Doeren: Tempo Can Be A Weapon

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State's Dave Doeren met with the media following Tuesday's morning practice.

Dave Doeren

The spring game is close... is it where you have hoped it would be?
I think our defense has seen our offense for 12 practices and looks like it. They know the plays, that's kind of expected, but those guys have more experience on that side of the ball.

I think our receivers made a few strides here the last couple of weeks.

The conditioning that goes along with the pace that we want to play at is a work-in-progress. We're finally at the point where we're running everywhere.

There is the fatigue factor that's less and less, and that's big. The guys are starting to understand the tempo and what it means. It's a weapon if you use it the right way.

How much have you tried to put in this spring?
We put in quite a bit because we wanted to see what they could and couldn't do.

There is a fine line to doing too many things and not allowing your kids to play fast, but when you don't know your personnel like we didn't, you kind of want to throw a lot out there and see what they can do.

Now we can scale things to fit maybe our personnel better.

What's it going to be like to see the alumni back?
I'm excited for that. I've never worked, even at USC that has a great alumni base, at a place that really has an event as well-attended as this is going to be.

I'm excited for that.

What have you seen from Bryan Underwood?
Bryan does a lot of things after he gets the ball in his hands that excites you because of his speed. He's a small guy that needs to play bigger in the passing game.

I think coming off the season he had, it's normal to expect to be good, but you've got to work. It doesn't matter what you did last year.

He's starting to show up more and more. I think he's a guy who likes Saturdays more than he does Tuesdays, too. But, we'll get him there.

Now that you've seen what you have, do you have an idea of what the season might be like?
It's hard for me to say without having been in the conference for a year and really seeing what we're up against.

I have a better idea of what our team is, that's for sure. I can't make any predictions. I just want to make it through Saturday without getting anybody injured right now.

How have the quarterbacks progressed through the spring?
They are getting better. I told someone the other day, I don't think it's fair to make a decision on a guy who doesn't know your offense yet. We have to give those kids a chance to play football without thinking.

We're not there yet, but I do see them getting better. Some of the throws made here in the last four periods of practice were some not made early on. In our first scrimmage we overthrew like five wide open guys, and today we were hitting guys so there is progress for sure.

Have any of the young linebackers stepped up?
Yes, M.J. [Salahuddin] has really had a solid spring. I'm really impressed with what he brings.

It's not just the fact that he can run and hit. He really loves playing football.

How much will Jacoby play in the spring game?
We haven't talked about it yet, but I'm sure we'll get all three of those guys some reps. I'd like to see him get out there.

Jarvis Byrd... what have you seen from him?
He's playing safety right now with the one's.

Jarvis is a senior that... he loves football, and he's lost football. Guys that lose the game truly understand how precious it is, and when they become seniors I think you see a new light.

It's fun to see him. He's a guy we moved after the fourth practice, and it's taken him a while to get comfortable I think and now he's playing better.

Quickness-wise, speed-wise, does he look like a guy playing on two bad legs?
No, not at all.

It was more a deal of getting our best four out there. We liked what was going on at corner with Dontae [Johnson] and [Juston] Burris, and we felt like Byrd would be a good safety as far as matching up with slot receivers with some of the things we do in coverage.

So, having a corner at safety is something I've done before, and it helps you quite a bit from a matchup standpoint.

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