"That's big," Doeren responded when asked about being able to start his defense with McGill and Teal. "If the middle of your defense is strong you've got a chance, and then you can go out to the corners and cover... I feel good about the inside and the outside part.
"We just have to get the outside 'backers, the safeties, and the defensive ends playing at the same level."
"I feel like we're one of the oldest positions on the team," said Teal. "Guys look to us for energy. So, I think we can be leaders."
Teal had a breakthrough sophomore season for the Wolfpack. The 6-foot-1, 312-pounder started 12 of 13 games, finishing with 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and 13 quarterback pressures.
"I have to keep getting better," said Teal. "I'm working hard to try and improve on last season."
Teal has certainly improved his conditioning. He played last season close to 330 pounds, but he has shed nearly 20 pounds in the offseason. He believes it will make him a more explosive and durable player.
"Coming off the season I felt a little sluggish," he said. "I've worked on my body a lot. I tried to add more muscle and cut down on my body fat, and I've done that.
"I owe a lot of credit to the strength and conditioning program."
It also helps to be working out each day against NC State's new uptempo, spread offense. Teal has his own way of describing what the Wolfpack is trying to do on offense.
"To me, it's like Clemson on steroids," he said, laughing. "The ball is coming at you from all different angles, and it's non-stop. If you don't defend your gap they can cutback on you and they're gone. You've got to be disciplined and play your role.
"It's very fast, quick snaps, and there are a lot of smoke and mirrors. If you're not disciplined, they are going to gas you for a lot of yards. Last year it was more of a pro-style offense and you kind of knew what was coming."
Fundamentally, Teal believes he has also improved. He says a lot of the credit for that goes to first-year defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen.
"Coach Nielsen has been great. He brings a lot of energy. He holds us accountable for our mistakes, and he takes us back to the fundamentals. I think I'm better now there too."
At the end of the day, Teal is confident in his group... the defense. He believes they can be the strength of NC State in 2013.
"I definitely do feel that way," he said. "We have experience up front, and guys like Dontae Johnson and Juston Burris back in the secondary. They are very skilled at their positions and bring a lot of energy.
"Overall, I think we're adjusting well to the new coaches and have picked up the new defense. I'm excited about it."