Transcript/audio: Dave Doeren's weekly press conference
Here is a transcript plus audio from NC State football head coach Dave Doeren's weekly press conference.
“I'd like to start off just in thanking our fans and students for the atmosphere and the crowd that we had in the game Saturday night, particularly in the first half. I know right now, it's tough as a fan base as we're suffering through some difficult things, but also know that we've built a heck of a program here. And these kids are working really hard, and the staff is working really hard, and they'll continue to do so.
“Being young and facing the injuries have created a reality of adversity that we're in, and I really believe that adversity shows you your true self. I think for us, it's an opportunity to be our best leaders that we can be.
“I was raised by a great family and had a terrific grandfather, used to say, ‘Tough times never last, but tough people do.’ I think that's a great thing for this program right now. I look forward to continuing to persist and fight and help these guys get better.
“We have a great opportunity this week, and excited to get back on the grass with the guys that were really good in our meetings yesterday. It really comes down to us not beating us. As good as Clemson is, we obviously gave them a lot opportunities with the turnovers we had in the first half. It's about ending every drive with the football and handing the ball to the referee at the end of every play. Whether we finish each drive with a kick, being a punt or a field goal or an extra point, that's got to be what we do to win football games.
“Defensively, we've got to get much better in our tackling fundamentals. The last two weeks, that has not been where we needed to be. It's really just consistency with technique, which allows you to be consistent in your fundamental execution of your plays.
“As far as Louisville goes, have a lot of respect for Scott [Satterfield] and he's doing a great job. They've got good team speed. He inherited a team that had some really good skill players. And those guys make plays for him. Have three receivers that are averaging over 17 yards per catch. You got a young tailback that’s very dynamic. They play hard on both lines of scrimmage.
“Their coaching staff does a great job, and it's going to be a great opportunity. I think for us, it's about just helping whoever's in the lineup to execute as good as they can, given those opportunities to him.
“We got to practice really, really fast and a hard thing for us right now. Our scout teams, you talk about depth, well when you're taking guys from the scout team to play on the upper fields, your scout team doesn't give you the best look all the time. So having that speed against each other, we're going to have to do some good-on-good throughout the week to make sure that we can simulate the speed that we're going have to play against Louisville.
“They've had some turnover issues early in their season. They've gotten that together. They've been relatively healthy as a football team. I do think, personnel-wise, their quarterback’s playing well 62 percent. He’s very good athlete and only three interceptions and 10 touchdowns.
“I mentioned their three receivers, I think Hawkins, Atwell and Fitzpatrick are all really good players. And they do a good job with them on their play action scheme and their jet schemes, getting them the ball where they can make plays. On defense, they've struggled in some games and other games, they've been very productive. They are disruption-base defense. They bring a lot of pressure and give you a lot of looks a lot of different coverage.
“Another week another challenge, another opportunity for our football team.
I think when the season starts you probably map out this is what has to happen for us to be good. Without going through that list. Has there been anything on that list, your list, that has actually come to fruition?
“We're punting and kicking the ball well. Those two things are happening right now on a consistent weekly basis. I think those two, I was worried about our punter going into the season, with A.J. [Cole] being a four-year starter, and I think Trent Gill’s done a great job on kickoffs and on punts and that's been consistent.
“Wasn't sure with all the change in our special teams how that would go, and we're covering kicks better than we have. I think coach [Todd] Goebbel done a really good job with our coverage units. So that's been one area that I was concerned about just because I didn't know what it would look like.
“But a lot of the rest of it has been, I don't know how many different starting lineup combinations we have now but I don't know how you can predict consistency when you're inconsistent in your lineup every week. That's the hardest thing. Nobody sits in their office and preseason, obviously it's a, ‘If this guy gets hurt, what do we do.’ You don't go through what we've been through and have those answers.
“You just got to do the best you can with what the trainer tells you that week and get the guys ready.”
How does linebacker stand right now? Any rhyme or reason to all these injuries or is it just kind of one of those fluke things?
“As far as the linebackers, Isaiah [Moore] will be back this week, so we're excited for him. Drake [Thomas] is fine. CJ Hart's fine. Sounds like Payton [Wilson's] going to be good. Still waiting to find out on Louis [Acceus], haven't heard yet on his status.
“As far as the injuries, I wish it was all one injury so I could tell you that we're not doing something right. But it's not. It's a foot here. It's a shoulder here. It's a knee here. It's a concussion here. Had a lot of different things. It's just, I don't know, one of those things we're going through right now.”
Following up on that, have they mostly been game injuries and I know, Tyrone [Riley] wasn't.
