Saturday, September 19, 2015
7:00 pm (EST), American Sports Network
QUOTABLES: Dave Doeren
Happy to be 2-0. Any time you have a shutout, eight three-and-outs defensively, you're excited. Our punt return game, Braylon Cherry and the guys blocking for him really helped our field position in the game.
Offensively, very balanced and a lot of different people touched it. A little bit disappointed in the start we had on offense. I think we could have started better, but the guys stuck together, and after the first quarter, really started to play well. Moved the ball around and did some good things keeping the ball away. Our time of possession was close to 40 minutes. Those things are good.
Just don't want to have turnovers and penalties that we can prevent, which happened a little bit early. Jacoby continues to be very accurate, and I thought the guys around him are playing well within the system.
Get ready to go on the road. We have six-out-of-eight on the road now, so going to test us as a road team. Finished last season playing well on the road, so we can build off of that.
Playing a sold out game against ODU. I know it's an important game for their program and looking forward to going up there and playing.
I know you wanted your team to get started a little faster despite the 35-0 victory this past week. How do you assess the film many, when you have a shutout, were there any areas where you step back and say, you know what I want to improve here, I want to do more here, outside of what you said, scoring, in the first quarter obviously being not what you wanted?
Well, we do that win or lose. And on the first 18 plays, we had two fumbles. We lost one. We had two penalties and we had a drop, and that's the opposite of the week before. After that, we played really well on offense.
You can't start like that. We want to come out of the gate playing clean and that's the main thing. I thought we tackled well. We got in the backfield and made some plays, and like I said, our special teams, our coverage, we are all good. We had one low kick that got blocked, and that was on the kicker.
So we've got to do a better job getting our height on our kicks, which Kyle has been really good. I know he'll take that off the film. You're always looking to getbetter.
On the defensive side, who are
some of those guys that you've seen on film in
the first two games step up and really give you
an advantage moving into this third week?
I'm sorry? Could you say that again? I didn't hear you.
I said when you look at the
defensive side of the ball, you had mentioned a
lot of the prominent players on offense so far.
Just what you can say about some of those
defensive leaders on film through the first two
In each group, there's guys that have done different things. Hakim Jones has made some nice open-field tackles. I think Juston Burres has played back-to-back solid games in the secondary for us. Dravious sparked us a little bit in the first game with a forced fumble.
On the defensive line, B.J. Hill and Mike Rose are the most consistent leaders, and they both played their best game of the year in game two.
So just got to continue to build off of that and keep encouraging our young players, as they play more and more reps, they will become more and more in that role.
But there's a lot of guys on special teams that showed up. I was excited to see that there were seven players that made tackles on special teams for the first time.
Was this game scheduled following
your hiring, or what can you tell us about the
arrangements, obviously you spoke to the
importance of this game for ODU.
I don't really remember to be honest with you. I don't know how it went down. We had several holes in our schedule. It's hard to -- with us having LSU come off the schedule a couple years ago, trying to piece it all together, and I can't remember the arrangements, but just hearing their press conference, talking about it being one of the most important games in the program.
So for us, it's the next game and it's a road game and we need to play well in it. I know there's a lot of buzz up there about it.
Last year you played them and it
was an offensive shootout, but they were
primarily a passing team with a quarterback
that had a great career. Looking at the
numbers after their opener, looks like they
have gone more to a ground attack and they
had a great running back performance. Can
you talk about the different kind of test they
present this year?
Yeah, they are using their personnel. Last year their quarterback was a great player. He had thrown for almost 14,000 yards I think going into our game. He's playing in the NFL right now. He made a roster. So they centered everything around him, and that's good coaching.
And now their best player is their tailback, and they are letting him carry them and he's done a nice job. So in my opinion, that's what good coaches do is they put systems to their talent. They haven't really changed their formations or any of that. They are just handing the ball more than throwing it.
