Huzzah – Dave Doeren Answers BJD’s Last Remaining Questions Last Saturday

On the surface, NC State simply fell to 5-3 overall, and 1-3 in league play. Another year, another Atlantic Division elimination. Hell, the Pack didn’t even cover the spread. But beyond that, you should be dancing for joy. For rest assured, Dave Doeren fully knows what he is doing.

What changed on Saturday? Coach Doeren finally did something that I have been waiting for. Something that a Wolfpack coach really hadn’t done since Mike O’Cain went for two in the Carrier Dome a million years ago.

He showed real understanding of the concept of leverage. The mathematics of analyzing and playing the hand that you are dealt. Like any objective observer, Doeren knew the monumental nature of his task on Saturday. The 2015 Clemson Tigers are freaking loaded for bear. Especially when they have the ball on offense, they were going to be at a significant size and speed advantage at…Every. Single. Matchup. All over the field. But especially in the secondary.

Now, you don’t roll over and play dead. You still punch ’em in the mouth, and make ’em earn everything they get. But you also have to realize your situation, and plan accordingly.

And that’s exactly what Dave Doeren did. We had 10-7 offsuit, and we played the hell out of it. No shame in not clearing out the table with that hand.

All week, Doeren reminded his charges of unexpected ways to find scoring opportunities, getting into position to win (like GT blocking FSU’s winning FG). Look for the back door. An opening. Catch special teams napping (onside kick #1). Just the fact that we took the time to practice two masterful onside kick plays – that impresses the hell out of me. That shows REAL commitment to winning this game. And as we get more talent in the pipeline, just imagine what we can do if we keep playing our cards aggressively?

That is to say, mathematically CORRECTLY. I will point to Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who, to his credit, took the time to self-evaluate, and listen to the statistical argument that he was being too conservative on 4th down (as almost all coaches are). You see, playing it conservative “by the book” tends not to get a tremendous amount of criticism, certainly by the “respectable” media. You just did what was expected, followed the herd. But take a risk, HOWEVER JUSTIFIED, and people fall into logical traps, and judge it solely based on whether it worked or not. That’s like saying that every incomplete pass is a bad play call. And the first coach to start really using the forward pass? I’m sure he heard critiques like that, because it wasn’t “by the book.”

There is no way you will convince me that Doeren didn’t understand going in that we would need extra possessions. Clemson just had too much of a physical advantage. Even the return TD wasn’t nearly enough to balance the scales. Once we had injuries (particularly in the secondary), it was a no-brainer. We were gassed and beat-up. The odds of winning playing it safe were almost zero. Being aggressive increased those odds, even though it didn’t work. A chance is just a chance, after all.

Especially after a decade-plus of Amato and TOB egotistically and/or stubbornly insisting on “winning” a certain way (that didn’t fit our strengths, personnel, or basic reality in any way, shape, or form), I am damned happy that Dave Doeren THINKS. It won’t always work, but that process will give us the best results over the long haul.

That, along with his continued hard, steady work recruiting. As you saw…we still need plenty of size, speed, and depth on the field.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

Dave Doeren On the Record

Home Forums Huzzah – Dave Doeren Answers BJD’s Last Remaining Questions Last Saturday

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  • #91416

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    On the surface, NC State simply fell to 5-3 overall, and 1-3 in league play. Another year, another Atlantic Division elimination. Hell, the Pack didn’
    [See the full post at: Huzzah – Dave Doeren Answers BJD’s Last Remaining Questions Last Saturday]

    #91417

    LifeLongWolf
    Participant

    YES! Perfectly said.

    #91418

    redisgood
    Participant

    Well put! It’s a painful process to be sure, but I like the direction we are headed.

    #91419

    TheCOWDOG
    Moderator

    Bellissimo

    #91420

    MrPlywood
    Participant

    Nice writeup.

    In one of the WS games, the Royals put a guy on third with aggressive base running. The play was very close, and while under review the 3rd base coach said to the player “Hey, we’ve been aggressive all year.”, meaning that if he was out (which he was) he was out, but they stuck with the type of play that got them there. Keeping your opponent off balance is huge. I think that had a big part to play with the Mets’ errors, and KC taking it all.

    #91421

    Wufpacker
    Participant

    Well stated.

    #91427

    tjfoose1
    Participant

    I approve this message.

    #91428

    archdalepack
    Participant

    48 seconds left in half. Man coverage on outside receiver. Believe that failure was the game! Don’t understand this decision, would love to have heard explanation.

    #91429

    OldWuf
    Participant

    Right on BJD! DD will lead us to success (relatively speaking). I’ve had Dick Sheridan flashbacks a few times this season. The wins will come.

