Doeren: Cut It Loose, Play Fast

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

Is this normal week of schedule? Like was today Thursday?
Today is Thursday. Game week Thursday.

Did you skip Friday basically?
Well, tomorrow's Friday.

It's game week Thursday. We lost a day, so what we did is we did a walk through on Sunday night, which would have normally been like a Tuesday practice. We didn't pads on, just to get out and go through some things. Monday's our day off here, because of our academic load that we have. Then we jumped into our normal week from that point on.

In this season, you've always wanted to go 1 and 0 each week. When you get to the end, is there something about just cutting lose a little bit with players?
Were you in our meetings this week?

That's the message for our guys, man, is just take all out all your frustrations out, and do everything you can to end on a great note. Obviously, we're playing for post-season, so we want to win to continue to play. Want to win for a variety of reasons. These guys just need to cut it loose and play ball.

What about red zone execution? How key is that?
It's critical. I mean, we've moved the ball well, but there's a lot of points we've left out there that could have put us in a lot better situation. Execution.

How similar is what they do to what Miami does in terms of their passing game? Is it all related?
No, it's not. They're quite a bit different actually.

I mean, he's been running the same stuff. It's a little different just because the quarterback is so good at passing. I mean, not that they won't run the QB run game, but there was a ton more before. There's more of their drop back routes. They still have their play actions and things like that. Their quarterback is really playing good ball.

Most opponents would have to have Elijah Hood somewhere circled, all that stuff, but I'm guessing TJ Logan gets a good chunk of your attention ...
Both of them.  Yeah, I think both of them are really good players. TJ is having an exceptional year as a returner, too. We've got to tackle both of those guys. They're hard to bring down.

Anything that you guys can glean from the Duke-UNC game?
I think so. Duke's really sound, and they do a lot of the same things structure-wise on defense that we do. They played hard, second half in particular. I mean, they got out to a poor start. Then they held them to, I think, 7 points after the first quarter.

We got to do a good job adjusting, and you can't give up explosive plays. Especially to them early, they're really good in the first quarter.

Have the last few meetings proven just how unpredictable the series is?
I guess. I mean, every year it's a different team for both sides, and different things involved. With the short week it adds to it, because I'm assuming they're beat up, too, at this point in the year, so you don't have another day of recovery for a certain player.

There's going to be some next man in stuff going on in the game probably on both sides that's going to add to it.

I don't know if it's all Thunder related, but knock on wood, you guys have been relatively healthy this year it seems like.
We've held it together.

Any impact that Thunder has made, or is that just luck sometimes?
Oh yeah. He's done a great job. This whole staff has done a great job. Justin Smith, our trainer, and his staff. Yeah, I mean, we've only had a couple muscle pulls all season. That's been big. If we can get through this week. We've got some guys duct taped together, but they're fighting through it.

I'm guessing the usual Thanksgiving plans is you invite a lot of the players over?
Right, going to the Angus Barn.

Yeah, we're going out as a team. Yeah, we're going out as a team this year. If it was a Saturday game, then we would have been able to do that. With it being the night before the game we'll eat as a team.

Is it hard to detach rivalry bowl eligibility ... You've had an 1 and 0 mindset all year long. How are you taking that?
I don't really have to talk about that. They all know what we planned for. All I'm taking to them about is cutting it loose, and playing fast, having success because of that. The rest will take care of itself.

Having had an 1 and 0 mindset every week, is that probably helping in regard to this week?
Yeah. I mean, I've haven't talked a whole lot about the rivalry. I mean, it's all about us to me. It's been our season. If we can just make the plays, make the layups, I guess you'd say, they're there, and finish those types of plays off, then we're going to be a lot happier at the end of all the games that we play. Just got to capitalize. To me, it's just about freeing your mind, and playing fast.

Any update on Cole Cook?
He's good. He got cleared Sunday, so he's good to go.

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