The Wolfpack finished 3-9 and didn't win a conference game.
"I called it a dog year," said Doeren. "It was one year equals seven years, it was one of those deals, and I've been through that before. It had been a while.
"Our first year coaching at the University of Kansas, we won one game, and we didn't lose gracefully. We got stomped. That was a long year, and last year was a long year. It's almost worse when you're in a bunch of games and losing because you know you're that close."
What Doeren did do was coach with an aggressive mentality.
If that meant attempting fake field goals or fake punts to extend a drive, he did it. If that means going for it on fourth-and-short from deep in his own territory, he did that too.
And... he's going to continue to do it.
"At Montana, at Kansas, at Wisconsin, and at NIU I worked with aggressive coaches," said Doeren."I was the head coach at Northern obviously. Joe Glenn, we're in the national championship game [at Montana], and he faked a punt out of our own endzone for a 90-yard touchdown.
"Everywhere I've been I've worked with a guy like that and it's just... you are a creature of the culture you're brought up with. Coach Mangino would fake punts, fake field goals, and have trick plays. Bret [Bielema] was the same way, we faked punts all the time at Wisconsin."
Whether it was the fake punt against North Carolina or the fourth-and-1 from his own 26-yard line versus Duke, Doeren chose to go for it. And often, it didn't work.
But for him, that's okay, because not only was he trying to win but he was looking to send a message to his team.
"How do you say you're tough and not go for it on fourth-and-1," he asked. "I don't get that. For me, I can't sit in that meeting room in front of an offensive line and say I need you to be better at running the ball and then coward out every chance we get to do it.
"Did it work? No, it failed miserably at times, but the players know the standard. The standard is to be tough enough to get that done."
What has been the response from his players?
"I can't tell you how many players came up to me and said coach don't change... keep doing what you're doing," said Doeren. "That's what we want to be. We'll get them there."
Big picture, Doeren wants to establish an aggressive mentality that will impact the way NC State plays on every snap... not just trick plays or fourth downs.
"If the ball is on the minus-10 and it's fourth-and-1, should I punt," he asked. "I probably should. But, for me, it's who I am, how I was raised... what I believe in.
"If I go down, I'm going to go down being aggressive. That's just what I believe in."