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Notes & Nuggets: New NC State Wolfpack football assistants meet the media

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New co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Tony Gibson served as the defensive coordinator at West Virginia the last five seasons.
New co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Tony Gibson served as the defensive coordinator at West Virginia the last five seasons.

NC State hosted a media luncheon, where all four new assistant coaches met with various writers. Here are some notes and The Wolfpacker’s takeaways from the event:

Head Coach Dave Doeren

• On what the four new hires have already brought to the table: “They work hard; they’re good staff guys; they’re positive energy guys. They’re excited to be here, I’m excited they are here. They bring a lot of different ways to look at problems [on] the table because they’ve dealt with them.

“Each of them is different. Obviously, they all have different backgrounds, but anytime you get to bring in a guy that’s as qualified as these four guys, it’s great for your staff. I’ve leaned on them already — sometimes you say, ‘Here’s what we’ve done for the last six years, what do you see?’ All of a sudden you’ve got somebody critiquing you, and it’s great. It gives you good info.”

• Had a funny response when somebody said he went against the “norm” and hired guys that fans didn’t recognize: “I guess I don’t know what the norm is; I don’t go to the Internet to get my list of coaches, so I thought I was looking at a pretty qualified list of guys.

“I’m excited about these guys. I talked to a ton of people. I interviewed 30-some guys in 30 days. There’s been a lot of homework, a lot of phone calls, a lot of time spent. And it’s not just getting a good coach, it’s getting the right fit.

“That’s the thing I’m really excited about — these guys fit our culture. When you’ve been somewhere six years and you’ve recruited every player in the program, you know what the guys need in the locker room.”

• On the QB competition: “All five of the guys that are here are going to get reps the first three to four days [of spring ball], and then we’ll evaluate where they’re at.

“They’ve all earned the opportunity to be out there. You want to reward production and not reward the guys that don’t [produce]. But it’s a long process from now to August.”

Co-Defensive Coordinator And Safeties Coach Tony Gibson

• Joked that he was glad West Virginia didn’t have to play NC State last year. He noted how good quarterback Ryan Finley and his variety of weapons were. He also thinks he can help the NCSU staff prepare for his former employer when the two teams square off in the 2019 season — although he noted he would probably provide a bigger boost to the offensive staff, thanks to his familiarity and intimate involvement with the recruitment of all their defenders.

• Plans to coach from the field, which is where he has spent the majority of his coaching career. Said he has to have someone up in the box that he trusts, but he’d rather be able to look his defenders in the eyes.

He added especially when he plays a lot of man coverage he wants to make sure his players are confident, which he can get a better handle on when on the field.

• It’s easy to see why he is noted as a big-time recruiter. Most football coaches are very guarded and some will even try to put out an intimidating air, but he was very easy to talk to, asked questions to make two-way conversations with a bunch of media types (which he certainly didn't need to do), etc.

He’ll appeal to both recruits — especially thanks to the big-time players he's coached like WVU linebacker David Long — and parents alike.

• Admitted he had a unique contract situation with years remaining on his deal, so said he could be selective about jobs he pursued. The things that appealed to him about NC State included the fact that it’s in the ACC, has great traditions and "they’ve been winning the last few years.”

He also has family near the area, with his daughter independently moving to the area in the last year.

Quarterbacks Coach Kurt Roper

• On true freshman quarterback Ty Evans, who was previously committed to Colorado, where Roper worked last year: “He’s got a lot of quarterback traits. He’s got a great demeanor to him. He’s got a great ability to annunciate and be loud.

“I talk to these guys all the time about playing quarterback; it’s not a position they’ve chosen. It’s a lifestyle, and I think he believes that.”

• On Evans not being the biggest quarterback (listed at 6-2, 197): “He’s got a good frame, and I think the game’s changing. You saw the first pick in the NFL Draft [last year, Baker Mayfield, who is listed at 6-1, 215 pounds] wasn’t the biggest kid in the world.”

• On the four scholarship QBs: “I think they’ve worked hard through the offseason program. I think the guys that have been here have shown the understanding of the system more so than the other guys, which helps.

“I tell these quarterbacks all the time, the first thing we better do is we better be great workers on the field, and they’ve done that through the offseason program. I’ll know more when we start throwing the ball around.”

• Like Gibson, he thinks he landed at a place they can win.

“I think any coach when they start looking at opportunities, looks for opportunities where they can win games," he said. "That’s what this program has done since Coach Doeren has been here, they’ve won games. … We all want to be part of a program that wins so it creates opportunities for all of us.

“Being a part of a program that’s been as successful as Coach Doeren and NC State has been, I’m fortunate.”

• Noted he didn’t have an in-state recruiting area during his six years at Duke, but he was there long enough that he still got to meet several in-state high school coaches.

He said when he goes out on the road, “It’s not my first time through most of the state.”

• The most important trait in a quarterback, to him, is mental toughness.

• Had gone against defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable previously in his career, and had also matched up against former co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Ted Roof, who was still at NC State when Roper was hired. But that was the extent of his relationships with the current NCSU coaches before arriving.

New Coaches Set To Make Recruiting Impact

• NC State offensive line coach John Garrison was known for his recruiting prowess when he was an assistant coach at Nebraska.

Garrison will be in charge of recruiting offensive linemen nationally, in Savannah, Ga., and in a part of New Jersey for NCSU. ranked him among the top 25 assistant coaches for recruiting in the country for the class of 2014, when he coached the offensive line at Nebraska. He subsequently has coached at UNLV and most recently at Florida Atlantic.

Garrison said he has a simple message that he conveys when recruiting for the Wolfpack.

“You walk through our locker room, you see the kid's name on the locker and then where they are from,” Garrison said. “There are a lot of guys from this state. I think the biggest pitch is to come and fight for your home team. I think that is huge.

“A lot of coaches talk about recruiting their home state, and it doesn’t happen. That is something Coach Doeren has done and we’ve had a lot of success doing that. We’ve recruited the guys from this state, developed them and have had a lot of success. That is very exciting.”

• NCSU fullbacks/tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Todd Goebbel is recruiting Fayetteville, N.C., west Georgia and Tampa, Fla., in his new job. He previously was an assistant coach at Marshall. Having the chance to sell recruits on NC State has been fun the last few months.

“When you decide to come to NC State, you will have two things — an opportunity to walk across the stage into a career, and with an NFL contract in the other hand,” Goebbel said. “At the end of the day, if you are here, four, three years, or whatever your expectations or goals are, if you have great opportunities and proof behind it based on what NC State and Coach Doeren have done here, these guys have a chance to walk across the stage and get a meaningful degree.

“With all the internships that are available in Raleigh, North Carolina, right now, they can walk into a career or walk into the NFL based on the development of [strength and conditioning coach] Thunder [Dantonio Burnette] and the rest of this coaching staff.”


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