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Dave Doeren’s Weekly Press Conference Before UNC: BULLETED



NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media yesterday for his weekly press conference prior to the UNC game this Saturday. You can watch it here, or check out a BULLETED breakdown below.

Opening Statement…

  • Starting off with our game with Duke, I’m proud of the team on how we battled back.
  • Obviously, we got off to a bad start momentum wise, giving up a blocked punt.
    • It was a nice job by Duke in that situation to stem in their front putting us in a situation where we had a short edge. I thought Coach Goebbel adjusted as the game went on and did some good things to clean that up.
  • I’m really impressed with the way we played complementary football.
  • We had to overcome ourselves in this game.
    • Not to take anything away from Duke, but when you have 8 penalties for 106 yards in the 1st half, turn the ball over twice in the 1st quarter, it’s tough.
    • In the 2nd half we did not have penalties, we just played football.
    • It’s amazing what happens when you don’t beat yourself. Those are immature things by a young football team that we’ve got to learn from and learn from now.
    • I think it’s great for them to be able to see the difference in the product when they are making the decisions that they are coached to make.
    • They blocked a punt for a touchdown, and we matched them.
    • We had 3 turnovers. We matched them with 3 takeaways on defense.
    • So, our guys responded to the situations that they were in, and I think that says a lot about the resiliency of this team.
  • I can’t say enough about the guys that stepped into their roles, not just in this game but throughout the year.
    • We’ve had a lot of that, whether it was a targeting ejection or an injury.
      • In this particular game, Isaac Duffy-Webb performed really well.
        • He graded out at 91 percent, had no mistakes, had 2 tackles on 3rd down.
      • Devan Boykin came in and had a pass breakup in the end zone.
      • Bryson Speas continues to play multiple positions on the offensive line.
      • Dylan McMahon played the most he’s played this year on the offensive line.
    • Those guys are battling. Are they playing perfect? No, but we talk about next-man-up mentality, and I think what I’m most proud of is that the next man up is performing like the guy was in front of him in most cases.
    • That along with the team rallying around those guys and guys taking advantage of their opportunity.
    • Sometimes you’ll have a guy as a backup that may not be playing as much as he wants, and he’s not going to prepare the same way.
      • He doesn’t have the same intensity in his preparation or his practice.
      • We’re not doing that. I told the team that I like practice right now because the ones are competing, the twos are competing, our scout team is competing.
      • That’s allowing us to have the situations that we are on game day, where all of a sudden a guy’s name is called and each week it has been a different player that didn’t expect to have the reps he got that was ready to play.

Positives on Offense…

  • We made some really good contact catches in this game.
    • Devin Leary gave guys a chance, and they made the plays.
  • Very efficient on 3rd down. When you combine our 3rd and 4th downs together, we were 50 percent.
  • We were 100 percent scoring in the red zone.
  • I thought we played our most physical football in the 4th quarter.
    • There was a lot of straining, a lot of competing on the O-line, Tight End and Running Back group. We were very physical, and I like seeing that, as you know.

Negatives on Offense…

  • Turning the ball over 3 times is going to put you in a very difficult situation.
    • It’s hard to win games doing that.
    • We have to do a better job with the fundamentals.
    • Two fumbles.
      • Devin had the ball low on the sack fumble.
        • He’s got to be able to pull the ball up as a quarterback when you’re in traffic and take care of it.
      • Bam Knight’s got to put 2 hands on the football when he’s got all those guys hitting him.
  • The 3 penalties on offense were critical penalties.
    • All three of them were 3rd-down or 4th-down plays that would have been 1st downs that we then had to redo, then had to punt. All three were drive stoppers.

Devin Leary…

  • Obviously the injury to Devin is tough to him and us.
  • I hate that for a young man that’s worked so hard and has played so well.
  • The positive news is that he’ll have a normal, healthy recovery.
    • It’s nothing that will haunt him from an injury standpoint, but it will probably keep him out of the regular season.
      • But we’ll see how fast he can heal.
  • I know Bailey Hockman and Ben Finley and Ty Evans are excited about their opportunity.
    • They’ll work hard with Coach Beck to help us be ready to win games.
    • That’s what it is all about; maximizing your opportunity and the guys around you helping to the best of their ability.