Got to tackle him. He runs through contact. He's got good vision. He's a short, quick guy that has good power. The O-line, really tight splits, and last year they had big splits. So a little bit different philosophy there, as well. They have got a lot of receivers back. So I'm sure if they had to throw, they would still be able to get back into the pass game.
Your rush defense has been very
good the first two weeks, again, by the
numbers. Does it look that good on film?
Yeah, I mean, outside of one bad play in the first game, gave up a 57-yard run in the opener. Outside of that, we've played well. What hurt us in their game last year was we tackled as bad as I've ever seen a defense tackle last year.
Our players watched that game; we watched it last year and we watched it this week. We understand why we played the way we did. As the year went on last year, we improved a lot of things. I think that gave us an eye-opener for us a year ago, and obviously we don't want to have to relive it.
Are there any specific offensive
schemes, offensive line's blocks schemes that
concern you about ODU about getting that
ground attack going like they have been?
No, it's not a schematic thing that they do.
It's just they block, really two runs, really three, if you count their stretch which isn't a huge part of their offense. They run inside zone, and they give movement and he finds his space and runs through contact and do a nice job with it. And when they do it, they have pass plays on the outside. So they are run blocking guys down the field and throwing the ball, which is what happens now in college football, and the NFL, really.
They have a little draw play around the center, and same thing, they have routes on the outside, they can throw it out there if your linebackers are loose. They stress you. They put their guys out wide and you have to do a great job of playing technique and shutting blocks and tackling. It's really fundamental football. It's nothing they are doing schematically. It's just they do a good job of using the 53 yards of the width of field.
With Jacoby Brissett, the buzz
around the nation has been an exceptional first
two games he's had so far. Can you go into his
progression so far this season, as well?
He's just handling his business. I think he's learned a lot being a starter for a year. He had a good off-season. He had a lot of film of himself to critique where he knows he could have been better and he spent the summer working on those things and he did that to his credit.
So far, you can see the improvement that he's made and just operating within the system and doing what Coach wants and letting his God-given ability do it.
I want to ask you a question about
one of our hometown boys that we are very
proud of, and get your take on him and how
he's doing with your program, and that's
Johnny's doing good. He's rehabbing an ankle that he sprained during camp, and came in and competed hard. He's going to be red-shirt player for us, missed a lot of practice. He's almost full-go now where he can get back in on scout teams. He's a great young man, works hard. I know everybody loves his personality and cares a lot about him here.
He needs to really take advantage of his redshirt year. I think that's the one thing that coming from a small town, just the training and nutrition and all the things that he has here, he can really be somebody that blossoms in year two, and so I'm looking forward to seeing this year be a developmental year for him.
What do you see on film from the
quarterback and what makes him stand out?
You know, he has not had to do a lot throwing the ball. It's hard to really tell you how good a passer he is yet just because they haven't really had to do it. They have relied on their run game. He's making the right checks and I think he's going to the right places, whether it's the running back or the routes they are calling.
He's not a guy that, like last year, would run all over the place, at least not yet on film, but he seems to be operating in their system and distributing the ball the way they want him to.
NC State Game Notes
After opening the season with two resounding home victories, the Wolfpack will be on the road for the next two Saturdays - travelling to Norfolk to face Old Dominion on Saturday and then heading south to Mobile to play South Alabama on Sept. 26.
The Wolfpack has won its last three games away from Carter-Finley Stadium, defeating Central Florida (34-27) in the Bitcoin Bowl, stomping UNC (35-7) in Chapel Hill and winning at Syracuse (24-17).
Senior quarterback Jacoby Brissett has been exceptional in the first two games of 2015. He's currently leading the nation in completion percentage with a blazing .844 mark (a mark that would stand at .911 if not for three drops last week).
In his 14 career games, Brissett has posted a 62.4 completion mark, the second best career mark in school history. His 2015 passing efficiency mark of 183.4 ranks 12th in the FBS and his career mark of 141.72 is also the second best mark ever for a Wolfpack QB.
