NC State Wolfpack football Dave Doeren radio show recap
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Dave Doeren radio show recap

The weekly radio show begins with NC State’s popular former linebacker and current strength and conditioning coordinator Dantonio “Thunder” Burnette.

Burnette admits he still gets the urge when watching a scrimmage to jump out there and play a few more snaps, speculating he has five snaps still in him. He gets goose bumps on game day, but once he gets to the sideline he calms down.

• His nickname was given to him in the eighth grade. That year they took the eighth graders to the high school for spring football. When he hit the running back, someone said, “He’s bringing the thunder.” It stuck through college.

• It’s been a huge difference to get back to in-person conditioning after everything they went through last year. Burnette believes in a very hands-on approach with the players, and head coach Dave Doeren also subscribes to that.

• They go over the linebackers how it started vs. how it is photos. Burnette noted body composition is a big thing in their program, and they do a lot of measuring to see how best their frame can be. Sophomore Drake Thomas lost weight, for instance and has leaned out.

Thomas’ older brother Thayer Thomas, a redshirt junior went from 175 to 193 pounds in one year.

Burnette said it isn’t body building, it’s building up the body.

• They check body weight every single day going into practice and out. If they lose more than 2.5 percent, they have to reweigh. If a player loses too much weight, they are alerted so that they can get back to where they need to be or they are not allowed to practice.

They are also test their hydration levels. They have learned that the symptoms of dehydration and concussions are similar.

• It was very impressive to see redshirt sophomore linebacker Payton Wilson run 22.3 miles per hour. They can remember when he sprinted that day and they were eager to see what his speed was because they knew it was going to be a big number.

Dave Doeren segment

NC State Wolfpack football coach Dave Doeren
Doeren said his team vaccination rate is over 90 percent. (Ken Martin/The Wolfpacker)

Head coach Dave Doeren then joins the show, which is being recorded in the radio broadcast booth in Vaughn Towers. Doeren confesses he has walked around Vaughn Towers and seen the room but has never spent much time in it.

As far as fall camp, “it’s been a really good camp.” Doeren said it’s been hard with the weather, and they have not been outside probably as much as they want. He noted that it was 98 degrees on Tuesday on the field, the hardest day yet.

• The message going into camp was after turning four wins into eight in 2020, turn it into 12 this year. They then discussed how to do that, and one area was cleaning up the penalties. Another is getting more turnovers on defense. Winning the explosive plays and strong special teams are the other two elements they have focused on this preseason.

Discipline is probably what the players would acknowledge has been the biggest focus.

• They have been pulling back recently so that they can be fresher for the opener. Tuesday’s practice was cut back to 20 periods. They had a recovery day on Wednesday and then two more good practices on Thursday and Friday before really working on game week.

• Scrimmage two only had two penalties and was a big improvement over the first in that area. After a back-and-forth scrimmage in the first one, the defense did better in the second, but Doeren noted that’s to be expected and would be more worrisome otherwise.

There were no fumble issues in the second scrimmage, either.

• The competition has been very good in the secondary. Marshall transfer Derrek Pitts and Florida State transfer Cyrus Fagan have been really good, and having corners senior Chris Ingram and junior Teshaun Smith back really helps. They have been a little cautious with those two since they are coming back from lengthy injuries.

Overall, Doeren’s really excited to see who the starters are and where they end up.

• Florida State defensive line transfer Cory Durden is a really good football player and should help.

• Even experienced starters know they have to show up to keep their jobs.

• What Doeren really enjoys about this team is that the older players coaching other guys, and not just within the position groups. They do a good job of discussing the bigger picture on and off the field.

• Doeren compliments how former head coaches Tom O’Brien and Chuck Amato did a very good job of bringing former players back, and he has tried to continue that tradition. His hope for the current players is that they can leave a legacy like Bradley Chubb and Garrett Bradbury as examples.

• Doeren cautions that no one should assume anything just because an older player is back, and then he adds that every other team has a bunch of super seniors.

• The players work so hard, putting in long hours, and feeling the fan base in the tunnel and coming out to the fireworks is the payoff. For Doeren, he really wants that for his players and hopes the fans show up in force after a year away from Carter-Finley.

• Offensive coordinator Tim Beck and his staff deserve a lot of credit for being able to play well last year despite all that they went through. The hope is that Beck's continuity will pay off in 2021.

• They watched what happened to baseball at the College World Series, and they felt for them. They did use it as a teachable moment. They have brought in doctors to discuss the vaccine with players both individually and collectively. They should be close to a 100 percent vaccination rate in the next week or so. They are above 90 percent now.

• Doeren is not sure why both ACC teams would get a loss if both teams can’t play because of COVID.

• Doeren does believe in the vaccine, but he cannot make anybody take it. They educate and let them know their choices and what are the ramifications. He will support and love any player regardless of the decision, even if he may not agree with it.

• Neither Ryan Finley or Jacoby Brissett had a two-minute drive like redshirt sophomore quarterback Devin Leary had at Pittsburgh. They are hopeful that he will have the season they are looking for in 2021.

• Redshirt freshman guard/center Dylan McMahon has a great future ahead of him. They like his toughness, and they think he is going to be a great center once Grant Gibson leaves. McMahon is really strong in the weight room.

• They have a mix of guys who are naturally fast, but guys that have worked on being really fast. The new technology Burnette referred to in his segment that allows them to take those type of measurements have been very helpful.

• Freshman running back Demie Sumo is consistent and talented. He has the vision and speed. He’s also thick and a “mean runner.” Sumo has a lot of fun skills to watch as a running back. The first impressions had a wow factor to it and he’s going to be good if he can stay on track.

• Doeren and his wife went to Montana for a week over the summer by themselves, and Doeren got to see some of his old players he coached on Montana's national championship team 20 years ago. They are doing a celebration in the fall, but because Doeren could not make it he asked one of the former starting safeties to get some guys together. Doeren clearly had a lot of fun on the trip.

• Doeren wants his guys to practice in front a crowd before the game next Thursday, which is why they have an open practice this Saturday evening.

• USF is going to be much improved after going 1-8 last year. They’ve added some transfers and have a lot of players back who want to rebound after a tough season a year ago. South Florida will have good speed on the field.


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