Doeren: "The Race Begins Now"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media to discuss the upcoming game against Louisville.

Dave Doeren

"Excited to be back home and to start conference play this week with Louisville."

"I'm proud of the guys for back-to-back road wins.  It says a lot about the focus that our players have had."

"Everything that we're trying to be about as a team is elevating our program."

"To do something that hasn't been done in 42 or 43 years, to win five in a row on the road, is something that we're proud of... just continuing to find ways to make the program better."

"Having seven rushing touchdowns is a first ever in school history, obviously a lot of seasons of football.  To break that record, again, proud of the team for that."

"I like the resolve of our team. To open the game the way we did, a poor drive by the defense, which is uncharacteristic because they've opened games really fast.  But, we answered it with a great kickoff return which was called back, and our offense answered it with a scoring drive."

"We had adversity twice with the special teams and the defense there, and the way that we responded with each unit I thought said a lot about the leadership of our guys."

"A lot of people played well in the game. I thought our tight ends improved again in the run game.  It was good to get Cole Cook three catches as well because he does a great job blocking for us."

"We spread the ball around... two backs with over 100 yards. We didn't take too many shots, but the shots we took we had two good completions down the field, one to Jaylen Samuels and one to Bra'lon."

"Our return game has improved a lot and needs to continue to do that to set up our offense and create field position."

"Defensively, to get the takeaways is a big deal. We're plus-4 on the season now and the offense continues to take care of it, but to feed them field position is a big deal. When you are running the ball effectively and taking care of it and you can create field position through takeaways and special teams that's a good deal."

"I really like the way A.J. Cole is punting the ball. He had great height on his punts and created two tough catch situations for their returner."

"I don't know how many different guys got in the game... everyone that we were planning on using in the game got in the game, so it was great for those guys."

"Four games now we were able to play Jalan McClendon at quarterback and get our offensive line and defensive line reps so that will help us."

"Going into Louisville, they are 1-3 obviously but have lost three close games, an average of four points in their losses to good opponents in Auburn, Houston, and Clemson."

"They've kind of bounced around with who their quarterback is and last week kind of settled in with Jackson the freshman who had a really good rushing game.  He's their leading rusher and leading rusher per carry as well. We expect to see him and a lot of QB run game."

"He threw the ball effectively over 200 yards, but it's not like you have four games of video on him.  He's been sporadic in the first three games and then you get a whole game of him against Samford."

"You really have to have two gameplans based on who he is playing back there because they are different."

"Their tight end is having a good season for them.  He's got two touchdowns, Crum.  He has 13 catches, and they spread it around pretty good. They have four guys with 12 catches or more so there's a lot of people they are throwing it too."

"They've played a lot of guys on the o-line... he's been really successful when they've ran the ball well as a coach, and he's trying to do that."

"They do a tremendous job with interceptions.  They led the nation last year and have nine already this year in four games. That is a huge challenge for our football team, taking care of the ball, which we've done a good job of but need to continue."

"They have two of the best defensive tackles that we'll see. Those two guys inside are really strong... they use their hands well and shed blocks. Their ends are athletic."

"They've had to move some guys around in the back-end, and I think they've settled with 25, Harvey, as their nickel."

"We have to do a good job of handling all their blitzes on third down... they are a big pressure team on third down.  They are pretty sound on first and second, and coach Grantham does a nice job."

"Their punt team is No. 1 in the ACC. They are actually allowing minus yardage."

"Our special teams have to be a big part of the equation this week."

"We came out of the game really healthy so that was a positive.  Bradbury is feeling good and played a lot. Bryce Kennedy is back, and Alex Barr is the only one that we haven't heard for sure. We'll have to see if he can handle practice this week but we at least have all of them back but him now on the o-line. There's nothing new to report that way so looking forward to being healthier than we've been."

"I think it's natural when you're in a conference game for the hair to stand up on your neck maybe a little more. We don't approach it that way as coaches and try to train our players to not care."

