Doeren: "That's The Game"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Dave Doeren met with the media after Thursday's practice.

Is it harder to play defense now than maybe ten or fifteen years ago? Just with the offenses and things like that.
I think it's a different type of defense now than it used to be. It's always been about tackling and being watched, but there's a lot more explosive plays on the field than there used to be. There's more phone-booth football, I think. Now it's space football for a lot of games.

I think the biggest challenge you have anymore, defensively, is that every week, that sometimes, is a totally different opponent when it comes to what you're defending. You can go from playing against a smash-mouth team one week to a wide-open team the next, to a triple-option team the next. That's the hard part to me, is the variety.

Your packages have to be really flexible, and your kids have to know how to handle a lot of ... There's big-picture knowledge, where things carry in each week, you don't want to have to re-install something different because it's option week, or spread week. The rules have to really span over a lot of different schemes, which mentally can be challenging.

This almost has that feel, like a throwback game now, Wake likes to be physical, you want to be physical.
It's not a twenty-two personnel game, where you've got two tight ends and two backs out there, but I think you're playing two balanced teams. Maybe in today's world that's throwback, yes, you have two balanced throwback football teams, but it'll be a physical game, for sure.

You mentioned before last game you wanted to get Riley more reps, and then he got dinged up. What were you seeing from him that led you want to see that?
He was playing fast in practice. He was good on special teams. He practices well. He deserves to be out there more. I think that was the approach.

You earn what you get. He had earned the right to play a little bit, so we got a rotation going where he could be in there, and like I said in the press conference, it helps our linebackers just to be fresh when you have other guys popping in and out of the game at times.

Dayes had an amazing start in the last year's game. You guys really attacked him vertically. Is there any carry over? Can there be carry over?
I don't know. Like I said, we're different, they're different, every year it's a different challenge. They're playing better in all three phases than they were a year ago, obviously. They're 4-0, so they're going to try to defend us. It's our job to make plays, and we try to defend them.

That's the game. I think it's about players making plays.

I think on Monday you summed it up well, where Wake did a very good job of not being themselves against Indiana, took advantage of all those interceptions and either scoring points or preventing points from being scored.
Yep, you find a way to win. That's what they're doing, bottom line. You win 7-3 one game, and then you get five takeaways another game, and you're finding a way to win.

That seems it'll also be Ryan's strength, is that he's not giving away free points.
No, he's not, he's playing smart football. He's a very mature kid, he's got to continue down that path and not trying to do too much in letting your players make plays for you.

Jakobi Meyers, last game, I think he played really well for you. How have you evaluated how he played?
He's getting better. There's no doubt we're... excited about his progress and his future, and we're doing a developmental practice right now. He's playing quarterback, so he's getting better at that skill set as well.

Our goal is to catch him up on the things he missed, because he was injured a lot last year. We're really proud of his progress and the way that he's learning how to work his receiver.

So it's basically how you can use the whole roster.
I believe in trying to use some strengths and not your weaknesses as a coach, when you have play makers it's my job to try to find ways to get my bearing on it, it's the player's job to earn the opportunity.

Those guys have done that, and we'll continue to look at different players that can help us in different positions if they have those needs.

Did you notice that the players were a little more jacked up because it's an ACC game?
Not at all. Not at all.

We've been approaching this thing one week at a time, and they are excited it's conference play, haven't noticed spikes of their personalities, they practiced well last week. They practiced well the week before that.

Like I said, the week before the loss that we had that they didn't practice well. I think we learned that what we do on the practice field creates the habits that we need on Saturday. 

You mentioned you watched a lot of football on Saturday and I'm sure your players did too. Can you tell us how watching other teams do well that carry over?
Not really. We talked about the game. It was a crazy game. We talk about teachable moments from other people's games, but I don't think that has anything to do with how they're going to approach playing this one.

Moving Darian Roseboro around, was that about trying to get him more snaps?
No, again, it's a guy who's playing really well. We're trying to get him on the field, and trying to have our best d-linemen out there, whether he's in on the tackle or in at the end of that rotation.

Coach Neilsen believes in rotating guys and getting guys opportunities to get out on the field. He did that all the way through training camp. He's big enough and quick enough where he can play inside and outside, so we're trying to utilize his skill set.

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