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October 28, 2013

Dave Doeren prepares for rivalry week

Coming home after falling behind 35-0 in the first quarter at Florida State before eventually losing 49-17 is always difficult, but for NCSU the attention needed to shift quickly away from that contest to what lied ahead.

Head coach Dave Doeren had intended to drive that point home for the players regardless of the outcome of the FSU contest as soon as they returned.

NC State plays UNC Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, and as Doeren learned on day one, it's an important game for NCSU.

"The day I was hired," Doeren recalled. "It was kind of expected. Everyone tells you good luck, three or four people threw in, 'Beat Carolina' to you.

"A lot of fans, a lot of former players, a lot of local citizens that look forward to this week. I've been in a lot of great rivalries, and all of them are really special, every one I've been in. I've been in a bunch of good ones.

"I know this one is unique just because of the proximity, the driving distance, the number of times our players run into their players and our coaches run into their coaches. It makes it a special game."

Doeren is hoping to quickly heal the emotional wounds from the FSU loss, noting that "the guys were down about it, but they weren't out." He met with the players to remind them there is still plenty of goals to achieve.

"We have academic goals, we have off the field goals," Doeren said. "We talked about both of those. We talked about our in-state goals as far as those competitive goals and we talked about postseason play.

"We got a lot to play for with five games left. Within those five games, there's a lot to play for, for our team."

Dave Doeren Oct. 28 PC (11:30)

Other tidbits

- Before the press conference it was announced that senior left tackle Rob Crisp will not return during this season. Crisp, who still has a redshirt season available, has not suited up since playing in the first two games. Although never officially announced by NCSU, it has been reported that Crisp had been suffering from a concussion.

"It's just a tough deal," Doeren said. "We're praying for him and hope he gets better."

- Doeren is optimistic that NC State will see considerable improvement from fifth-year senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell, who played his first collegiate full game as signal caller against the Noles. Mitchell was State's starter in the opener but broke his foot on the opening series and was sidelined for five games afterwards.

Against FSU, Mitchell completed just 17 of 33 passes for 128 yards with two interceptions and was held to a negative-one yard net rushing total. Doeren is hoping that the old football cliche that you see your most improvement from week one to week two will hold true again.

"I know he got better as the game went on," Doeren said. "He learned a lot from that film. I look forward to seeing his improvement in this game, and that should help us.

"I was disappointed [Saturday]. I know he was, too. He didn't take care of the football, and I think he tried to do too much, and doing too much he hurt the team. There was a lot of things we thought we could take advantage of that we didn't. Obviously the scrambling around and flicking the ball out to the side and stuff has to stop."

- The star of the FSU game for NCSU was sophomore tailback Shadrach Thornton, who ran 23 times for 173 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 32 yards. Doeren said that they had seen Thornton's performance "coming in the last three or four weeks in practice."

"Shad was determined, and he learned a lot and grown up a lot this year," Doeren said. "I was proud of him."

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