Coaches Corner Recap With Reggie Herring

Today's "Coaches Corner" at Hi-Five featured defensive coordinator Reggie Herring.H

Herring opened the forum after receiving a nice applause from the Wolfpack fans in attendance. He has transformed a defense that was one of the worst in the country last year into the nation's #2 ranked defense heading into this weekend.

- Coach Herring began by saying the defensive unit will be judged by wins and losses, and not by statistics. NC State has lost three games this season and he gave the impression that two of the games could have been won if the missed assignments by the defense were negated.

Against North Carolina, the Tar Heels had two big plays that were a direct result of missed assignments in the secondary, and against Miami there were several missed assignments as well. Missed assignments can be corrected, and Herring believes the defense shouldn't be judged solely on those two games.

- Coach Herring also talked about the level of intensity that the Wolfpack defense is playing with. He's proud of their effort and pointed out that you can count on the Wolfpack defense always showing up... "you can bank on it."

- When asked why he chose to join Chuck Amato at NC State, the defensive coordinator praised the Wolfpack head coach for his vision and the direction he's taking the program in. He said that during his years in the NFL and away from college football, he reflected and watched the sport to see how it was going and noticed that the Wolfpack program was being taken to another level. Coach Herring said there were only a few programs he'd consider leaving professional football for, and the chance to work for Amato at NC State was one of them. He said that the national perception of the program is at a level that it has never been before, and that's a direct result of Amato setting the bar high. The fans need to get behind the program because it is headed directly where the staff and players want it to be. "Sometimes you may need to set the bar higher than it should be realistically, and that's coach Amato," said Herring.

- The first question from a fan centered around NC State's exclusive use of man-to-man coverage and constant blitzing, with the fan wondering why it seemed the staff didn't adjust against Miami. Coach Herring responded with a surprising answer, stating that the Wolfpack has used two all-out blitzes only twice this year, with both coming against Miami. He said that to the naked eye it may seem that the Wolfpack is always blitzing and using man coverage, but that's not the case.

NC State utilizes a 'three-deep fire zone' coverage with constant safety help. They use these type of blitzes with zone coverage on the back end to disrupt the running game. What appears to be an all-out blitz really isn't, and safety help should always be there for defenders.

On the play against Miami when the Hurricanes beat NC State deep for a score on a corner route, Coach Herring said the Wolfpack was actually in two-deep coverage but the safety bit on play-action and was out of position to help. Herring remarked that analysts and fans have the impression that NC State uses an all-out blitz/man coverage defense when that's really not the case. The Wolfpack uses a lot of three-deep fire zone coverage that relies on pressure up front from the linebackers with corners showing press coverage but often dropping back into the three-deep fire zone. It's a defense that can be very confusing to opposing offenses and has yielded great success for NC State.

- When questioned about penalties, Coach Herring acknowledged that they have been a problem and said the players are disciplined in practice. A lot of times, some penalties are judgement calls, and he's not going to coach fear and caution to his players. That's not his style and not Coach Amato's style. The players are punished and told to not commit foolish penalties, but the Wolfpack players are coached to play aggressive.

- Coach Herring recruits northern Florida (Tallahassee,Jacksonville, etc...) and the surrounding areas of Durham, North Carolina. He has recruited that Florida region for nearly 24 years and has great contacts in the area.

- With recruiting, Herring expects the Wolfpack to really target linebackers, offensive linemen, and secondary help. He also said that they will not turn away great skill players that want to play for the Wolfpack.

- One fan asked the coach about the returning defensive players and what they may look to replace next season on defense, and Coach Herring said it's too early to say. He hinted that some players may move from offense to defense after the season and that will affect the recruiting board when the time comes. Obviously, linebacker and secondary help is going to be an area the Wolfpack will look to recruit hard on the defensive side of the ball, given the graduation of six seniors at those positions.

- Coach Herring talked some more about his defense, saying that if fans wanted a coach to come in wearing slippers, smoking a pipe, with a nice sweater on, finishing 75th in the country, and giving opposing offenses that 'cozy' feeling, then they've got the wrong guy. His defenses are going to apply pressure and make offenses execute because the Wolfpack will take chances on defense.

- Clemson's up next for the Wolfpack and Coach Herring's crew is preparing hard for the Tigers. The defensive coordinator has a lot of respect for Charlie Whitehurst and knows him from his days at Clemson. He expects a fight from the Tigers and pointed out that it's a big, big game for both teams. It's a huge game for the Wolfpack according to Coach Herring.

Those were some of the notes from today's "Coaches Corner" with defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. Next week Men's Basketball Coach Herb Sendek will be the featured guest.


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