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September 5, 2013

Q&A: Doeren discusses healthy quarterbacks



NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media for the final time before Saturday's home contest against Richmond. The coach previewed the opponent a little bit, discussed last week's special teams performances and went in-depth on the healthy trio of quarterbacks that populate the depth chart.

Everything Doeren had to say is below:

Are they similar to Louisiana Tech much offensively or is it a different approach?

No, they're not, but I mean everybody is a little bit similar. You can always find some runs or passes that carry over. They huddle, then they don't huddle. They're very multiple and Louisiana Tech wasn't — they had only a couple of formations, they just went really fast.

These guys do a lot offensively. There's a lot of motions, there's wildcat packages, they've been there together as a staff longer so they've got more implemented from an installation standpoint. They return a lot of players.

How much of a test will this be for your pass defense?

We'll find out. Last year, they were only sacked five times and all of their linemen are back. If you don't get a good pass rush, it's hard to play good pass defense, so we'll be challenged that way. They get rid of the ball quick and they have a lot of good screens on the perimeter.

The one thing is their quarterback hasn't really been tested yet, so that's something that hopefully we can do. He's going to have to run their offense in a loud stadium with a lot of people rotating in, so hopefully we can do a good job at making it a hard day for him. I know he'll be a well-coached guy at that position.

Are you happy with how Pete Thomas has looked this week in practice?

He looked good today. I think on Tuesday, he pressed a little then he relaxed and played better yesterday. Then, today he looked really good. I think coming off the bench is pretty easy because there's not a nervous moment — you just run in there and start playing.

When you're the starter, you have more time to think things through. I'm anxious to see him in that role and I know Bryant [Shirreffs] and Josh [Taylor] are, too.

I get the feeling that you like Josh?

He's a winner. He's just a football player. He doesn't have the greatest arm, he's not very big, but he's fast, he's tough and he's a winner. He's got the intangibles that excite you. In big play moments, he's one of those guys that just finds a way to get things done.

We think of Pete as more of a thrower and Bryant as a runner, is Josh a little bit of both?

Yeah, I think he's your typical spread quarterback. He can throw it, run it, he gets rid of it quick; he was a baseball player, so he can catch and throw in a hurry, which you need at that position in our offense — doing what we call, 'turning the double play,' where you catch the snap and throw a quick bubble screen or something. Josh understands that and they ran a lot of option at his high school, so he's a good runner.

Given that everybody wanted [NIU quarterback] Jordan Lynch to play defensive back, does it surprise you that nobody wanted Josh? He said it was only Division II schools that offered him.

They're similar type guys. … But that does surprise me. When we got here and watched his film — because of [high school teammate] Bra'Lon Cherry, we saw a lot of their film — and he was just a football player.

Did it help him to have a former teammate in Cherry coming here to NC State?

It helped because of how much film I watched on New Bern. Had I not been thrown in to where I was recruiting a New Bern player, I probably wouldn't have watched as much of that tape, but that got my eyes on it and you couldn't help but notice how much he did. Then in the state championship game, I was sitting in my office when they were playing and he had a great game.

It was kind of hard to miss him then?

Yeah.

How did you think your specials teams' coverage and return groups performed on Saturday?

The kickoff coverage was outstanding, I thought. There was one punt we didn't cover well and it was a mis-hit ball where we tried to pin the ball to a certain part of the field and he kicked it to the opposite side of the field. That didn't help our coverage and part of that was on the punt. The punt coverage can be better. I think Wil [Baumann] pressed a little bit, he's been punting really well this week, and that's a big part of that unit — just the hangtime that he gets on the football to allow our coverage to get down there.


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