NC State Head Coach Dave Doeren met with the media today for his Weekly Press Conference prior to the Wolfpack’s season opener against UCONN next Thursday. Below are some of the notable things he had to say.
- Backfield is one of the strengths of the team when you look at the depth. Coach Anae likes to use multiple backs. He likes to give them roles and create things for those guys. You’ll get to see Kendrick Raphael.
- Have the most questions with the Wide Receivers. Not on ability, but on who will step up. Keyon Lesane had a great camp. Julian Gray has had a great camp and looking forward to see him take the next step. Gray and Terrell Timmons are neck and neck, playing really good football.
- Feel like we have a really good rotation outside at Receiver. There will be a lot of guys getting time Inside. Kevin Concepcion, Porter Rooks and Jalen Coit. Those guys have made a lot of plays in camp.
- Nose Tackle Brandon Cleveland played some as a freshman, and he’s really improved.
- Linebacker’s Jaylon Scott, Devon Betty, and Caden Fordham have all had really good camps.
- Terrente Hinton has come on at Cornerback. Brandon Cisse will play as a True Freshman and will have an impact. Tony [Gibson] likes the rotation. Get guys in and give guys rest so they can play fast.
- Defensive End Davin Vann is playing at a really high level. He has grown a lot, not just as a player, but as a person. He has a huge attitude when he plays the game, and sometimes that’s hard for these guys to control. He’s really learned how to use the energy. Sometimes guys waste that. When Chubb was here, that was probably the biggest gain for him, learning how to use the fire that was within him, and not burn it on things that don’t matter. Davin has gained a ton of maturity that way. He has a ton of respect in our program, and is one of the hardest working people in our program. I’m expecting big things from him.
- Nickel Robert Kennedy is super consistent. You would have thought he had been here a long time. He understands and learns quickly. His mistakes he doesn’t repeat. He’s a gifted player to begin with, but he’s a really, really good learner. Plays consistently, and as a coach that’s what you want. He’s really fit in nicely, and added depth and experience at a position we needed.
- Told Wide Receiver Bradley Rozner yesterday I was super impressed with him. Not because he’s a tall guy who can run and catch. He comes in here a week before training camp, doesn’t know a player on our team, doesn’t know a coach on our staff, has never been to Raleigh. He’s just consistent every day. He catches the ball well. Still learning as he goes, but it’s impressive, what he has done in such a short period of time.
- Wide Receiver Dacari Collins is really talented. Trying to get him healthy. He’s had some small muscular things happen. Strain hear…a strain there. Had a really good window in the middle of camp, where we got to get a glimpse. When we get him where he can consistently practice, he can have an impact. We are still trying to get him there. We’ve seen a big change from a Springs the Fall. Excited about his growth
- We’ve had to train a lot of guys on how to snap. Sean Hill has done a great job picking that piece up for us with Dawson Jaramillo being out. Kamen Smith has played both Guard and Tackle. Matt McCabe has played both Guard and Tackle. Rico Jackson has been trained at both Guard and Tackle. Lyndon Cooper can play both Center and Guard.
- True Freshman Left Guard Kamen Smith is super athletic, big, strong and agile. He’s a really quick learner. Super impressed with him coming in during the Summer. He’s really physical. He plays with that demeanor that we love.
- I think Bishop Fitzgerald (Safety) and Terrente Hinton (Corner) are both going to be really good players here.
- Jalen Coit is a natural at Punt Returner. He’s really got great hands. He gets his body underneath it. Judges the ball well. Tracks it well. He’s quick and elusive. Great change of direction.
NC State’s Highest & Lowest Graded Defensive Players vs. UVA
Here’s a look at which NC State Defensive players graded out the best and worst according to ProFootballFocus against UVA last night.
LB Payton Wilson – 83.4
DE Davin Vann – 74.7
S Bishop Fitzgerald – 73.7
DE Savion Jackson – 73.5
LB Caden Fordham – 63.1
DE Noah Potter – 45.7
CB Shyheim Battle – 48.0
LB Jaylon Scott – 55.2
DE Red Hibbler – 56.3
S Cecil Powell – 56.7
- Payton Wilson has now graded out at 80+ for 2 straight games, which he has never done in his career.
