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October 23, 2013

Q&A: Wolfpack take advantage of bye week




Florida State is ranked No. 3 in the country for the second-straight year against NC State. The Wolfpack shocked the Seminoles 17-16 in Raleigh, N.C., last year.

NC State first-year coach Dave Doeren answered a variety of questions Wednesday during the ACC teleconference. Here is a transcript of what he said:

Opening statement:

"Obviously we're playing a great football team. Coach [Jimbo] Fisher has done a tremendous job, not only coaching but developing, recruiting. Our guys are excited about the opportunity.

"Coming off a bye week, we are going to get a few guys back from the injury reserve. We know we're up against a very good team in their house. We have to play very well together and block out of noise and focus on just our jobs and play within ourselves. We look forward to that challenge and opportunity."

Is there really anything to a trap game? Is there such a thing? In a situation like yours where you're catching Florida State between Clemson and Miami, what can you do to maximize that?

"To answer your question, they're having Bobby Bowden Day where he is spiking the spear at midfield with all his former players. I think they've done a good job of eliminating the trap game with their marketing.

"Their program is playing at an extremely high level. We get our starting quarterback back this week, trying to get back into the flow of things with him as our leader at that position. We're not healthy as a football team, but we're healthier than we were the last two games.

"We can't really worry about how they play as much as what we have to do to have a chance to win. That's where our focus has been."

When you played Clemson, you were able to stay in the game. You gave them a lot of problems with your pass-rush. Can you see that happening this week or is that going to be a key to happen this week?

"Obviously, in order to get a quarterback out of rhythm, there's a couple of things that have to happen. There's pressure that has to be applied, whether it's mental pressure through different looks you can give or physical pressure by hitting him and hopefully sacking him, forcing either errant throws for incompletions or poor throws for interceptions.

"In order to be in the game with them we have to do that. He's operating at over 70 percent completion rate. The biggest thing that you see is their receivers do such a good job after the catch of making plays on a six-yard curl route, turning it into an 80-yard touchdown. Those are the things that make his numbers go off the charts, the timing and rhythm after the catch.

"We have to try to prevent those easy throws, do a good job of mixing things up, hoping we can get him where he's holding it one second longer than he used to. Our defensive line, we have good depth there. That did help us in several games earlier in the season before we had injuries."

Have you seen on film any situation where he seemed flustered or bothered by the pressure?

"Not really. I mean, the guy against the blitz is actually completing more balls than not. When he scrambles, he throws the ball well. His receivers find a way to get open. He's doing a heck of a job. The personnel around him doesn't hurt him."

You're getting your quarterback Brandon Mitchell back. Is it any kind of advantage in the sense they don't have a good book on him?

"Yeah, I mean, a little bit. Seems like we followed Clemson on every team we've played here for a while. That's good and bad. We're so similar systematically that teams are able to carry over game plans.

"Brandon is a mobile guy that can throw the ball extremely well. I'm not sure if they'll stray far away from what they did last week from a systematic standpoint against Clemson just because we're very similar in what we do from a formation and run game standpoint."

Since you had the week off, did you watch the Clemson-Florida State game? As a coach, is it tough to watch when one team is getting a fairly good beating?

"Yes, I watch every game I can. Of course I watched the team we're playing next when they played.

"As far as it being tough, the game got out of hand early. Obviously the turnovers, missed opportunities hurt Clemson. Florida State operated extremely well. You see it in a lot of the games. It just happened earlier in that one.

"I think they're outscoring their opponents like 230 to 20 in the second and third quarters combined. You've got to do a really good job of being in it early and then staying in it. They do a nice job of making explosive plays after they see how you're playing them. Watching those games doesn't change the fact they've done it to about every team they've played."

Using the week off with some of your young players, you have an awful lot of freshmen that are playing key roles. How valuable is it for them to have that week off? Can you talk about who may have benefited?

"Absolutely. During the bye week on that Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we had four developmental practices. All the kids that were redshirting, young guys that needed it. Spent a lot of time on fundamentals. Had some inside drills, one-on-one, some team, a live scrimmage with some of them.

"Not only is it fun for them and the coaches, but the development. Obviously if you go to a bowl game, you get to do that multiple times. That's a great week for us to kind of spend time with those guys that have just been helping us on the scout team for the last seven weeks."

Any individuals that may have really benefited from that?

"Johnathan Alston and Brandon Mitchell were a part of that. Those two guys did a really nice job. They stand out to me. Sean Paul, one of our freshman. Dravious Wright. They play on special teams. They got more reps defensively. That will help us down the road, especially if we have another injury back there."



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