Brissett, a preseason candidate for the Manning, O'Brien and Unitas Awards, opened his senior campaign against Troy by completing 12 straight passes before an incompletion and posted a .913 completion mark. The last time a Wolfpack player posted a percentage as high was Terry Jordan vs. UNC in 1992 (23-25, .920).
BALANCING ACT, SEASON 2
NC State field the most balance offense in the FBS last season, rushing for 204.5 yards per game and gaining 204.0 passing yards per contest. With 5,311 yards of total offense, the difference between the rush and the pass was just seven yards (2,659 rushing, 2,652 passing).
The Wolfpack has picked right up where it left off in 2015, with just seven yards differences between the two modes of moving the ball.
THREE & OUT
One reason that the Wolfpack's time of possession has been so high in the first two games is that the defense is not allowing first downs. The Wolfpack is tied for second nationally in first downs allowed (20), has forced three & outs on 14 of 23 opponents drives and has forced 17 punts in two games.
TIME IS ON OUR SIDE
The Wolfpack offense is currently the most greedy in the FBS, with a division best 40 minute time of possession average per game.
NC State held the ball for 41:34 in the season opener - the highest time of possession in 93 games (since a 43:07 ToP in an OT win at Miami in 2007). That game marked the second in Dave Doeren's Wolfpack tenure that the Pack posted a 40+-minute time of possession. In his first game as head coach for the Pack, his offense held the ball 40:45 vs. La Tech (2013).
The Pack repeated the feat last week against Eastern Kentucky, as the offense was on the field 40:04.
Before Doeren's arrival in Raleigh, the Pack had only held the ball more than 40 minutes twice in 235 games (2007 vs. Miami and 40:26 vs. FSU in 2002) dating back to the 2007 season. Since Doeren's arrival, it's happened three times in 27 games.
The last two games mark the first time since time of possession was kept for every game starting in 1981 that NC State has posted back-to-back 40+ minute ToP.
Running back Matt Dayes has had a stellar start to his junior campaign, posting back-to-back 100+ yard rushing games and scoring five touchdowns. He is currently is tied for the ACC lead and fifth in the FBS in scoring.
In the opener, Dayes rushed for a career best 126 yards and led the Wolfpack in rushing and receiving (5-65). He ranks second in the ACC and 15th nationally with 151.5 all-purpose yards per game.
Dayes has rushed for 242 yards in first two games of 2015. That total is the most for a Pack player in the first two games of the season since Joe McIntosh did it in 1983 - more than a decade before Dayes was born!
Last season, Dayes was one of just three players nationally with more than 300 yards rushing, receiving and in returns (Jamal Morrow of Washington St. & Temple's Jahad Thomas were the others).
He was the ONLY player nationally to reach those marks and also boast five or more touchdowns rushing and receiving in 2014.
Dayes led the Wolfpack with both 1,278 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns and won team Offensive MVP honors in 2014.
BRISSETT STREAKING (AGAIN!)
Jacoby Brissett threw 187 passes without being picked off in 2014 - the seventh-longest streak in ACC history. He currently has another streak going, as he has not thrown an interception in his last 129 attempts, over 22 quarters, dating back to the Georgia Tech game on Nov. 8, 2014 (the Wolfpack's last loss). In the five games games since, he's thrown for eight touchdowns.
Last season, of Brissett's paltry five picks, only one came in a road game. He posted 122 attempts in true road games, 148 attempts including the bowl game.
BE WARY OF CHERRY
In the postgame locker room following Saturday's home win over Eastern Kentucky, head coach Dave Doeren praised junior wide receiver/treturn specialist Bra'Lon Cherry on his improved play. Cherry is currently the ACC leader in punt return average (21.4).
The junior returned four punts for 74 yards in the win over EKU. He would have been the first Wolfpack player to go over the 100-yard mark on punt returns since 2004 if not for a somewhat questionable block in the back call).
Although Cherry's punt return numbers might not seem significant at first glance, look at it this way: Against EKU, Cherry was 4-74 on punt returns. During the entire 2014 season, the Wolfpack as a team posted just 62 punt return yards on 17 attempts!
