Doeren: "It's A Special Week"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren discusses the upcoming game against Syracuse.

"I'm excited to be back home.  The last eight games, six of them have been on the road so it's nice to be back here with our final two at home."

"It's a special week with the Military Appreciation week... I know for me and my wife, both our parents served so when we have a week like this it's special for us to honor them."

"With all the crazy things going on, on the planet right now, to be able to dedicate a uniform and a game to them means a lot to me, my family, and our players."

"I'm excited to have that opportunity."

"We're playing a Syracuse team that fought hard with Clemson last week. They've had their share of injuries on offense... the backup, third-string quarterback, he played in the LSU game earlier in the year, Mahoney, he really played a good game.  They rushed for 243 yards on a very good Clemson defense a week ago."

"Defensively... they are a pressure team. They bring different blitzes from the field, the boundary, and up the middle. They have long defensive backs."

"Obviously they've struggled winning games this year but they've been in competitive games and lost some close games, some overtime games. One thing you can say about coach Shafer's teams is they always play hard."

"Brisly Estime, who we recruited and liked a lot, is leading the ACC in punt returns. He's a very good athlete. Steve Ishmael, a taller receiver, 16-yard average, five touchdowns."

"A lot of option responsibility football for our defense this week."

"Their middle linebacker is very active."

"On their defensive front, Ron Thompson is probably their most disruptive player."

"He's always been a guy that fakes field goals and fakes punts, so we have to be very sound with our units in those situations."

"We need to do a better job than we did a week ago with our punt coverage."

"Obviously excited about the way we started and played in the first half.  Defensively, we got a lot of takeaways and put our offense in position to score points. We were only able to get 10 points out of those turnovers... that was really the game. We didn't score enough off field-position advantages and gave up too many big plays in the second half when we weren't getting back in it."

"I was proud of our players with how they finished.  Defensively creating a takeaway on fourth down and our offense driving to the one-yard line and almost scoring at the end."

"They didn't quit. We came to play, but we didn't make enough plays.  I do see progress and when you look at the guys' eyes during preparation and practice, you see their willingness to put it all in to compete against a team like that.  You don't see anybody doubting they can win the game, and that's progress. Now we have to find a way to win those games."

"With the continued effort on the recruiting trail, our continued effort in development, and obviously trying to stay healthy, those things are going to come. I believe that. I've been down to that place twice and I've seen a different team than when I first went down there."

"Defensively they did a great job of covering our receivers. Other than David [Grinnage] we didn't get open down the field.  He had a couple of plays where he was able to get down the field.  We didn't complete a pass over 15 yards. It wasn't because we weren't trying.  We had a bunch of calls to get guys open downfield, and they weren't open. It's hard to throw it to guys that are covered down there, and that's the one thing Florida State has... they have tremendous corners.  That showed in the game.  Having the ability to run the football is good, but that's not going to get guys open down the field when they are playing one-on-one to begin with because that's what they were doing."

"I know our guys and I know how they are going to compete. I know how personal they take it, and I saw the look in their eyes after the game."

"I'm proud of who I'm coaching and how they are working.  I'd like to get back on the winning track this week, and I know they'll put everything into making that happen."

"I'd hope that we don't.  Syracuse, we've played them twice since I've been here and the first year we didn't beat them and the second year it took a great effort to beat them. They just played Clemson in a great football game. I think that would get our guys' attention."

"They play North Carolina in two weeks, and they'll be fired up for that game. All our focus will be getting win No. 7 this week so we can make that one an even more important game."

"From the start it's been to raise the bar. To say that we've raised the bar this year, how do you say that?  The only way to define it by numbers is to win the next two right?  Last year we won seven in the regular season, and we have a chance to win eight.  That would be your ultimate goal here, to finish 2-0 and go to a postseason game and win it. We have to win this one to get to that one."

"In the grand scheme of things, I think that's all you can try to do as a coach, be better than you were the year before and at the end of the year you assess whether you did it or not.  In some ways we are and in some ways we aren't."

"There's reasons for that. Some of it is what we're dealing with injury-wise is preventing us from being who we want to be all the time. You try to get around that with other things. Against some teams we were able to do that. Against Florida State we weren't."

"Our offense has played six of the top 25 defenses in the last eight weeks. We fared well against some of those defenses, Boston College, Clemson, and Wake we played really well on offense... well enough to win. In the other three games we didn't."

"It's a team game, but we have really competed against some great defenses this year, probably more than most people can say they have. Unless you live in the Atlantic Division right now I don't know if anyone else plays against the defenses we do week in and week out. We drew Virginia Tech from the other side who is also a Top 25 defense so we've had our share of challenges.  Then to face them without your top two running backs at times, that's tough."

"I hope [Mike Rose] gets conference recognition, to be where he is statistically in the league. Nationally I can't answer for that... but in the league, going against the defenses we've faced, Mike is one of the best defensive ends in the conference... there's no doubt."

"In the last two games Bradley Chubb has played as well as Mike.  Thos two guys are both playing at a high level right now. It's exciting. I told coach Nielsen today that I'm proud of him because of the way that his guys have played."

"We need to continue to do it because we need those guys to be disruptive."

"It's crazy.  The way that kid played last week and the way he played against LSU... he doesn't look like a walk-on. He's very poised, made plays on his feet... ran the offense like he's been running it for a while."

"Option football is assignment football... guys are in their gaps and not trying to do someone else's job.  You're not going to have exotic blitzes because you'll find out the hard way that's not the right thing to do to stop the option."

"It's important when you play a team like that to get a lead and get them out of what they want to do, and that's to run the football and control the clock."

"I think all coaches probably think about a million things during the day. There's a lot of things like that... that goes on. Maybe at the end of the year I'll think about it like that, but right now I'm just trying to find a way to win a game."

"Jay Sam has a lot on his plate and so does Nyheim... how do you balance it all out?  They want the ball, but you want them to be able to do the things you ask them to do well.  My hat's off to both of those guys for how many different things they are doing in our offense, but there's a lot that goes into playing that position... protection things too."

"The biggest challenge that any young team has is once you kind of settle in to what you're good at you want to continue to do it and get better and build plays off of plays and play-actions off of runs... to have the pieces change on the o-line as much as ours have and to have the running backs change, it's a challenge. Then when you're playing the defenses we have it makes it even more of a challenge at times."

"Jay Sam probably didn't play his best game last week, turning the ball over and having the penalty, but he plays hard. He gives us everything he has, and I know that he'll learn from it and get better."

"We're excited about Riley.  We think he has a good future. He's a knee-bender, he's strong, and he comes from a great program.  He's a kid that can play MIKE and WILL. He's a sure tackler. He can run and change directions.  Now it's just getting him game reps.  He had a few mistakes that hurt us, but he's a freshman and that's going to happen when you play a freshman. He's on every special teams and we have to find a way to keep him fresh."

"As far as the future of the position, I think him and Airius both can run and hit. We like that about both of those two guys."

"We haven't given up on Jerod.  He cares tremendously about our team and his play."

"We have some good kids coming up in the program eventually. It's a position that needs to get better for sure, but we like the way those two kids play."

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