NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media following Wednesday's practice to discuss several subjects. A full transcript of everything the coach had to say is below:
Freshman Johnathan Alston was back returning kicks last game, what did you see from him in practice and also in that game?
When he gets the ball, he's a north and south guy. He's got no fear and he's been asking all year if he can be the guy. We've tried a couple of different people and haven't had a lot of luck, so I think he's a good part for what we're looking for. We need a north-south guy who will make a decision and run hard, now we need to block better for that guy.
Two of the things you talked about in the preseason for your offense was controlling the tempo and running the football. Through three games, how are those things?
I think the tempo part of it has been good. We've been able to slow it down with some motion and shifting, and we've been able to speed it up with some of the fastball stuff that we do.
As far as the run game, it's a work in progress. I think we're running the ball efficiently, we're averaging over four yards per run, but we need more explosive runs. We need to get more runs over the 10-yard variety. We've had some with our jet [sweep] game, but we need to get more from the tailbacks.
Everyone is a critic, but it seems like when you call plays, you call them for the personnel in the game. For example,Shadrach Thornton only touching the ball twice on Thursday or Bryan Underwood and the touches he has had in the first three games. Is it a philosophical approach?
No, we need to use our players, but there are some things going on out of here that you guys aren't privileged to. Shad's got to earn it. He's done a good job of that, but I'm not handing things over to people that made mistakes in the offseason. They've got to prove they deserve the ball. We gave him a chance on kickoff return a couple of weeks ago and he dropped it. He's going to grow up and he's going to become a man. He's a good athlete, nobody argues with that, but there's more than just being a good athlete to getting the football on our team.
As far as Underwood, we need to get him more touches. I think he showed he's an explosive player. He also could've made a big catch on the sideline on play three and didn't, that would've been a huge play in the game.
Matt [Canada] does want to get the playmakers the ball, to answer your question. Sometimes when you're going fast, that's probably the negative of it - you can't always have in the game who you want because you're trying to keep them subbing. If you're out there with a certain guy and you want to go fast, that's the negative because that's who gets it. But there are times where he'll say, "give me Underwood or give me so-and-so," and we'll get those guys the ball where we want to.
Have you been pleased with the depth at wide receiver with all of the young guys playing?
Yeah, we knew coming into the season that we were going to have young mistakes at a couple of position groups. Like I told them yesterday, I said, "you're not freshmen any more. You've played three games. You've played on the national stage, you've been on national T.V., you came back and won a game," so those guys have to play a little bit older than they should be.
I think they're excited about it. I know [freshman receiver Jumichael] Ramos is excited about the opportunity he has this week. We look forward to seeing him out there.
How do you feel Art Norman has been playing for you?
Really solid, consistent.
How much does having quarterback Jacoby Brissett on the scout team how the defense?
It helps a lot with the velocity of the football that they're having to play against in the pass game and the leadership he brings just to giving a good look. He demands that the scout team plays hard and it helps the defensive look.
After a game like Clemson, do you take more out of the positives or do you go back and look at the mistakes?
I think, win or lose, you try to get the same things - you try to correct your mistakes and grow on the positive things you're doing. It just hurts more when you lose. Even when you win, we learned a lot from the Richmond game. We made a lot of mistakes there. I don't really look at the mistakes any differently from a win or a loss - it's why did you make them and how can we keep you from doing it again?
On that long drive against Clemson, when Pete Thomas makes the plays that he did, that has to encourage you.
I mean yeah, you've got to appreciate how hard Pete plays. He's scrambling, he's running through guys, he's making clutch throws on fourth downs. He's giving us everything he has. As he plays, he's going to get better and better, all quarterbacks do.
What does it say about him that it seems like his play gets better as the games go on?
It should. He's going to know their game plan by the time you get done with the second quarter. You're going to see what their plan was and Coach Canada and him get on the phones, "their plan is this way, here's what we need to do, are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
I think as the game goes on, you just adjust your plan to the defensive schemes you're getting. Pete's been able to do that.