Not only does defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable bear a striking resemblance to the 'most interesting man in the world,' but his defense is making sure that opponents stay thirsty for first downs.
The Wolfpack currently ranks seventh nationallly in third down conversion defense, allowing opponents to convert at just a .143 rate (3-21). The Pack defense also held tough on the one fourth-down attempt against it this season.
Heading into the 2015 campaign, tight end Benson Browne had more degrees (two) than career catches (none). The graduate student, who has earned undergraduate degrees in psychology and communication, has even things out in the first two games, however.
Browne recorded his first career reception in the third quarter of the opener - a seven-yarder on first down. His second career catch was in that same drive, when he caught a one-yard touchdown pass.
He only had one catch in the win over Eastern Kentucky - a 5-yarder - but it, too, was for a TD.
The ever-versatile Matt Dayes, a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker and Paul Hornung Awards, has had the ball in his hands 291 times in his career - 215 rushes, 48 receptions and 28 kickoff returns. In those touches, Dayes has had two miscues - a fumble on a KOR vs. Syracuse that was recovered by the Wolfpack - and one dropped pass (vs. Richmond in 2013).
NC State has won its last five games, dating back to last season. That streak ties with Clemson for the longest current streak in the ACC.
Since the 2002 campaign, when the Wolfpack opened the season 9-0 en route to an 11-3 campaign, the only other time State has won five straight was the last game of 2009 (victory over UNC) and the first five games of 2010.
NC State Depth Chart
NOTE: *- Indicates a player has redshirted a season.
2015 NC State Depth Chart Offense Quarterback 12 Jacoby Brissett 6-4/235 Sr.*
2 Jalan McClendon 6-5/212 Fr.*
Reggie Gallaspy II
"X" - Split End 85
84 Freddie Simmons 6-3/176 Fr. "Z" - Flanker 15
Johnathan Alston OR
13 Bra'Lon Cherry 5-11/191 So. 83
"S" - Slot 7 Nyheim Hines 5-9/190 Fr. 30 Gavin Locklear 5-10/186 So.* 34 Ben Grazen 5-9/190 So.* Tight End 86
6-5/265 Jr.* 89
6-6/250 So. 89
6-6/255 Sr.* Left Tackle 54
Joe Thuney 6-5/295 Sr.* 74
Emanuel McGirt Jr. 6-6/295 Fr. Left Guard 71
Alex Barr 6-8/318 Sr.* 65
Garrett Bradbury 6-3/285 Fr.* Center 60
Terronne Prescod 6-5/338 Fr.* Right Guard 50
Tony Adams 6-2/300 So. 56
Bryce Kennedy 6-3/305 Jr.* Right Tackle 66
Tyler Jones 6-3/300 Fr.*
Special Teams Place Kicker 92 Kyle Bambard 5-8/190 Fr. 97 Jackson Maples 5-10/195 Fr.* Punter 90 A.J. Cole III 6-4/238 Fr. 47 Will Stephenson 6-3/195 Jr.* Long Snapper 57 Tyler Griffiths 6-2/237 Fr. 52 Ben Garnett 6-0/238 Jr.* Kick Returner 21
7 Nyheim Hines 5-9/190 Fr. Punt Returner 13 Bra'Lon Cherry 5-11/191 Jr. 7 Nyheim Hines 5-9/190 Fr. Defense Defensive End 90
Defensive Tackle 35
Defensive Tackle 98
Defensive End 49
Weakside Linebacker 58
Ernie Robinson III OR
Middle Linebacker 4
M.J. Salahuddin OR
Right Cornerback 11
Free Safety 1
6-2/205 Sr.* 31
6-3/234 So. Strong Safety 2
6-2/215 So.* 24
Left Cornerback 29
NOTE: *- Indicates a player has redshirted a season.
Thanks to NC State Athletics for much of the information in this preview.