“Yeah, Tyrone's was a got his foot stepped on in an inside drill, and I think we've had two or three practice injuries. But about 90% of them have been on game day, which is really weird. A lot of times, because they're playing so fast, you don't have that.
“Most of the injuries that I've dealt with over the last six years have been training camp where you're having back-to-back-to-back-to-back type work, and they just don't have the recovery aspect like you normally do during the season.”
How much of Louisville’s run game looks like what you try to do with your run game with Dwayne [Ledford] being there and obviously Dwayne being with Scott before he was here?
“The stretch or wide zone, whatever you call it, is their staple, and it was it at App and it was here with Dwayne. They are doing more QB run game because the quarterback’s a good athlete. He can run. He’s the third leading rusher. More 12 personnel than we were able to do here with the bodies that they have there probably, but they’re, I don't know, 75 percent of that run game is stretch which is what we were with Dwayne. So you see a lot of that.
You mentioned Louisville was a disruptive defense, you went back and watch the video tape of the Clemson game, how well did the offensive line and the backs and everybody else pick up the Clemson blitzes?
Could be better. There were times where we won, times where we didn't win. I think you get in a game like that where you're down as fast as we were, they're just going to tee off at that point. Puts you in some tough situations protection-wise, but there was a lot of different things being thrown at two true freshmen. I thought Dylan and Ickey played really well for freshmen in that game. And I was proud of them for how they competed. “There were times where our backs won and times where they didn't, but it wasn't a breeze back there by any means. I think our quarterback did take some shots, showed some toughness and obviously like to keep him up.
When did you find out about Xavier Lyas and what does his departure kind of do to depth?
“He came in and see me saw me on Sunday. Wish him luck, rather talk about the guys that are here. Somebody put a great screenshot out today, though, that their girlfriend was in the portal, I thought that was pretty funny. It’s life, some of these kids don't play as much as they want and how it goes.
“So as far as our depth will be fine. We got enough defensive ends we’ll be good
With the players that you have to work with player development as a process that you can't really speed up, how do you kind of walk that fine line between trying to get the best out of these guys and being patient with them at the same time?
“I don't think we're at a point where patience is really what we're doing. We're trying everything we can do to win the next game with who we're playing with. I told them week three or week four if you're a freshman and he played all games, you're not a freshman anymore,
“It's just a one day at a time. What are they struggling with? How can we make them better, regardless of their age right now, and they're all football players that need to play better. And that's how we're approaching it.”
We all notice the three guys on the same play go down. I don't if you saw it, or well, just give you could share your thoughts.
“Come on, now. I just went by each piling, like how quickly two of them were like, ‘I'm good.’ So I was like, ‘Okay.’ Payton's was the one that we were most concerned about, because the other two guys gave me the thumbs up pretty fast. Yeah, tough deal.
On what goes through his mind when going on the field to see an injured player.
“I'm just going out there to, one, comfort the guy to make sure he's okay. And then second, get information so that I can tell the coaches he's done for the day or, ‘Hey, he'll be back quick.’ Because with where we're at situation-wise, who's going in the game? There's not a long list. So we got to be ready.”
You’ve Stayed positive. Do you think that has a lot to do with your personality? Because everything kind of filters down from the head coach?
“I think so. I mean, I believe in karma. I think if you're a negative person, every day you bring negativity into your life. If I'm negative in that building, then that building has a negative feel. My job is to create an environment where people want to be great. And I've got to be positive to make that happen.
“I also have to be truthful, I have to tell them the facts. But, I think that if you're a positive person, if you have a positive outlook, if you try to find solutions instead of problems that better things happen. That's the approach that I'm taking with our guys.
“There's a lot of days when I'm picking people up because not everybody sees things like that. I think a lot of people like to look at the negativity that's going on out there. To me, it's a problem and a problem. You get to face one way or the other. You can attack it or you can run from it. I like attacking it with the right attitude.”
Got the 730 game Saturday in an obvious short turn around, do you have to make any adjustment this week or that a challenge you face next week?
“We will get back from, I don't know, will be home Saturday night like one. And then we have to leave on Wednesday to play a game. I think it's something that the league should look into: for both teams that play a Thursday short-week game to never have to play a night game on the Saturday prior from a player safety standpoint. I think that would be a wise discussion.
“But we'll have to adjust. Be very difficult to practice with pads on that week. Maybe one day. Our guys have a lot of academic obligations too, so Monday, Tuesday. You wake up on Sunday and it's already game week, Wednesday. It's crazy. short turnaround.
"I should just have Justin come, my trainer, next week. You guys have a lot more fun with him. Have a good day."