football Edit

Exclusive Q&A with Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren

With NC State football’s spring practices starting next week, the media was treated to a luncheon, primarily aimed at getting to know the five new assistant coaches on head coach Dave Doeren’s staff.

Doeren also took time for a brief one-on-one interview with The Wolfpacker, and here are highlights from that Q&A.

What are your overall feelings about going into spring practice and where do you feel like you are at right now?

“Anxiousness to see where we’ve improved and all the things the guys have been working so hard on in the offseason, and just how it translates on the practice field. To see how our new coaches work together in football, not just in the office and in recruiting.

“There’s more of just an excitement and anxiousness to get out there with the guys and see where we’re at.”

How have the guys attacked the offseason, and are they motivated after last season?

“It’s a very motivated team. They are learning how to attack things better and better every day. I think it’s been a very good offseason for connecting and competing for our guys. I’m proud of them for the work they have put in, but we’ve got a lot more work to do.”

Do you anticipate a lot of changes with the offense and defense with the new coordinators?

“I think it’s going to be different. We’re not going to run the wishbone, but the way Tim [Beck] puts it together is a lot different than how Eli [Drinkwitz] put it together, how Des [Kitchings] put it together. You’re going to look at the formations at times and say this is the same thing, but how it’s packaged and how it’s built is a lot different. How he can call it is different.

“Hopefully it has the results we are looking for. I think it will. Tim’s a proven play caller. He’s an experienced guy. It’s his system. I asked him to break it apart and not put it back together without knowing what the parts are, so he’s doing that.”

Did the new dead period in February for recruiting help you guys as coaches get the chemistry down?

“It’s actually something that we proposed as an ACC coaching group last year, and I think it has been awesome. Part of the problem that we have with transfers, in my opinion, is our coaches are gone too much. How can you develop our guys and build the relationships with the guys on our own campus when you are being asked to recruit and spend time with kids who don’t play for you? It’s too much in my opinion.

“It was nice to have that window coming into the offseason, going into spring ball where you can just be with your own players and your own coaches.”

With all the injuries you had last season, how do you feel about the health of the team?

“It’s getting better. Some of the guys were surgical, so they won’t be getting back for spring ball as you know. Some of them were, I guess, more rehab-type injuries, and they will be back.

“Out of that long list that we had, I expect to see several of them in spring ball and some of them won’t be.”

NC State Wolfpack football head coach Dave Doeren watches from the sideline.
Doeren brought in five new coaches to help the Wolfpack rebound from a 4-8 season. (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)

Is Devin Leary going to start with the ones at quarterback, and will it be an open competition?

“It’s his job to lose, I think is the best way to say it. I think the guys behind him are going to want to put pressure on him and show that they can do it. I look forward to watching that.

“Devin, obviously we put him in for a reason, and he finished as the guy. All those reps were big for him.”

You have benchmarks you hope to reach this spring?

“We have goals as a staff. There’s a million of them to be honest with you. The bottom line is you want to figure out who your starters are and who your backups are. Who your role players are and your special teams core players. You want to get them in a lot of situations so you’re helping them be ready for the fall. That’s about it.

“Obviously there’s fundamentals and schemes and tackling and all them, but at the end of the day you want to know who your best 22 are.”

What positions do you see being some of the best competition in the spring?

“There’s competition in a lot of our spots. I think the D-line has several guys competing for who the No. 1 is. The running backs, when the corners come back we’ll have it at corner. We don’t have it [at corner] for the spring. Probably those few positions.”

Last question is bigger picture with the ACC endorsing the one-time transfer without a sit-out. Any concerns as a coach about that?

“I think it’s going to happen. For me it’s more not worrying about that it’s going to happen, it’s what is going to be put in place with it to make sure it’s right for college football. The tampering part really concerns me. Are people going to be recruiting off each other’s roster?

“How do we manage our numbers, when you can only sign 25 a year and then after your signing date maybe you lose 10 and now you don’t have any nickels left? What are you going to do when you don’t have enough players? That concerns me. The APR, how are they going to look at that?

“There’s things they have to, in my opinion, package with this to make it a thing that doesn’t hurt college football. As long as they are conscious of the unintended consequences when they package it, then I think it’s great.”


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