Huxtable Optimistic About Future

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Dave Huxtable has 30+ years coaching experience on the collegiate level, and most recently he was the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh where he had a successful season in 2012.

During the 2012 regular season, the Panthers ranked 16th in the NCAA in total defense (325.8), 21st in scoring defense (19.7), 24th in rushing defense (129.1) and 25th in passing defense (196.8).

It was Huxtable's first season at Pittsburgh, but he certainly did enough to catch the eye of new NC State head coach Dave Doeren.

"Dave is an ACC veteran coach with a great track record of fundamentally sound, tough, hard-nosed defenses," said Doeren when Huxtable was hired. "He and I have similar defensive philosophies. We know a lot of the same people and they all say that he is tremendous as a coach, a person and a technician.

"He has a great track record recruiting in the state of Florida from his time at UCF, in Atlanta from his time at Georgia Tech and throughout the south. He also has experience in the state of North Carolina from his time at UNC."

According to Huxtable, the decision to come to Raleigh was easy because of the respect he has for Doeren and his accomplishments.

"Coach Doeren was huge in my decision," said Huxtable. "I know of his background and he's a tremendous coach. He's a champion in all ways and the coaching staff he has put together is outstanding."

With stints at Georgia Tech, ECU, North Carolina, UCF, Wisconsin, and Pittsburgh on his resume, Huxtable has spent time on various coaching staffs. When he talks about the coaches at NC State, you really get a sense for his belief in their ability to get the job done.

"This is an extremely close coaching staff," he stated. "Everybody has each other's back. I've never seen a group of guys come together as quickly as we did... jumped right in like a bunch of pitbulls.

"The sharks smell blood in the water, just going out and recruiting. It's relentless... this staff's work ethic is relentless."

Spring practice is underway and Huxtable is busy installing his defense in as well as instructing the linebackers. He is expected to implement a 4-3 scheme, which is what the previous staff ran at NC State.

"There is going to be some adjustments for the players," he said. "Especially in terms of terminology. What we call apples they may have called oranges, but there will be some carry over.

"Overall, I've been pleased with the guys. It is a tremendous group of guys that are passionate about the game. Tremendous character... and I'm not blowing smoke. I mean what I say. These guys are giving themselves to the coaches and working extremely hard."

"I think our strength coaches have done a great job in the offseason," he added. "They did a tremendous job with them and the guys worked hard. It's exciting being out here with them to see what they are all about."

He will have some development to do at linebacker. NC State lost starting middle linebacker Sterling Lucas to graduation, and he is currently an assistant strength coach for the Wolfpack. Also, starting weakside linebacker Rickey Dowdy is no longer in the program so the Pack must replace two starters from last year's team.

"It's still a process, but we're waiting to see some things," said Huxtable. "I believe D.J. Green and Rod Noel have taken a big step forward and are showing leadership qualities.

"Like I said, it's a process at the position. Every day we're out here it's going to get better and better."

Huxtable knows that a program isn't built in a single practice, game, or season. It takes some time, but the potential he sees at NC State gives him a tremendous amount of optimism for the future.

"The potential here at NC State is so huge under the leadership of coach Doeren," he said. "With the facilities we have the ability this staff has to recruit, I think it's unlimited what we can do here."

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