- He has been in the Top 5 in 3 of the first 4 games.
- He had the highest run defense grade: 90.4.
- He also had the highest grade in pass rush: 72.8.
- Davin Vann has been in the Top 5 in all 4 games in 2023.
- Bishop Fitzgerald has been in the Top 5 in 2 of the first 4 games.
- He had the highest grade in pass coverage: 77.5.
- Caden Fordham has been in the Top 5 in 2 of the first 4 games.
- Noah Potter has been in the Bottom 5 in 3 of the first 4 games.
- It’s his 2nd time posting the worst grade.
- Shyheim Battle has been in the Bottom 5 in 2 of the first 4 games.
- He did have the highest tackling grade: 81.1.
- Jaylon Scott has been in the Bottom 5 in 2 of the first 4 games.
- Red Hibbler has been in the Bottom 5 in 2 of the first 4 games.
- Safety Sean Brown had the lowest grader in coverage: 41.9.
- Noah Potter, Davin Vann and CJ Clark had the worst tackling grades: 18.4, 23.1, 26.3.
NC State’s Highest & Lowest Graded Offensive Players vs. UVA
Here’s a look at which NC State Offensive players graded out the best and worst according to ProFootballFocus against UVA last night.
IWR Kevin Concepcion – 80.9 – career high
QB Brennan Armstrong – 72.3
C Lyndon Cooper – 66.0
LT Anthony Belton – 64.6
WR Bradley Rozner – 63.9
IWR Juice Vereen – 41.7 – career low
WR Keyon Lesane – 53.1
WR Julian Gray – 54.2 – 2nd lowest of career
TE Trent Pennix – 54.5
RB Michael Allen – 56.0
- Concepcion caught 6 passes for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was targeted a team high 10 times.
- Brennan Armstrong has graded out in the Top-5 in 3 of the first 4 games.
- He posted a rushing grade of 77.5, which was tops on the team, and his best since Week 9 of the 2021 season.
- Juice Vereen has been the lowest graded player on the team two weeks in a row.
- Anthony Belton has been in the Top-5 in 3 of the first 4 games.
- Julian Gray has been in the Bottom 5 in 2 of the firsts 4 games.
- Anthony Belton had the highest pass block grade: 83.7.
- RB Michael Allen has to improve at pass protection. His pass protection grade was 31.6.
- Give Julian Gray credit…he had the highest run blocking grade on the team in 22 snaps: 74.3
Dave Doeren’s Postgame Press Conference After UVA Win: BULLETED
NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media for his postgame press conference after the Wolfpack defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 24-21 tonight. Here’s a bulleted breakdown of what he had to say.
- Very proud of Place Kicker Brayden Narveson for making that kick. Especially in the rain, after the first one was blocked, even though it was a penalty.
- Really good return by Julian Gray to set that up.
- ACC wins are hard to come by. Winning on the road isn’t easy. You’ve got to give UVA credit.
- Their QB [Anthony Colandrea] is going to be a really good football player in this league.
- Their receivers, Malik Washington and Malachi Fields, are really good players.
- We’ve got to play better in certain areas, but we found a way to win a game on the road.
- I don’t think there’s a problem in pass protection, if that’s what you’re asking.
- We felt like with our kicker, we needed to get the ball to the 35-yard line on the final drive.
- Because of the penalty and the return, we only needed 15 yards to do that. The first play got us in field goal range, so after that, we were going to be pretty smart with the ball.
- Brayden made a 60-yarder going that direction in pregame, so we felt like we were in a pretty good spot right there.
- 3rd down defense for both teams was solid. They were only 5 of 14, and we were only 6 of 14.
- Our short yardage defense was exceptional tonight.
- Where we really struggled was on 3rd-and-long in the red zone, which is kind of weird, because that’s an area you expect on defense to be good for us.
- The run game has been inconsistent up to this point. We’ve got to narrow some things down. We’ve tried a lot of things, and I think it’s time to narrow down the play book a little bit, instead of doing so many things.
- This offense has a lot of parts to it, and that are a lot of new pieces in it.
