Dave Doeren breaks down the Wolfpack offense
NC State football head coach Dave Doeren is only one week into preseason camp, and much is left to be discovered. The team had its first live scrimmage Saturday, each string getting 25-30 snaps. That will increase to around 60 next Saturday in scrimmage No. 2.
Doeren admitted that there is not a whole lot of competition taking place for starting jobs, but the coaching staff is actively working to improve the depth. Throughout his 20-minute press conference, Doeren touched on every spot on the roster.
“We definitely feel like we are in a more competitive place than we have been,” he concluded.
Here are his thoughts on the offensive side of the ball, position by position:
On difference between redshirt junior Ryan Finley this year and last:
“He has a dry sense of humor, but he’s very funny. He likes to joke around when he’s not in drills. Extremely intelligent, puts a lot of time in outside of the mandatory time watching film. He’s so far along academically with where he’s at coming in as a graduate, finishing one degree and starting another one. He’s in a different place than most players can be.
"I think he worked really hard this summer on a couple of things, and you’re seeing it. One is his relationships with his teammates, after showing up when he didn’t have one [last year] and now having the 12 months you can tell that he has a totally different vibe with the guys. They respect him, they like him, both sides of the ball. … Two is his weight. He was under 190 pounds when he got here, now he’s over 210 and carrying it well. His deep ball accuracy is something he was really hard on himself about last year, and he has thrown it really well in camp.”
On redshirt junior Jalan McClendon’s role:
“Jalan is trying to learn everything so he can do the job. In his mind he is competing every day to be the starting quarterback and be ready for that opportunity when it comes. When we get to our first game week … we will get a feel for the packages [he is involved in]. … Jalan has obviously proven himself as a runner, and that’s something we need to continue to have.”
“I think [junior] Reggie [Gallaspy] has really changed his body in a good way. He’s down to 223 from 235 a year ago, and he’s running like it. [Junior] Nyheim [Hines] is explosive and playing really fast in the backfield. You see he’s a lot more comfortable there. [Senior H-back Jaylen Samuels] has done some good things at receiver, tight end and in the backfield for us. His ability to know and execute multiple positions has been impressive.”
On Hines’ speed as a big-play threat:
“You miss him on a run, it’s an explosive play. I think the thing that is also hard is because of his height he’s hard to see in there. He’s coming behind [redshirt junior tackle] Will Richardson, who’s 6-6, and you got [redshirt junior guard] Terronne Prescod in a combination scheme or whatever, and he pops that hole and cuts back, he’s really dangerous back there. … He doesn’t look at himself as a little back. He looks at himself as a guy who can run people over, too, and I like that about him.”
On fifth-year senior JuMichael Ramos’ return:
“He spoke last night to the team — we’re letting the seniors talk at night just about what it’s like to be a senior — and was very emotional. It’s been a hard journey getting back to the field. I’m not even sure what he thought he'd be able to do, and he made three really nice catches in practice the other day. I think that was huge for him from a mental standpoint, and it’s great for our team to see him to do that.”
On if redshirt freshman C.J. Riley is one to watch:
“There is definitely a place for him. We have him and Ramos that can also play outside. [Redshirt junior] Steph [Louis] played some inside last year. You have [fifth-year senior] Gavin Locklear and [redshirt sophomore] Jakobi Meyers who are also playing well in the slot. That’s a good thing. If you can have that rotation, especially when you get into tempo where you can run three new guys in and they are fresh and don’t drop off in production.
"C.J. showed some signs that he could be really tough to defend, not just because of his height but he gets in and out of his breaks better than you’d expect a tall guy like him.”
“Probably one area we need to see it happen as we move forward is the backups at tight end behind [senior] Cole Cook. We have [redshirt freshmen] Dylan Autenrieth and Dylan Parham, who we moved from quarterback to tight end, had a really nice play yesterday. He caught a route and broke it for a touchdown, broke a few tackles. It’s good to see him be physical.”
“I thought [redshirt freshman] Justin Witt did some good things on the offensive line. With him and [classmate] Joe Sculthorpe, you are talking about guys who were not on the field last year that we’re trying to really gauge. Both of those kids, I thought ... played well.”
On the rotation up front this year:
“I think most O-line coaches I‘ve worked with don’t rotate a whole lot, even if there is a full 10 because they feel like as the game goes on they get used to who they are playing against and the speed of it and they get better. I do know that we need to have, in case of injuries, more guys that we can plug.
"I think Sculthorpe and Witt definitely have the trust of their position coach. Joe can play both guard and center. He kind of gives you two guys in one with his versatility. We need to find some more.
"There are guys like [redshirt sophomores] Philip Walton and Aaron Wiltz have both been here a while and need to use this next week to earn that. They’ve improved their size and flexibility. Hopefully they can continue to earn that trust as well because they have what you want stature wise. They are big, and they are tough kids.”
“[Redshirt junior transfer] Carson Wise has done really well as a place kicker in camp so far. We put him in some pressure situations yesterday, and he was 3 for 3. It was good to see him do that. It was the first we really had him in that type of environment.”
On if Wise was still with the ones:
“He definitely started with the ones, hasn’t given it back and has done everything you’d want him to do — be consistent and make the kicks he’s capable of making in pressure situations. The next step is live rush when those guys are trying to block kicks on him, and that will come next Saturday. He’s done everything to stay where he was when he got here, and I don’t expect that to change.
"[Junior] Kyle Bambard has worked really hard, and I think he’ll be our kickoff guy right now. I think that’ll be his role. Carson can do that as well, but Kyle’s got good hang time on his ball and good distance. We’ll see in the next week and a half where it’ll go, but if we had to go now that’s where it would be.”
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