Defending Heinicke

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren is concerned with Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

Heinicke, who has started 34 straight games for the Monarchs, finished in the top-10 among FBS quarterbacks in passing yards, passing yards per game and touchdown passes last season.

In the season opener against Hampton he completed 29-of-40 passes for 281 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

"He's accurate, he's productive, and he knows the system," said Doeren. "I think he's more than a system quarterback, but he's in a system that makes the quarterback look good.

"They line him up deep. They have one or two run plays so they spend a lot of time on pass protection and picking up things... giving him time to throw."

"He's just played so much football that he doesn't make a lot of bad decisions," Doeren added. "He knows when to throw it away and where his check downs are."

Last week NC State had to prepare for a triple-option based, running attack from Georgia Southern.

Heinicke presents a different challenge for the Wolfpack.

"Last week we played a triple-option team and now we're playing the run-and-gun or whatever you want to call it," Doeren stated. "They don't have a tight end on the roster, so we went from a tight end, two-back game to a four-wides and empty game. Those kids have so much to transition each week.

"[ODU is] going to get their completions. The guys is going to throw it 50-80 times, depending on how much they have the football. Seriously, he could throw it 80 times in a game."

That type of attack puts pressure on the secondary, and Doeren wants his team to try and pressure Heinicke but also tackle receivers when they do get completions.

"You need to have pressure on the quarterback to make him throw the ball earlier than he wants," he said. "You may not have a lot of sacks, but you need to have some forced, earlier throws. [It is] not just from the d-line, but the secondary and linebackers, presenting different looks, taking away some throws that he's used to having if we can.

"You know that when they catch it you just have to tackle, tackle, and tackle."

Also, the Wolfpack is stressing the importance of being disruptive defensively.

"[We need to] knock some balls out, force some fumbles," said Doeren. "Takeaways are going to be big in this game if we can get some."

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