Positives on Defense…

  • Held their running backs to 1.2 yards per carry.
    • That was a goal going into the game.
    • Their two backs were the strength of their offense.
  • Really good on 3rd down.
    • 75 percent efficient on 3rd down as a defense.
  • Coach Gibson did a nice job of mixing different things up.
    • We played different drop-8 coverages, we rushed 4, we rushed 5, we rushed 6.
  • The goal-line stand, for the 3rd time this season, I think shows the resiliency and toughness, and really the detail.
    • It’s not just being tough. They run a bootleg and both guys are completely covered in the route, and Levi [Jones] does a phenomenal job tackling the quarterback in space on a boot.
  • The 3 takeaways and the 1 in the red zone by Payton Wilson, our 1st interception of the game was a big momentum play.
  • Only gave up 3 explosive plays, none in the pass game, which is really hard to do in college football right now.
    • 2 of the explosive runs were quarterback keeps that shouldn’t have been there.
      • It was a poor job discipline wise by two of our players on those two runs.
      • We had a blitz on one and Tanner Ingle just chased the ball instead of playing technique.
      • The other one, C.J. Hart didn’t do his job. So, things that are correctable.

Negatives Defensively…

  • Obviously losing a 3rd player on the season for targeting is coaching.
    • We’ve got to do a better job.
    • Our players have got to understand the strike zone. They’ve got to play with their eyes up. They’ve got to understand that they can’t launch, they can’t lead with the crown of their helmet.
    • It has to get fixed, and that is something that we will get fixed.
    • It’s obviously something that they are doing to protect football players.
  • The defensive penalty on Payton Wilson was immature on his part on the sideline.
    • That hurt us. These are things that we’ve got to correct.

Special Teams…

  • Our special teams were kind of mixed in this game. There was some really bad and some really good.
  • Obviously, you can’t give up a blocked punt for a touchdown and give up 4 penalties on special teams.
    • Those things are atrocious.
  • But, we responded.
    • We had some good kickoff returns.
    • We had a blocked punt for a touchdown.
    • Our kickoff coverage was outstanding.
    • Chris Dunn made a clutch field goal at the end of the game to make it a two-score game.


  • Now we get to play a really good cross-town team.
  • It’s a game that’s been going on since 1894.
  • It’s a game that means a lot to both school’s fan bases, boosters and football clubs and teams and coaching staffs.
  • It’s going to be a hard-fought game.
  • They’re a very well-coached, veteran team with a lot of skill, a lot of team speed.
  • Obviously they’re coming off a tough loss, but one in which I think they played really well in the 2nd half.
    • It really was a tale of 2 halves for them down there.
  • They are 3-1.
  • They’re an explosive offense.
    • Their receivers do a nice job.
      • They’ve got a blend of size and speed.
    • Sam Howell’s a tremendous quarterback.
    • Their two tailbacks are really good players.
      • They’re different from each other.
      • They’re both explosive, both good in the run and the pass game.
    • They don’t turn the ball over a lot.
    • They’ve got a big offensive line.
    • Tight End Garrett Walston, is a good player.
  • It’s going to be a good football game. It’s a great opportunity to play against a really good offense.
  • Defensively…
    • They lost some good defensive linemen last year.
    • They look improved in the secondary.
    • Their linebackers are the same kids…Chazz Surratt and Jeremiah Gemmel do a great job.
    • They are active. They blitz a lot.
    • They give you a lot of different presentation on defense.
      • They’re in both odd and even fronts.
      • They’ll play cover-2, cover-3, cover-1, and they’re bringing different pressures from all over the place, similar to what we saw in some of the snaps with Virginia.
    • They press you up on the outside. They’ve got big corners that are physical.
  • It’s going to be a great challenge, a great opportunity and I look forward to playing them, as we do every year.
  • It’s a chance to play against a Top-20 team on the road again.
  • It’s a chance for our team to overcome some things injury wise and really go up there and fight against a veteran team.


  • We’ve cross-trained guys at different positions in case things happened.
    • You’re seeing that pay off.
  • Ikem Ekwonu played Guard, now he is playing Tackle.
  • Bryson Speas has played Guard and Tackle.
  • Dylan McMahon has played Center and Guard.
  • Same thing at Safety.
    • Devan Boykin has played both safety spots.
    • Isaac Duffy-Webb has played Nickel and Strong Safety.
    • Cecil Powell has played corner, dime and nickel.

Bailey Hockman…

  • He knows our offense.
  • He’s in a different position as a teammate.
  • When you transfer in you’re not a part of a recruiting class.
    • You’re kind of your own lone soldier, and you are trying to win a job at the same time.
    • So, it’s hard to get to know your teammates the same way that you do in year 2.
    • I think he’s more comfortable here and has a good circle of people.
    • He can just be himself.
  • I think he understands what his role was. He was a very positive teammate. He’s very energetic around his friends and teammates.
  • Now it’s just taking advantage of an opportunity.
  • I don’t think he’ll tell you that he thought he played well Saturday.
    • He did some good things. He did some things that he could do better.
  • We’ve got to get Ben Finley and Ty Evans ready too because they’re a play away from being in the game.

