Pigskin Preview: NC State Notebook

CARY, N.C. -- Local head coaches Dave Doeren, David Cutcliffe, Larry Fedora, Ruffin McNeill and Henry Frazier III were on-hand today for the 11th annual Triangle Pigskin Preview.

Local head coaches Dave Doeren, David Cutcliffe, Larry Fedora, Ruffin McNeill and Henry Frazier III were on-hand today for the 11th annual Triangle Pigskin Preview.

Expectations In 2013
One of the first questions for the head coaches focused on the expectations they have for their team and the amount of success they hoped to achieve.

Coach Doeren answered the question, with a question.

"You're talking about this year," he asked event host Don Shea. "I just read the other day that we have the fewest number of lettermen and starters coming back, so are you talking about this year?"

Doeren then went on to express the enthusiasm he has for the season.

I'm excited," he said. "I'm really excited. I don't know what our chances are yet, but I think we all, as coaches, are anxious to get back on the field. Every year you have a new team that has to prove itself, and that's what we're out to do.

"Until you go out there against the competition and out there with your guys, I don't think you can really put in numbers what you think you're going to have. I just know we're excited to be back out there."

A Lack Of Talent?
The ACC released the 2013 Preseason All-ACC team this week and NC State didn't have a single player selected. In fact, the Wolfpack didn't even have a player in the top four at a position in voting.

Doeren believes he can turn that into a positive for his team.

"All I can tell you is we're going to use that as ammo for our guys," he stated. "I think that's good to get a chip on their shoulder about the respect card they are getting.

"In the locker room, at least, I know the players are excited to get out and prove what they can do on the field."

Heels On Homecoming
Most teams will often schedule a non-conference or non-BCS opponent on Homecoming Weekend when plenty of alumni will be in town. However, NC State took a much different approach this season.

The Wolfpack's homecoming is set for November 2nd. The opponent... rival North Carolina.

"When we play each other, it's a rivalry game," said Doeren. "Even if it's homecoming or anything else it's a big deal. Anytime you get to play your rival on a day like that in front of your alumni it's pretty cool."

The rivalry matchup is one of eight home games for the Wolfpack in 2013. Doeren seems to be thrilled with the schedule.

"I'd like to have that every year," he said. "It's a blessing, especially when you're breaking in a new quarterback like we're going to do. It helps to have that setup a lot."

Name That Quarterback
The biggest question for NC State is at quarterback, where they must replace two-year starter Mike Glennon. Doeren, who seems to be asked about the question at every event he attends, continues to maintain that the competition is wide open.

"Trust me, if I could tell you who it was going to be I would tell you," he said. "We have five... we have a walk-on too joining us from New Bern, Josh Taylor. We have five guys who are going to compete. That's why we have camp. We have 29 opportunities to sort that out.

"We have Pete [Thomas] and we brought in Brandon Mitchell from Arkansas to compete as well. We have Manny [Stocker] and the two freshmen we brought in. It's going to be a fun fall to see how the competition shakes out."

What is the Wolfpack's first-year head coach looking for in a signal-caller?

"To me, the quarterback is the CEO of your offense," said Doeren. "He has to command the position and until I know who that is we'll keep competing."

Uptempo Rushing Attack
Most seem to assume college offenses that play fast and no-huddle with spread elements are going to lean heavily on the passing game, but Doeren says it comes down to utilizing the personnel in the best way possible.

"I do believe in using the talent you have on your roster," he said. "My offensive coordinator, Matt Canada, was with me my first year and we had a very athletic quarterback who was a versatile guy that could run. Last year Matt went to Wisconsin and had nobody [at quarterback] that could run by found a way to get to the Rose Bowl with a great tailback.

"That's what good coaches do. You use your strengths and hide your weaknesses."

With a new starting quarterback and offensive line, Northern Illinois piled up 470 yards of total offense and averaged 38.6 points per game in 2012. They ranked No. 20 in total offense, No. 13 in scoring offense, No. 63 in passing offense (231.4 yards per game), and No. 12 in rushing offense (238.2 yards per game).

Look for NC State to be balanced offensively this season, but there will be an emphasis placed on the ground game.

"We're an uptempo offense that believes in running the football," said Doeren. "How much the quarterback does that will really depend on who the guy is."

Parting Shots
In one of the several lighter moments of the event, the coaches were asked which famous actor would play them in a movie. David Cutcliffe responded, "Dave Fedora," a light-hearted shot at Shea who earlier referred to Dave Doeren as Dave Fedora.

Larry Fedora, after some thought, asked movie buff Ruffin McNeill for some helping picking an actor for him, and McNeill chose Colin Farrell. McNeill then selected Denzel Washington for himself, and was followed by Henry Frazier, who chose Forest Whitaker.

Dave Doeren chose famous comedian Adam Sandler.

"I love the guy," said Doeren. "What else can I say? He makes me laugh."

  • Shea asked Doeren about his golf game, pointing out that at a recent coaches event he won the Longest Drive contest with a 292-yard drive.

    "I hit it on the toe too," said Doeren. "It's true."

  • Each coach signed a helmet from his respective school to be auctioned off at the event. North Carolina's helmet won the top bid, going for $2,500. NC State, Duke, ECU and North Carolina Central helmets all pulled in $1,000 each.

    The helmets were auctioned off in this order: Duke, NC State, ECU, North Carolina Central, and North Carolina.

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