NOTABLES: Preparing For The Unknown

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren believes the first game of the season is often all about adjustments, especially when you're facing a team with a new coaching staff.

"We want to go play," said Doeren. "Everybody thinks they know their gameplan, but it's a game of adjustments.

"The first game is always that way. A new staff for them, we're going to see some things we couldn't show them. Hopefully the rules will tell us what to do, the same thing goes for them. We're doing some things they haven't seen as well."

Georgia Southern ran a triple-option offense last season, but first-year head coach Willie Fritz is installing a shotgun-based attack. However, that doesn't mean Georgia Southern will all of a sudden turn into a pass-first attack.

"They are a running football team," Doeren said. "Even at Sam Houston State... they are doing a lot of the same option principles. They are just doing it of spread formations, orbit motions, jet motions, and tight end movements out of the gun and pistol.

"We've practiced it a lot. [It is] a lot of the same formations you'd see out of Clemson and us. There is some carry-over from things we've done in practice. Option football is assignment football and tackling in space. We've got to do a good job of that."

Fresh At Middle Linebacker
With starting linebacker M.J. Salahuddin sidelined, NC State will be playing two freshmen at middle linebacker in Jerod Fernandez and backup Airius Moore.

Doeren might be concerned with that, but he's also excited about seeing the duo play.

"I'm excited to watch Jerod and Airius play," he said. "They both had really good camps. They are both productive guys that can run and are hitters.

"The 'MIKE' is always important, I don't care who you are playing. The middle linebacker, your nose tackle, and your three-technique are the middle of your defense."

Fernandez will get the start and he has been on campus for a year, but Moore has been one of the pleasant surprises of fall camp for the Wolfpack. A true freshman, he didn't participate in any summer workouts and arrived on campus just prior tot he start of fall camp.

"Yes," Doeren replied when asked if Moore's play has surprised him. "Just because of how much he learned in the short time he had because he wasn't with us in the summer. He came in shape, which is a credit to him for his work ethic.

"He's a heck of a basketball player too. He went right from football to basketball, so he must have worked really hard in the spring and summer on his own to be ready. He has good football aptitude."

Parting Shots
Doeren admitted that last year was tough for him. He hadn't missed postseason play since his time as an assistant at Kansas.

"None of us want to be home in December," he stated. "I don't. I'm not used to it. It's been a long time.

"You do a lot of soul-searching, a lot of evaluation. We made a lot of positive changes, not just schematically but with how we train our guys. I think we are in great condition right now."

  • Two of the positions that hadn't been decided on the depth chart were right tackle and slot receiver. One of them has been firmed up while the other will depend on the play calls.

    "Right now Tyson [Chandler] is starting at right tackle," said Doeren. "in slot it depends on the formation Coach Canada calls. Both Jonathan Alston and Bo Hines will play a lot.

    "I don't know the first formation of the game... it just depends on what he calls. They both will be in there."

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