NOTABLES: Tackling Must Improve

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren praised sophomore nickel back Dravious Wright for his play in the win over Old Dominion.

Making just his second start, nickel back Dravious Wright managed to lead the team in solo tackles (7). In fact, all of his tackles were solo hits. He made several plays in space that could have yielded larger gains if Wright didn't bring down the ball-carrier.

It was an encouraging outing for Wright, who struggled at times in his first career start a week earlier.

"I was really happy with [Dravious Wright's] game two performance," said Doeren. "He's a physical guy, a contact player, and Old Dominion presented a lot of coverage responsibilities for him, and he did a good job.

"I was proud of him. He tackled well... he was the one guy who did tackle well on our defense for four quarters. I was really happy with his improvement."

Doeren added that other Pack defenders also had their moments.

"There were others," he said. "I thought [Jack] Tocho and [Juston] Burris played well. Germaine Pratt came in and played well. Hakim [Jones] played okay... for him. He's capable of playing better.

"Rodman Noel played a really solid game. You take a couple of plays in the second quarter and the first run in the third quarter, there were a bunch of missed tackles."

For Doeren, the inconsistent tackling concerned him in the win more than anything else. He stated earlier in the week that tackling would be a focal point during practice and also believes that the players know they must be better in that area.

"Everyone is talking about it," he said. "They are the one's most embarrassed. They don't want that on film. They know they have to be better.

"We'll find out Saturday [if the tackling has improved]. We work hard on [tackling] every week. You guys act like we didn't tackle last week in practice. Every Tuesday we work on it. Every Wednesday we work on it. Every Thursday we practice it without hitting people to the ground."

"It's about finishing a play," he added. "That's why you play games. You have to finish plays."

Domestic Violence A Concern?
A hot topic in sports this week has been the domestic violence casing involved former Baltimore tailback Ray Rice.

"It's the last thing you want to see as a man," said Doeren. "I truly believe that men are protectors of women, and the last thing you want to see of an athlete who is a role model is to do something like that."

Doeren was asked if the NCAA should implement policies for such cases.

"There are immediate actions everywhere I've been," he stated. "I don't know if it is the NCAA's place to get involved in student conduct... I don't know the legality of if they are capable of doing that."

Previously the Wolfpack head coach has had to deal with an incident involving junior tailback Shadrach Thornton, and he stands by how he handled the situation.

"We indefinitely suspended [Thornton] until we knew what was going to happen," said Doeren. "[We did] until the process could go through and all the facts could be handled by the people who make those kind of decisions. I think that's the right thing to do.

"There are two parts of it. There's the civil part and the campus part. We have to do both."

A major positive for NC State has been the lack of penalties. The Wolfpack had just one in the win over Old Dominion, and Doeren credits the improvement to being more familiar with the offensive and defensive schemes.

"Part of it is leadership," he said. "Part of it is being here for two years. The guys just know the systems better. When you're thinking a lot you tend to play on the edge a little bit. You're not playing as fast or as clean.

"Coach Canada, in his offense, has done certain things to make it easier on guys."

  • USF head coach Willie Taggart hasn't ruled starting quarterback Mike White out for Saturday's game. White left last week's game against Maryland with an arm injury.

    "If Mike's ready to go, Mike's our quarterback," Taggart said on the American Athletic Conference weekly coaches teleconference. "We're not going to have a bunch of musical chairs going on; Mike hasn't done anything to lose his job."

    Doeren feels his team will be prepared for both White and backup Steven Bench, who are similar.

    "Just from an experience standpoint [White] has played a lot more," said Doerne. "[Bench] is more athletic but not a ton more. It's not like we were last year with Mitchell and Pete who were totally different athletically.

    "They are going to run the same schemes. There is a little bit of quarterback-run game, but it's not a big part of what they do because of their tailback. I think they want him to run the ball."

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