To say that NC State has not enjoyed much luck at Wake Forest in football over the past decade would be an understatement. That's because NCSU has enjoyed zero success there since squeaking out a 17-14 win in 2001, their only win in Winston-Salem in the last eight games.
NCSU will try to break that streak when they go on the road for the first time this season with Saturday's 3:30 p.m., kickoff against the Deacs at BB&T Field.
"You learn a lot about your team when you are on the road," Doeren noted. "I'm excited to take a road trip with them.
"I know it's a tough place to play for whatever reason, our job obviously is to make our team a better road team than they've been there."
The first-year Pack coach said that if the team he inherited had dropped two in a row or something like that at a particular venue, he wouldn't even think twice about it. However, when Philip Rivers was State's last quarterback to win at Wake Forest, you can't ignore a skid like that.
"There have been some very good football teams at State that have goen up there with really good quarterbacks and come home not feeling good," he said. "There's a reason that seven of the last eight teams that have been up there haven't won. I know every coach for probably the last three or four times has probably emphasized that.
"You can't be a great program and lose your road games and win your home games. You've got to be able to take your show on the road. I think that's something I take pride in being able to do. This will be my first opportunity, we'll see how it goes with our guys."
Doeren and the coaching staff will make some tweaks to the team's normal preparations for the first road game of the season, but they are minor things, like stretching on the opposite end of the field to open practice. Other than that, it's just the team relying on themselves to get the energy they can normally draw from the Carter-Finley faithful.
"You've got to bring the juice," he noted. "You've got to bring all of the energy because your fans aren't there to give it to you. You've got to basically play where all that energy is bottled up inside of you. You take pride in the fact that it's your against however many thousand. You look forward to that."
- Doeren said that opening-game starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell, a fifth-year senior, is off crutches after an X-ray showed his foot has healed enough for him to begin full-weight walking. Mitchell will spend this week sprinting in the pool to build up strength and conditioning as he works his way back into the lineup. There is hope that Mitchell may be ready to return to the lineup Oct. 12 when Syracuse comes to Carter-Finley Stadium.
"He got good news, his last X-ray showed a lot of healing," Doeren noted. "This is a big week for him, being off crutches and bearing weight again. There's hope for next week.
"When they tell me he can start practicing, he'll start practicing."
- On other injury news, freshman receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling was called "questionable" by Doeren, who added that he had not received his daily update from the trainers before meeting with the media.
Valdes-Scantling caught 14 passes for 201 yards in State's first three games but missed the Central Michigan contest with a leg injury. Doeren said that Valdes-Scantling felt much better Sunday.
Senior left tackle Rob Crisp and fifth-year senior defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop may be more doubtful. Neither was on the two-deep depth chart released Monday by NC State, and Doeren said that Cato-Bishop, "is probably a week away."
- Many fans rejoiced after sophomore running back Shadrach Thornton was listed as the starter on the new depth chart. Doeren noted there is still an ongoing competition at the position, but Thornton, who led the team in rushing on Saturday, is beginning to distance himself from the redshirt junior Tony Creecy and rookie Matt Dayes.
"I think Shad is working himself back in like a lot of people probably thought would happen, but it's still a work in progress from a coaching standpoint," Doeren said. "He's made progress, he's a good down-hill runner, but it's the consistency of it we want to see.
"Matt is still making some rookie mistakes and Tony is a very valuable guy because of how smart he is. He knows everything. I think there's value in all three of them and I've been through a season where I've used five tailbacks before. I know in eight or nine games, or if we get to a postseason game, we're going to need them all. We'll just see where it goes, but I like having depth at that position, I think it's important."
- There were several other changes on the updated NC State depth chart. The only 'Or's remaining are at back-up quarterback (Bryant Shirreffs or Josh Taylor); back-up running back (Tony Creecy or Matt Dayes), fullback (Ryan Cheek or Tyler Purvis), back-up X receiver (Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Jumichael Ramos) and starting left cornerback (Dontae Johnson or Jack Tocho).