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August 23, 2013

NC State trying to win one day at a time



NC State has promoted the Twitter hash tag #1Pack1Goal since coach Dave Doeren's arrival last December.

Doeren also learned the 1-0 mantra under current Arkansas coach Bret Bielema when the two of them worked together at Wisconsin. Bielema preached winning one day at a time and one game at a time. Essentially, the hope was for the Badgers players to not look too far ahead into the future and end up getting stung in the present by overlooking something.

Having the Wolfpack team rally around "1Pack1Goal" creates unity and togetherness.

"What it really stands for is all of us working together to be a great football team," Doeren said. "Instead of the offense or defense or a couple of guys just going over here [on their own]. It's the just the unity you want to have. You don't want to score 57 points a game and then not care about our defense. It's all of us pulling together and being here for each other, and working toward common cause and helping our teammates to get there."

Bielema played for Hayden Fry at Iowa, and coached under both Fry and Kirk Ferentz with the Hawkeyes. He also worked under Bill Snyder at Kansas State and Barry Alvarez at UW, who also both worked for Fry before eventually becoming head coaches. Some of the teachings from the various coaching family trees seeped down to Doeren.

NC State started game preparation for Louisiana Tech on Thursday.

"It seemed like all those guys worked for Hayden Fry at one time," Doeren said. "The philosophy is to handle your business that day, and that creates success down the road.

"Bret's philosophy was 1-0, and that is very similar to being undefeated today. That is something I learned for five years being there [at Wisconsin]. If you skip that day and go ahead, you don't really take care of the things that help you win five days later."

K'Hadree Hooker departs for ECU: Redshirt freshman defensive tackle K'Hadree Hooker was thrilled to be part of NC State's class of 2012, and was an active recruiter of other players to also play for the Wolfpack.

Hooker announced on Twitter that he had left NC State before ever playing a game, and is transferring to East Carolina.

The 6-foot, 307-pounder was ranked the No. 33 defensive tackle in the country, and No. 22 overall player in North Carolina by Rivals.com in the class of 2012. The former South Lenoir High standout picked NC State over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.

Hooker had put on 27 pounds during his redshirt season last year and opened fall camp this month second-string on the depth chart. He wasn't able to keep his place and was passed over by the other defensive tackles Doeren said.

"K'Hadree was buried on the depth chart and I felt like he was going to struggle to get on the field," Doeren said. "He's a great kid and we love him. There was no negative things that happened between him and anybody else."

NC State hosts East Carolina on Nov. 23, but then don't play the Pirates for the next three years. Hooker might have insider knowledge, but it doesn't make sense to penalize him if he wants to attend ECU this year and sit out a season per NCAA rules.

"He is from that area down there [Kinston, N.C.], and I said, 'How can I help you?" Doeren said. "I called down there and talked to their coaching staff. I know their head coach [Ruffin McNeill] really well, and he's a good friend. I told him we had a young man that I'd love for him to stay, but it's going to take him longer if he wants to play. I'm here to help guys."

Secondary slowly getting healthy: Doeren said senior cornerback Dontae Johnson missed some practices due to minor injuries, and freshman cornerback Jack Tocho is going through the same situation this week. Tocho could be the new nickel back for the season opener against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31.

"Jack Tocho is a guy that we hoped would play in there, but he's battling back right now from a lower leg deal," Doeren said. "We should have him for game one. Dontae was out a couple of days, but he'll back tomorrow [Saturday]. Between Dontae and Jack, and [redshirt sophomore safety] Tim Buckley, it will be one of those three guys."

The move of fifth-year senior cornerback Jarvis Byrd to free safety has also worked out well for the Wolfpack.

"I like having a safety that plays corner just because of the matchups in the slot," Doeren said. "It gives you a guy that is comfortable in man-to-man coverage. Against the spread, the safeties are on an island, a lot like a corner. For him, he was probably one of our hardest hitters as a corner."

Doeren overlooks both offense and defense: Doeren's background is on defense, and he admittedly can zip through the defensive practice video pretty quickly. He also wants to know what is going on offensively and offers his advice when needed.

"I talk to both sides of the ball daily, but I spend more time during practice watching our offense and coaching our defensive scout team," Doeren said. "I like helping our defensive guys get better and help our offense get a good look."

Doeren will also take notes on both sides of the ball during practice, but he tries to divide his team equally. He has never changed from running a 4-3 scheme during his coaching career.

"I want us to chase the football, beat blocks and tackle in space," Doeren said. "I want to play with fanatical effort. Those are the things we talk about."

Bryant Shirreffs switches position: Freshman Bryant Shirreffs out of Jefferson (Ga.) High entered NC State as a quarterback, but has tried two different positions this week in practice. The 6-3, 220-pounder started the week at linebacker, but then moved back to the offensive end to end the week.

"He is actually playing fullback," Doeren said. "I kind of said, 'Lets look at you a couple of days at one, and a couple of days at the other.' He knows our offense already. I think he has a better chance of helping us out right away on the offensive side of the football."

NC State lost redshirt junior fullback Logan Winkles to a season-ending ACL injury. Linebackers Ryan Cheek, a fifth-year senior, and freshman Quinton Patterson also moved over to play fullback. Redshirt junior Tyler Purvis is expected to open the season at fullback.

"With Logan being out, it gives us another guy that can run in there," Doeren said.


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