Ben Finley being the #2 now…

  • Ty Evans had an injury that kept him out for a long time that allowed Ben Finley to get reps and just gain more knowledge and timing with the offense.
    • Ben’s just got more reps right now.
  • Ben is very smart.
    • He has great spatial awareness.
    • He sees things very well, gets the ball out quick.
    • He can run.
      • I think that’s the one thing that separates him from any of those guys is that he can really run. He’s a good athlete.
  • I was hoping we wouldn’t end up in a scenario where he has to play because you want to get the year in the weight room.
    • But at this point, like I said, him and Ty have got to be ready to go out there and help us.

Will it help Hockman knowing Leary isn’t over his shoulder…

  • He’s just got to play confident football.
  • He’s got to run the system.
  • He’s got to quit worrying about things that could happen if he doesn’t play the way he’s supposed to play.
    • He’s just got to go play football and let it all go.
  • For him, it’s just one play at a time.
  • He played really good against Wake Forest.
    • We just need him to get back to that.
  • He’ll prepare the right way. It’s his time. It’s a matter of him taking advantage of the opportunity. Now it’s his opportunity to go show himself and everybody out there what kind of player he can be.
  • He doesn’t have to go be Superman. He just needs to run the offense. That’s it.

Defense playing better helps Hockman…

  • It’s a team game and when you’re playing complementary football, offensively there’s less pressure.
    • You don’t have to go out there and score a touchdown every possession to feel like you’re going to win.
  • As long as every offensive possession ends with a kick, we should be in the game if we play good defense and good special teams, and we’re doing that now.
  • The defensive front is playing a lot better, our linebackers are making a ton of plays, and the secondary has kept things in front of them.
  • If we play like that and keep getting the dog bone out on the sideline every now and then, good things are going to happen for whoever that quarterback is, because they’re going to have field position and momentum.

What 3 wins at UNC mean to him…

  • I know how big this game is to NC State, former players, boosters, alums, all those things.
    • So, I take a lot of pride in being able to deliver that to our fan base.
  • I lost to them in year 1, so the 1st win over there was when Jacoby Brissett had a heck of a game.
    • It was great to get my 1st win over them over there.
  • I probably can’t do this in the proper order, but one of the wins over there probably saved my job.
    • That was the year we missed a field goal against Clemson, went on a skid, then all of the sudden we finished strong and that one got us in a bowl game. So that was an emotional win.
    • Unfortunately, one of them was kind of ruined because we had a fight afterwards and felt like we were dealing with all that crap after the game instead of the win.
  • But any time you play a rivalry that’s been going back since 1894, any time you play a game like this and you win it, whether it’s home or away, it’s emotional.

More Turnovers…

  • All those things are happening right now.
  • Defensively we are playing faster than we did last year.
    • We’re blitzing with a blitz mentality; I didn’t think we were doing that earlier in the year.
      • I felt like we were kind of oozing off the ball on some of our pressures.
      • Guys are hitting it more sudden, which from a quarterback standpoint, gives you less time to throw.
  • Tony Gibson’s done a nice job of changing things up.
    • There’s not just one coverage you’re looking at; there’s quite a few different pictures for that quarterback to have to look at and figure out.

Why are they playing faster…

  • Tony Gibson should get some of the credit.
    • He’s simplified things for them.
      • We’re not checking and doing a bunch of things at the line of scrimmage.
      • We used to check a lot.
      • There’s a few things we have to say here and there. But we’re playing ball.
      • We’re talking more about what the offense is doing and less about what we’re doing.
      • We’re playing football as opposed to having to memorize a million things. I think that’s really freed them up.
  • The 2nd thing is our front.
    • The rotation of the guys up front, there’s not much drop off between our ones and twos on the D-Line.
      • C.J. Clark and Alim McNeill are both playing at a high level at nose tackle right now.
      • At the defensive end position, I think Ibrahim Kante and Savion Jackson have gotten a lot better as the season’s gone on. And then Daniel Joseph comes in and gives us something.
  • Helps when you can rotate guys like that.
    • As long as we can continue to keep them fresh.
      • We had a problem at linebacker a couple weeks ago when we couldn’t rotate.
      • Coach Gibson didn’t feel as good about the rotation, and now those kids have earned playing time.
        • You see Jaylon Scott come in, he maybe only takes 15 snaps off Isaiah Moore but that helps Isaiah play faster.
        • Levi Jones comes in and takes a few snaps off of Drake, so now all of the sudden Drake can play faster.


  • None of these rankings matter until the end of the season.
  • It doesn’t matter where we’re rated right now.
  • It didn’t matter last week.
  • It didn’t matter the week before.
  • It won’t matter until we play our last game.

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