Keys To The Game: Defense

Here are some defensive keys to the game for the Wolfpack against the Bulldogs in the season opener.

NC State Defense vs. Louisiana Tech Offense

NC State has to make Louisiana Tech one-dimensional, and it all starts with stuffing the run.

Louisiana Tech is one of 11 teams in the country this year that is entering the 2013 season with zero career quarterback starts on its roster. However, they return Kenneth Dixon, a terrific running back who set a freshman record with 27 rushing touchdowns last year. He will certainly test the Wolfpack defense, along with talented backup Tevin King.

Last year each had a 200-yard rushing game, proving that both are potent with the ball in their hands.

Look for NC State to rely on their defensive front to try and take away both backs. The Wolfpack believes the strength of their defense could be the defensive line, or "front eight" as head coach Dave Doeren refers to them due to their depth.

The last time a NC State head coach played his first game in Carter-Finley the Wolfpack, in a loss, allowed 200+ yards by Central Florida great Kevin Smith.

They can't do the same on Saturday.

Louisiana Tech's offensive gameplan/system is an unknown, given the change in coaches, but the Wolfpack must do what they can do to be successful, and that includes playing aggressive.

Regardless of what the Bulldogs throw at the Wolfpack, the Pack 'D' needs to play fast, physical, and aggressive. There is depth on that side of the ball... go all out and play hard, don't hold anything back.

If La. Tech is showing spread looks, pressure up on the edges and eliminate the screen game. If they try a power running game, load the box and force quarterback Scotty Young to beat them over the top.

If State can pressure Young, push him out of the pocket, and force him to make plays on the run, the Wolfpack defense should be successful. Doing so should/could force some Louisiana Tech turnovers and that is crucial.

This might be the biggest key of the game for State's defense. They can't allow Louisiana Tech to dictate the pace and find their groove early on.

The Wolfpack must come out and play aggressive, smart, fast, and physical.

NC State's defense needs to come out and set the tone early. Carter-Finley should be rocking, and if the Wolfpack can come out and make a few big plays early they can potentially ride that momentum to a victory.

State's defense has some question marks. There are three new starting linebackers... new safeties... turnover up front. However, a fast start should ease concerns and give confidence to the younger players who are in this situation for the first time.

What the Pack must also do is limit big plays. State has to force Young and Louisiana Tech to march up and down the field. State can't give up any big plays because frankly, the Wolfpack offense is an unknown as well. They may come out and score 40 or 10 on Saturday... no one knows.

It can't be said enough... State has to limit big plays and get off to a quick start if they want to start the season 1-0.

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