Doeren: "We're Excited"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren can't hide his excitement. He's ready to see his young team in action.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to get back at home and play in front of a great crowd against a good football team," said Doeren Monday afternoon at his first weekly press conference of the season.

"We're excited to get out there and watch our guys. They've put in a lot of work... see where we're at. Game one is the best way to judge where you're at as a football team. We have a lot of young players, everyone knows that."

NC State officially released the opening depth chart prior to the press conference, and there weren't really many surprises.

The Pack is projected to start five seniors on offense and three on defense, but the depth chart is littered with freshmen (19) and sophomores (16).

"Not necessarily [any depth chart surprises]," said Doeren. "Even though there are ones and twos, there are a lot of guys that rotate. The depth chart is pretty fluid with a young team. There will be guys playing their first game.

"Jerod Fernandez, Josh Jones, Tony Adams, and Bo Hines... they're still playing in their first game. We expect to rotate some guys and see where they are at. There wasn't any huge surprise."

One true freshman received additional praise from Doeren for his work in fall camp.

"Probably the most improved player is Stephen Louis, the receiver," said Doeren. "He was trying to figure himself out in the spring but had a really good fall camp."

While several true freshmen are expected to play, the status of one of the Pack's top newcomers, quarterback Jalan McClendon, hasn't been decided. McClendon is currently third on the depth chart, and Doeren said he would like to redshirt McClendon, but a lot of that depends on how the season plays out.

"A little depends on what the game's like," said Doeren. "I think it would be great if we could redshirt Jalan, but I'm not sure if that's real or not. He gets better the more he plays.

"Garrett is a guy that can go in and run the offense. He has a good arm and knows the system, but it just depends what happens. If you're talking about finishing the game with a guy or playing the rest of the season with a guy."

"That's where you have to decide what's best for Jalan," added Doeren. "If it's finishing a game, there's no question Garrett can do that for us. If it's for a series, he can do that, but if we're talking about playing eight games with those two guys... then we'll have to see who is the best guy."

The time has come for the Wolfpack to turn the attention to Georgia Southern after spending weeks squaring off against each other in practice.

In fact, Doeren said he hasn't been impressed with the offense or defense more than the other. Instead, he's been pleased with his overall depth.

"I wouldn't pick a side," he said. "I feel better about our depth... the competition at positions. When you have people behind people that can take their jobs you get better effort in practice from guys. Guys can't have a bad day. They won't be on the depth chart the next day if they do.

"If you come in and do your job you're going to get playing time. On both sides of the ball we have depth... other than our kicker, snapper, and punter, I felt like every position on the team had someone fighting to get on the field."

Parting Shots

  • Doeren said that NC State will be honoring Mario Williams during the Georgia Southern game. NC State will be honoring Mario's No. 9 jersey.

  • Georgia Southern ran a triple option last season and is transitioning to a spread attack under new head coach Willie Fritz, but Doeren isn't really sure of what to expect from his opening opponent.

    "You can see the speed they have with their slotbacks that they've moved out to receiver," said Doeren. "Any time you're in a first game, regardless of if there is a new staff or returning staff, you know there are going to be some things they will study."

  • Doeren knows Georgia Southern defeated Florida last year in The Swamp and they won't be intimidated by facing the Wolfpack. However, he believes his team will be playing with an edge as well.

    "I think you'll see two teams that will have a chip on their shoulder," he said. "I think our team does for sure, and I know having coached at schools like Georgia Southern, I know what their players are going to be like."

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