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October 31, 2013
NC State head coach Dave Doeren briefly met with the media on Thursday after practice to discuss the upcoming game with North Carolina for the final time. Everything the coach had to say is below:
How have your troops responded to your rallying call of focusing for the last five weeks?
We'll find out Saturday, that's what we've been talking about. There's a lot to play for obviously when you still have a chance to be in a bowl game and you get to play against some in-state opponents [the week after] it's your rivalry game. They're coming out of that loss with a lot to play for, that's kind of been the talk. Obviously the guys that are back and healthy need to make plays for us this week.
Do you sense there is real hope?
There's always hope. Regardless, even if we're out of postseason play, we're working to get better as a program. I didn't come here just for 12 weeks and then throw it away. It's a process and there's a lot of hope for what we're trying to do around here.
How much have you missed Rashard Smith on special teams and how much do you need someone to step up there?
Obviously the return game is [big], look at last year's game for them. Having an explosive returner matters and it mattered for us in one of our games this year. The field position in a game like this is a big deal.
A lot of the focus this week has been on tight end Eric Ebron, but they also have a big-play receiver in Quinshad Davis. What does he do so well?
I just think that it's the chemistry that exists between him and the quarterback, you can see they have played together for a while and he makes plays. He's crisp in his routes and they have good route timing. They are a good passing offense, there's a reason they're top three in the league in it.
There have been several former players that we've seen out here at practice this week like Torry Holt and Nate Irving is out there today. What's that like for the team?
Bill Yoest was here on Tuesday, a former great. There's guys that come back; guys that are playing still obviously can't. Torry is back again today and he's going to visit with the team here in a little bit before they move off campus for academics. The more we can have former players around [the better]. It's a big game. There's 103 years of former football players out there watching this game and they take a lot of pride in it.
How did you think the offensive line and running game did against Florida State?
In the second half, it was pretty good. In the first half, we didn't move them very much and I thought that was something we could do — not because they're not good up front, they are, but because they play a lot of coverage's where you can outnumber them at times in the box. I think everybody has probably had the same game plan going into their game where you want to run the ball, but they get up on people so fast, it kind of takes you out of being able to do it to win. The second half was much better though.
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