An Influx Of Talent

NC State's defense was far superior to the Wolfpack's offense during spring practice, even head coach Dave Doeren openly admits that as factual.

NC State's defense was far superior to the Wolfpack's offense during spring practice, even head coach Dave Doeren openly admits that as factual.

"I think our offense had a tougher job than our defense did this spring," said Doeren. "They had to learn new terminology with more new players and had to do it against a more experienced group on defense that had better depth than our offense did.

"Our defense played better than our offense, is that because our defense is better or because our offense isn't very good? I don't know."

Obviously there is change on both sides of the ball when you bring in a new coaching staff, but the Wolfpack defense benefited from, at least on the surface, running a 4-3 scheme under Dave Huxtable that is comparable to former defensive coordinator Mike Archer's system.

Offensively, the changes were much more dramatic. The Wolfpack will no longer be running a pro-style offense. Now they are going with a fast-paced, no-huddle, spread attack that features various formations and sets with new terminology.

"I would say it's more of the same elements just used differently," Pack wideout Bryan Underwood said during spring practice. "More flexible rules. You may have a go-route where you had to strictly release outside last year, but this year we can do what we want... something like that.

"The rules are more flexible but there are still specific things you have to do."

Doeren, a former defensive coordinator, is looking to utilize an offense capable of giving the defensive coordinators he faces this fall severe headaches.

"The offense is a hybrid," he said. "It's a no-huddle. It's Wisconsin and Oregon combined. It's power, it's passes with all the things that go into the spread and making people play in space. I was fortunate that Northern Illinois ran the pistol before I got there, so part of what I wanted to do they were already doing.

"TCU was the team I played in the Rose Bowl the year I got that job, and defending their offense you could tell the head coach was a defensive coach because he made their offense do everything that defensive coaches hate to defend. I really have a lot of respect for Gary Patterson and I said I'm going to write down all the stuff that makes this game difficult."

Perhaps the biggest addition for NC State's offense following spring practice is an infusion of talent through recruiting that Doeren believes will truly help his unit improve.

"We signed three tailbacks, six receivers, and we added three quarterbacks to the roster," he said. "We have two junior college offensive linemen who weren't there for the spring. Asa Watson was hurt for the whole spring.

"I think you'll see a better offense. Is it good enough to win the conference? I have no idea, but it will be a hell of a lot better than what you saw in the spring by the end of the 29 practices."

For Doeren, the additional depth will not only create competition, but also make the current players better because they will have to play less.

"To be honest with you, I think our offense will improve dramatically with the number of skill players we've recruited," he stated. "It's not that they are going to play more than the other guys, but they'll add depth, which will make our other guys better. If you can have depth you have a better chance to be better for longer, and that's the thing we didn't have on offense this spring.

"If I'm Quintin Payton, Bryan Underwood, or Rashard Smith, we just added six receivers to the corps, and they don't have to run as many routes per day which means they are fresher for the number of days they are out there."

With the influx of talent and the return of Watson, Doeren seems optimistic about his offense. During fall camp they will continue to battle with the defense, a matchup he is looking forward to.

"I'm excited to see the competition continue," he said. "I think coming out of spring we had more talent on our defense returning with experience.

"The defensive is ahead of the offense, and I think the mentality that our guys bring to work everyday is outstanding."

Pack Pride Top Stories