Wolfpack 'D' focusing on limiting big plays

N.C. State's Darryl Cato-Bishop sacks Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in the third quarter. The Wolfpack defense combined for six sacks and four turnovers in the game two years ago in Raliegh.

N.C. State's Darryl Cato-Bishop sacks Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in the third quarter. The Wolfpack defense combined for six sacks and four turnovers in the game two years ago in Raliegh.

N.C. State coach Dave Doeren broke down his Wolfpack after two weeks and looked ahead to the Tigers on the ACC teleconference…

Intro: It works out that we're 2-0. Team had to overcome a lot of adversity from losing our starting quarterback in the opener and being down and turning the ball over. Not the way we want to start a game with the turnovers we had. Richmond played really well. The guys hung in there and fought and found a way to get the ball in in the second half with two turnovers that we forced and gave our kicker a chance, and Nik Sade has really been strong for us in the first two games. So we gave him a chance to win the game, and he did.

Q. It's tough to say 444 yards total offense is not great, but it was kind of a step back from week one. Was that a function of their defense, the turnovers or something else at work there?

COACH DOEREN: I think we had a lot of drives that you look at the drive charts, and we had a lot of long drives that ended up with not enough points. Whether it was having to settle for a field goal or a turnover or a penalty that killed a drive, we just didn't finish drives the way we did in the first game. So it's definitely, like I said, our hat is off to Richmond.

Their defense last year, they were number one in the nation. Their level with turnover margin, they had 24 interceptions a year ago. So we knew they'd be opportunistic, and we couldn't make mistakes. Unfortunately, we played into how they played. They just lineup the right way. They play hard. They don't make any mistakes. We weren't as crisp. We, obviously, weren't as detailed as we need to be taking care of the football.

Q. Can you evaluate how Pete Thomas did in his first full game as quarterback?

COACH DOEREN: Yeah, he played really hard. He made a lot of plays with his feet on third down. He was very accurate with the football. He made a couple mistakes. He threw the ball late over the middle that should have been intercepted and a scramble late in the game. He had a guy open and he underthrew it for an interception.

I know it's a game Pete will learn from, but I was really impressed with how he made plays with his feet and kept the chains moving for us in some pretty key times of the football game.

Q. In your look at Clemson on film, how scary do those guys appear to be?

COACH DOEREN: They're very good. Obviously, not ranked in the Top 10 in the country without having great players and great coaches. We know we're up for a very, very good football team coming in here. I think they return more starters and lettermen than anyone in the league. So they've experience on top of talent. So we're going to have to play our best. I know our guys have excited about the challenge.

Q. Some of the weapons they have, Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and so on, is it more of a matter of containment rather than because stopping them, I mean, they're going to move the ball most likely. But how do you contain an offense like that and maybe so that they don't convert on every possession?

COACH DOEREN: Yeah, well, first thing you've got to do is not give up big plays. You have to contend routes and tackle well in space. We've got to shed blocks and get more people to the ball. But they are going to make plays, like you said. To win the football game, they can't be explosive plays that lead to points.

We've got to be able to keep lining up and play and make some plays. We've got to be opportunistic on defense this week and continue to force turnovers. That is one thing we've done well for two weeks and we've got to continue to do that.

Q. Just want to follow up, after two games, your top rusher is a freshman (Matt Dayes, 31 carries for 127 yards); your top receiver is a freshman (Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 12 catches for 174 yards). Is that an awkward situation or are those positions where freshmen where experience isn't as much a premium as say quarterback or linebacker or something?

COACH DOEREN: Well, I mean, when I was hired here there were only two running backs on scholarship and six receivers. We were just thin there. There were two quarterbacks. We had to recruit to fill those voids. Freshmen are playing well, they're bringing energy to the game plan, and they've made plays. It wasn't the plan to have them be in front of the other guys, it's just we're rotating a lot of people, and those guys for two weeks in a row have shown up and made plays for us. We just need them to keep coming on.

Unfortunately, two of our fumbles were freshmen. So you kind of have to take the good with the bad early on.

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Comments » 3

cuGIZ82 writes:

Hopeful we will play a sound game in all three phases and beat N.C. State...I'm expecting a close game because they seem to give us their best shot.

lhaselden writes:

I am not expecting a close game.. I think we have a 21 pt lead at least by half time.... 2 years ago they embarrassed us, last year they embarrassed FSU, I think we come out sharp, and hit them hard and play one of our best game in years.......I expect them to give us their best shot too, but Doeren is going to need a year or 3 to rebuild the program....

clemvol writes:

I expect nothing more than domination. This is obstacle number 3 in the way. From the opening play I expect the Tigers to mash them in the mouth and no let up until the final whistle. I expect the defense to limit them to 3 and outs. I expect the offense to play like a well oiled machine. I expect the receivers, and I mean all of them to catch everything they can touch. I expect the offensive line to fire off on every play. I expect the running backs to run with unmatched determination. I expect the defensive line to dominate and take over the line of scrimmage. I expect the linebackers to make heads roll. I expect defensive backs to cover and smother like a blanket. I expect the quarterbacks to be on focus and rhythm. I expect every kickoff to be in the end zone. I expect the coaching staff to have their game face and focus on. I expect the fans not to let up one play. I expect to Tigers to be mean and nasty and smooth and fluid and not take the foot off the gas for one play. I expect a win that will make other and upcoming teams to be afraid, to be scared, to want to stay in the locker room. Now, Go get the next step done Tigers.

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