- KC Concepcion is really hard to cover man-to-man. Both of his touchdowns were in man-to-man coverage. He’s playing fast. He’s playing well. He’s hard to bring down after the catch as well. There’s a reason his numbers are what they are for a True Freshman. He’s very talented.
- I think Brennan Armstrong settled in. The first quarter, the wind was behind us. He had a lot of energy. He overthrew a few guys. As he settled in, he started playing better. The guys did a nice job catching the ball for him tonight.
- Caden Noonkester was tremendous tonight. His leg was a weapon.
- Too many punts…8 punts…he’s punting too much.
- To win on the road you have to win the turnover margin and in field position, and our punter was phenomenal.
- A bunch of guys had to play…there were injuries.
- 2nd play of the game starting Strong Safety Devan Boykin goes down. All week in practice, Cecil Powell was our backup Strong Safety…Cecil went in the game and got hurt. Both Strong Safety’s were hurt in the first quarter.
- Bishop Fitzgerald moves from Free Safety to Strong Safety, where he didn’t take a snap in practice all week.
- Linebacker Devon Betty wasn’t at practice all week, because him and his fiancé had a baby…he missed all practices this week.
- On offense, we lost a Running Back [Jordan Houston] on the 2nd to last day of the week. Then we get out there, and Kendrick Raphael gets hurt.
- People want to b&%$# at play calling, and this-that-and-the-other, but there’s other stuff going on man. We found a way to win on the road in the rain, against an inspired football team, s$#@, be happy we won. It’s a good win. I’m excited to go home 3-1, and get ready to play Louisville.
- Linebacker Payton Wilson is awesome every night.
- Is there a game he’s played in the past three years, where people weren’t saying ‘We love watching #11 play football.’
- He plays to exhaustion. He’s the heartbeat of our football team. Can’t say enough about him.
NC State 24 UVA 21: INITIAL THOUGHTS
The Wolfpack defeated the Cavaliers to kickoff their ACC slate tonight, winning 24-21 with a field goal as time expired. Here are some initial thoughts.
For starters, a win is a win. NC State improved to 3-1, and they are now 1-0, picking up a road win in ACC play.
True Freshman Receiver KC Concepcion had the best game of his young career, catching 6 passes (10 targets) for 116 yards with 2 touchdowns.
The Linebacker tandem of Payton Wilson and Caden Fordham filled the box score. Wilson finished with 13 tackles, 0.5 sack and a QB Hurry. Fordham had 12 tackles 1 tackle for loss and 1 QB Hurry.
Punter Caden Noonkester had himself a heck of a day, punting the ball 6 times for an average of 50 yards, with the longest one traveling 67 yards.
NC State won the turnover margin battle, intercepting two passes (Sean Brown & Aydan White), compared to Virginia’s one.
Julian Gray’s proved that he can change a game with his kick returning abilities for the second straight week. With 44 seconds left on the clock, Gray returned a kickoff 35 yards to UVA’s 48-yard line, putting the Wolfpack in the position they needed to work their way into field goal range.
NC State was fortunate to get a penalty on UVA’s QB for taking off his helmet after converting on the 2-point conversion. Without that penalty, Gray might not have the same opportunity to return the ball into UVA territory.
Place Kicker Brayden Narveson hit a walk-off game-winning 33-yard field goal, in the rain, on the road, with time expiring.
Delbert Mimms III picked up his 4th rushing touchdown of the season.
UVA had more total yards than NC State (384/319).
The Cavaliers won the time of possession battle (32:34/27:26).
Brennan Armstrong did not look sharp or accurate on many of his passes. His completion percentage was a very mediocre 50%. He led NC State in rush attempts (15) and rushing yards (64), which might seem cool, but on quite a few of those runs, there were open receivers down the field.
The Wolfpack secondary was torched by UVA Wide Receiver Malik Washington, catching 10 passes for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Michael Allen didn’t shine in his opportunity to start at Running Back after the exodus of Jordan Houston this week, gaining only 36 yards on 10 carries.
The Wolfpack defense gave up 6 receptions of 15+ yards, and 4 rushes of 10+ yards.