    #91430

    mak4dpak
    Participant

    Again building on the game from Saturday, we can win all remaining games, even FSU, depending on what they show against Clemson, which I don’t see much, especially since they lost to a GT, who is on a downward slide. Just have to correct our mistakes from Saturday, with special emphasis on the secondary, and leaving receivers too open. This starts Saturday, and we a are more than capable of defeating BC.

    #91432

    bill.onthebeach
    Participant

    Yep…

    A one eyed man can see Coach Doeren is cut from a different bolt of cloth than many of his predecessors…
    and that’s something most all of us find comfortable while still making a #Statement…

    The future of Wolfpack football does indeed appear bright.

    ______________________

    Not having Shadrach on the field last Saturday was worth two touchdowns…
    but the flip side of that speaks well to the rest of team and recruits…

    _______________________

    fwiw… I had the first cataract fixed two weeks ago… next one is 11/19 … I should be sharper than ever for roundball….

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!
    #91433

    Primewolf
    Participant

    Quite a broad conclusion, BDJ.

    I think DD is a good head coach in many respects and the recruiting is better than anything we have seen since the early days of Amato.

    However, our coordinators and perhaps other coaches are mediocre at best. We are recruiting at about the mid level of the ACC. Do you guys really think our coaches are going to get us much past an average of about 3.5 ACC wins a year. Based on what I have seen, the schemes and calls, game adjustments, etc, I don’t expect much more than mediocrity without a serious upgrade in coordinators to begin with.

    If DD could get to where we win 4, occasionally 5, and rarely 6 or more ACC wins a year, he would be up there with Sheridan and HOLTZ. I just think this staff isn’t up to the task.

    #91434

    TheCOWDOG
    Moderator

    ^ Maybe 🙂

    Just maybe…Hey. Ya coulda’ told us that ya went half blind, ya know.

    Got a question. Have you been working ACC football games thru this?

    Heal those peepers, Bill. We got your 12, your 6, 9 and 3, in the meantime.

    #91435

    highstick
    Participant

    Been there, done that, Bill..I went 4 years with the non dominant eye fixed and it drove me bonkers…When I got the dominant eye fixed, it was totally different…

    Should have never trusted a UnC grad to know his “right from his left” in the first surgery…I think he did it intentionally though. He and I were talking and he said he graduated from UnC in 74 and I probably made the mistake of saying “Oh, you know what it’s like to get your butt beat on a regular basis by NC State”!

    He did not do my second surgery…I had to have Lasik on the first to even make it work.

    "Whomp 'em, Up, Side the Head"!

    #91436

    tjfoose1
    Participant

    Not having Shadrach on the field last Saturday was worth two touchdowns…

    It was also worth a fumble.

    On an obvious passing down Gallaspy went in… If you want a valid point to discuss criticism, this is one. It was one of my few ‘wtf’ moments in the game. Said aloud to the Clemson guy next to me, “oh uh, this ain’t good, here comes a sack”. He whiffed his block and Jacboy was stripped. I don’t recall him back in the game after that, at least on a passing play.

    I also called 3 of Clemson’s TDs from the stands before they hiked the ball. That concerns me. But to be fair, it was somewhat obvious given the matchups they were purposely creating with their alignments. Their OL (I can’t stress enough how much I was impressed, aside from that mini stretch our DLine had) and run game forced us to play it straight in the box and man coverage on the wings. We simply don’t have the horses, yet. Outmanned and outgunned. But DD and staff kept going toe-to-toe for a punchers chance.

    #91439

    tjfoose1
    Participant

    48 seconds left in half. Man coverage on outside receiver. Believe that failure was the game! Don’t understand this decision, would love to have heard explanation.

    I was in the stands, so didn’t have the advantage of the TV replay, but from what I remember, it was the boundary side of the field with a single WR, and their slot (#13, super fast, former walk-on, who had burned us earlier down the middle with a long TD) on the other side of the ball ran a fly to occupy the safety. He did the same on 1st down too. I remember because I was watching him and was making sure they didn’t do the same thing for a redux of his big play TD from earlier in the game. The coaches had it covered, but it opened up the boundary (weak) side of the field. Stevens had perfect coverage, but the push off created the separation.

    From my perspective, the most valid criticism of the entire sequence is having Bambard attempt the FG. I would have had Maples and would’ve made that decision the previous Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, I understand sticking with talented youth in a slump, but it’s about GAME DAY production, not practice. 3 of 8 is enough. Let him work on his pysche where it can’t hurt the team. Come back to him later.

