to see three things at once and the flow keys that happen.
    • Drake just has that instinct and vision.
  • Good tackler.
  • Plays hard.
  • Does not get tired.
    • Great stamina. He’s trained himself well.
  • He may not be as tall or long as other players, but he outplays them because he’s fast, physical, strong and tough.
    • He can play all three spots in our defense, so he’s very versatile for us at Sam, Mike and Will.

Talking to Bailey Hockman in the Offseason

  • I knew coming out of the year that he was disappointed.
  • We sat down and talked about the things that he’s thinking and what he wants to do.
  • He made it very clear from the get that he wants to get better, and he wants to be here.
    • He was going to do everything he can to show us that he can play.
  • I just said to him “Do everything you can. Continue to get better, and when your opportunity comes, cash it in.”
  • You’ve got to give the kid credit. He’s been through transferring already, and I don’t think he wants to live that life again, unless he has to.

Covid Road Trip 

  • 1st COVID road trip, so we’re taking 8 busses instead of flying.
    • Spread out as a team.
    • Wearing a mask on a bus for four hours.
  • Social Distancing in the hotel.

Ricky Person 

  • That’s how he practiced.
    • Practice well over an extended period of time they usually play well.
  • Ricky got that feeling of getting to go through an entire Fall camp and staying healthy, and going into a game with all the prep that he had, all the reps, all the timing.
    • It paid off for him. He played really well. He was physical, vocal, had great energy, executed within the scheme.
  • He was playing his first 2 years here with very limited practice time.
    • Every week there was something he was dealing with. Those were things out of his control.
  • I’m happy for him that he is having the success that he is, and he’s definitely worked hard to deserve it.

No Fans

  • I can tell you as weird as it is playing a game with no fans, once you start playing, you don’t even know.
    • You are so locked in on what you are doing.


  • We’re hopeful Tanner Ingle will play this week.


  • They made a bunch of plays.
  • The things that weren’t good are things that are correctable.
    • It wasn’t like people were just running by our Defensive Back’s like last year.
      • Our guys competed for the ball, made plays on the ball.
      • We weren’t panicking and Pass Interference-ing guys on deep balls.
  • The guys showed good body control. When we were tired, they made plays.
  • We got better as the game went on 3rd down, and that says a lot about their mental toughness and their conditioning.

Hockman the starter against VT?


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