Virginia was not the only football team that failed to win a single ACC game last season.
Neither did North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack went 3-9 overall and 0-8 in ACC play in Dave Doeren’s first season as the team’s coach.
“We remember what last year tastes like, so we don’t want that,” defensive end Art Norman said last week at the ACC’s preseason media gathering in Greensboro, North Carolina. “That’s what kind of makes you drive harder, just so you don’t have another year like that. Everybody’s been working so much harder.”
Doeren expects his team, which returns seven starters on offense and another seven on defense, to be better this season.
“We have more depth. We have more experience,” he said. “We’ve been through some major adversity together and I think it makes you closer.”
The Wolfpack hopes a new starting quarterback will also help it win more games.
State is one of three ACC teams (along with Georgia Tech and Wake Forest) switching its base defense to a 4-2-5 nickel scheme featuring five defensive backs. State sees the 4-2-5 as a better way to stop pass-happy teams.
“There’s more three-receiver teams than there are two-back teams anymore in our league,” Doeren said. “Watching us last year, I felt like if we could’ve played tighter coverage in some situations, it would’ve helped us more — and you can’t do that when you have a linebacker on a slot receiver.”
The 4-2-5 is also a good fit for potential recruits within the state of North Carolina, said Doeren.
“There’s a lot of athletes in our state that are 5-11 to 6-2, 180 to 200 pounds that can run,” he said. “You can recruit that scheme very well in this state.”