Doeren: Offseason conditioning showing up during spring practice
Posted April 9, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A year ago, as he was putting the final touches on his first spring period at North Carolina State, head football coach Dave Doeren was still learning the ropes in Raleigh.
He didn't know many names or faces, and he had no clue what to expect from the Wolfpack during his first season.
A year later, even after a disappointing 3-9 campaign, Doeren – and his team – are more prepared headed into Saturday's annual Kay Yow Spring Game.
The second-year head coach is familiar with his players and the intricacies of the program, and he said Wednesday that the differences in his team should be noticeable to fans this weekend.
"You can see many strides being made. We've made a lot of gains in our offseason program that are visual on the field," he told Mark Thomas and Mike Maniscalco on 620 The Buzz AM. "We're so far ahead from a system standpoint. We're not teaching terminology to anyone but freshmen. We have a much better understanding of what our players can and can't do."
Doeren said the comfort level his players have with the offensive and defensive systems allows coaches to focus more on the game and less on the technical aspects of playcalling and alignment.
"You see a lot more confidence in what they're supposed to do and why," he said. "The two years in strength and conditioning and in the system show up on tape."
One player that will get plenty of attention for what he can do Saturday afternoon is quarterback Jacoby Brissett, a Florida transfer who has been given the keys to the offense after sitting out last season.
Although he hasn't seen game action yet, Doeren said he expects Brissett to be confident when the team scrimmages Saturday.
"He's throwing the ball around really well. He's got a great arm with great touch," he said.
Defensively, Doeren said several members of the defensive front seven have had strong spring periods.
"Some of our defensive linemen – Art Norman and Mike Rose – have had great springs," he said. "You can see how much bigger they are and how they are able to play the run game. Rodman Noel has also had a good spring for us."
Festivities for the Kay Yow Spring Game begin Friday night with the Wolfpack Club's BBQ Bowl "Kickin' at the Carter" event in the RV parking lot.
On Saturday, parking lots open at 8 a.m. Stadium gates open at 10:30 a.m. for the inaugural football alumni game, which will include more than 70 former players. Mario Williams and Nate Irving will serve as honorary coaches.
The spring game starts at 1 p.m. Admission is free, but a minimum donation of $1 to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund is suggested.