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August 12, 2013

Q&A: Dave Doeren talks lines, Jarvis Byrd, Zach Gentry




NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media following Monday morning's practice, the first of a two-a-day. The coach talked about the first scrimmage, held last Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium, the offensive and defensive lines, fifth-year senior safety Jarvis Byrd and classmate Zach Gentry, a linebacker, among other things.

Everything the coach had to say is below.

You said that this scrimmage coming up is really important, is that a different set-up than the previous one?

It'll be similar to what you usually see in the preseason, where we cover all the situations but we'll also move the ball enough to where they have to have sustainable drives. We'll hit the red zone and we'll go back up then do the different things the guys have to go through in order to be ready on game day. We also want to see if they can sustain a drive from the 25 going out. We'll do that as much as we can rep-wise.

Did anything stand out from this past scrimmage when you went back and viewed the tape?

I thought the defensive backs tackled really well in space, that was impressive. I thought our running backs ran hard and took care of the football, there were no fumbles by our backs in the scrimmage. We didn't have as many drops as we did in practice today, that's for sure.

I was disappointed in how many pre-snap penalties there were, that was probably the biggest disappointment.

Both of the quarterbacks did some good and bad things. Brandon [Mitchell] made some nice big play-type throws down the field that were caught, but there was not really anything I did not see when I was out there.

Are those pre-snap penalties coming from skill guys, linemen or a combination?

It's a combination. You've got a lot of quarterbacks in and out with difference cadences that is causing some of it. It's not just the other 10 guys, sometimes it's on the QB. That's the thing about offense, it takes just one guy to screw up the whole thing. You've just got to make sure that they're locked in every snap.

Are some of those things also due to the change in the scheme?

Yeah, I mean it was the first scrimmage, you expect a few things and there are a lot of freshmen playing, too. Once you start to have a common lineup, you start to see fewer and fewer of those things because there is a better chemistry, but right now, there is a lot of changes in the lineup throughout the day. That's part of the problem right now.

Despite that, are you able to see any more consistency with the offensive line?

Unit today, because we had some guys out with injuries, I thought we've gotten better at running the football. You're starting to see guys really understand how to zone block together or power double team together, use each other and we're getting better there.

How about on the other side with the depth you guys have on the defensive line?

We don't have a lot right now, there's too many of them watching practice, but when they're all healthy, we'll have some good depth. We just have a lot of guys with training camp bumps and bruises that weren't out there today.

Some of them have hit a wall?

Well, it's practice 11, so it's part of fall camp. Sometimes you have guys banged up, sometimes you don't.

What did the coaching staff see from Jarvis Byrd that made you think he could be a good fit at safety?

Well we were just trying to get our best 11 on the field and we felt like, at corner between him, Dontae [Johnson] and [Juston] Burris, those were three of our better defensive backs. Byrd, having the ACL injuries he's had and not that he can't run, he's a better fit [at safety], he's a fast safety. At corner, he struggles a little bit top-end wise at times, so it's a way to make him a more effective hand.

How has he responded to that move?

Really good. He's vocal - he's one of our best vocal leaders on defense, so it's good having him back there.

Is it good to have a vocal guy like that on the back line?

Yeah, it is. And he's a guy that's been around for a long time, too because Hakim [Jones] is young, Tim Buckley is young, the other safeties that could be in there with Jarvis are young kids.

Is Jarvis able to be a leader even though he's had the injuries and has not played a lot?

I think our team respects the adversity he's overcome. He's a tough dude, he's one of the best hitters pound-for-pound on our team. I think our guys have a lot of respect for him.

You mentioned Zach Gentry on Saturday, can you kind of count on him no matter what postion you put him at - special teams, linebacker?

Yeah, he's a tough guy that cares a lot about this team. He's playing in the middle right now and I like what him and Robert Caldwell are doing because they're two tough guys that play hard.

Are you pleased with where you are right now getting everything installed? Do you feel like you're on schedule?

I do, I think we're getting closer. We're starting to narrow things down offensively a little bit better. The defense has kind of been on pace, they haven't slowed down. We need to get in the red zone a lot tonight, that's one area we need to catch up in, I think.


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