    #91440

    bill.onthebeach
    Participant

    I took over the operations of a medium sized organic farm down here back in August when my manager decided to make a sudden career change… so I been following the Pack on the gridiron via the radio… and planting the fall veggies at the same time…

    Stick… you’re right … took my brain about four days to readjust my head from being cross eyed…

    My doc is a good one… he’s GOTT some personality and he’s my age… he does have short man’s disease — he’s about 5’5″… and yes, he’s a Carolina man… but the surgeon is younger and a Dookie with a personality too…

    So I go to old doc for the followup…. He says everything is looking real good and go ahead get the other one done… as to the cross eyed thing… he tells me “You’ll be normal in no time at all”….

    to which I replied…

    “They must be teaching you guys some really cool new stuff at Chapel Hill…. ’cause I ain’t never been normal…. just ask anybody…”

    You just GOTT to love the Carolina Way…
    that is… exaggerate everything…

    Speaking of which… the guys on ESPN radio were cracking on Dook this morning and how their game this coming weekend at UNC was a sell out — something smarta$$ about when was the last time Dook played a football game that was a sellout…

    Thought to myself… the answer to that is…
    two years ago when they played in Chapel Hill… cause every game in Kenan is a “sell out” … you know…

    #NCSU-North Carolina's #1 FOOTBALL school!
    #91442

    travelwolf
    Participant

    Glad to see that you guys are setting some of the critics straight!

    #91443

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    Yeah, the FG decision was my WTF moment. Though all options were admittedly pretty bad, I woulda gone for it. I was sure that Clemson was gonna block it and run it back, but Dabo was looking for the fake.

    Guess he was surprised to see us try to kick, too.

    Kid needs an off-season mind cleanse and healthy competition going into 2016.

    #91445

    PackerInRussia
    Participant

    Good article/write-up/post. It didn’t strike me as out-of-the-norm watching the game as it seemed like the best thing to do, so it wasn’t surprising that it happened. But, you’re 100% correct that many would not go for the onsides kick at that juncture. Any time you do something that’s not normally done, you open yourself up for criticism as a coach. Most would probably rather just go the usual route and just leave it up to the players to execute. However, you’re right that it bodes well that Doeren would make tough calls that expose him to criticism for the sake of giving the team a better chance to win.

    #91450

    Mike
    Participant

    I agree with the decision to onside kick (but who am I to have any credibility to say right or wrong).

    They were going to get the ball back if we kick it deep and drive 80 yards anyway. Why not try to get the ball back and only force them to drive 45. We were not going to stop them either way so definitely worth a chance to get the ball back and gain a possession or two.

    It is one thing if you are trading scores in an even game, but when down 2 possessions and no chance of stopping them, have to do something to swing the possession difference in your favor.

    #91451

    Whiteshoes67
    Participant

    Agree that DD is a thinker and a learner and have no problem with the onsides kicks. Still think Primewolf makes a good point. As I’ve said before, you either have to outcoach and outscheme or outtalent, or a combination of both, to have staying power. You have a limited amount of time to demonstrate that progress in today’s college game. The VT and Louisville losses hurt.

    Still question clock management and defensive schemes, not because of the Clemson game, but 3 years worth of watching. I don’t recall seeing a lot of dink and dunk in the Clemson game, with lateral passes or slants with big runs. There were a few. But deep throws over the sideline and in the middle seemed too easy and too frequent. There was too much time for the QB. Unless we have 4-5 that can bring pressure, then you have to bring more against Watson. You acknowledge that you’ll likely get burned. But what happened anyway? We got torched. What bothers me most is I don’t see a clear, consistent, defensive philosophy. The offensive philosophy has been clearly stated: spread to run, stretch the field. What exactly is our defensive philosophy? I understand we adapt to personnel but at some point, you have to have a philosophy. And it has to get results.

    #91452

    AsheWolf
    Participant

    For future reference: Right is “haki” and left is “kushoto” in Swahili. The first one should be especially easy to remember.

    #91453

    Gowolves
    Participant

    While I generally agree with most of the post I do have some concerns. Like one or two others have posted I have a concern about growth and development of some of the players and units as a whole. Yeah the team is young but I kept hearing all off season they are young but they have a lot of snaps in them. So where is the development? I do think this team will get better as the season progress’. I fully support DD and expect him to get the most out of his players. Not sure I can say that about some position coaches. Go Pack!!

    Though it will be difficult to run against that BC line I hope they can somehow pull it off. They have embarrassed the Pack’s lack of run defense a few times in the last few years. Nothing is more demoralizing (ball snipping) than getting the ball run down your throat over and over even when you know it’s coming.

    #91454

    BJD95
    Keymaster

    This offseason is REALLY crucial, and Doeren will have big decisions to make regarding staff evaluation and the value of continuity vs. possible benefit of a fresh approach here and there.

    I simply don’t know enough to evaluate the defensive staff. I can say with certainty that the personnel isn’t good enough to win yet, at least with any kind of consistency. I hope the switch flips next season. Of course, we will be breaking in a new QB, so you now how that drill goes (ie, the first year after PR left).

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