"You remember playing them a year ago and know that the race begins now as far as what happens in the league."

"I think there will be an increase of energy level with the guys.  You really have to work hard as a coach when you're playing teams in a lesser conference to make sure they work the way you want them to work. Against a team like this you don't have to do that as much. That part is actually nicer from a coaching standpoint."

"We're right where we want to be. We wanted to finish a third of the season 4-0, healthy, and playing a bunch of players... feeling like we're better this year than where we were last year at this time.  I think that's where we are."

"We couldn't beat Louisville last year.  We tried. We were close, but that's the gap we need to close now. That's the challenge that's on the table for our coaches and players this week."

"I think the things we've been tested on are more depth-type things. If you would have told me through four games we'd have played four guards I would have told you no way, but to not only not have a drop-off but to get better."

"We've been tested with young players. To have 23 freshmen playing, that's a test."

"This is a different kind of test. They are the biggest team we've played so you'll play a larger front on both sides.  Their d-tackles are by far the best that we've seen.  We've seen some good skill players this year, so even though they have them, that doesn't bother me as much. To me it's always about upfront. This will be the best test that we have on the line of scrimmage on both sides."

"It's more stress on your defense and a lot of it to be honest depends on how well he can throw. He did throw the ball better in the last game... it really comes down to beating blocks unless you want to play Cover 0 the whole time and we're not going to do that."

"We have to get off blocks like we did last year against UNC when they ran their quarterback. We were able to shed blocks and get a lot of people there and hopefully we can do that.  You have to tackle well because this kid is really athletic so you have to tackle well."

"We played these guys last year so it's not like we have to remind them they are good.  They beat us last year.  Our players will understand that. I don't think I'll have to verify them. I think we'll be excited to play against their football team regardless of what their record is."

"That to me is maturity and it's really buying in to doing your job and not looking outside of what you need to do.  They want to be on the field... we averaged 7.5 yards on first down last weekend, and we're going to be out there a lot when we do that."

"I think so. We lost to Florida State last year in a tough game in a conference opener... you go back to those experiences and you talk about finishing. We had games like this one where we got ahead and didn't finish... I think our guys understand that."

"I still like no-huddle, it's just not what we're best at. I take pride in that.. doing what's best for us. I look at our league and besides us, Boston College, and Georgia Tech, everybody else goes fast.  I don't want to be like everybody else.  I think for us to be unique, we can go fast, we can change tempo when we need to.  We did it a lot last year early in the season because we felt like we had better conditioning and depth than who we were playing."

"When you stand in the huddle and Jacoby talks to you every play, he's our best leader and that's a positive thing to let our offensive players see. He'll encourage them, he'll talk to them and give them a nugget here or there.  When you're a no-huddle team you'll never get that conversation.  I like that a lot, when you have a senior quarterback or a leader at quarterback. It's been helpful for us."

"He's done great.  He's got better. He went from not having scoring drives to having one and having two."

"He's really done some good things and improved... his confidence is getting better. He had a really good practice last Tuesday... we feel great about him right now and I'm glad we were able to get him some reps that we did."

"Outside of a couple of big plays they've played well... if we can limit big plays with the way we're stopping the run we're going to be pretty good."

"They opened the game up last week with a double-move on Josh and beat him... we want people to have to earn what they get and not give up big plays. Other than that, just more interceptions."

"I'm not concerned. I was hopeful he'd make that kick before the half.  In practice he's been really good. We just have to keep getting him reps."

"A lot. Darian got some plays that he was able to finish in the backfield. He got three backfield plays in the game."

"We feel good about the progress of a lot of our freshmen... you're seeing those guys start to show their skillsets."

"Absolutely.  I think he's exactly what they want. He's big, he's strong, he can make the throws. He's intelligent, competitive and mobile. He's under center... a lot of these guys try to go from shotgun to under center and they can't do it."

"They are just not behind guys that can't protect them... he's a very mentally tough guy and I know a lot of the throws he makes are going to be throws he'll be asked to make on the next level."

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