Special Ops unit helps NC State prepare for season
Posted July 22, 2014
Athletes commonly reach points when they physically don't think they can keep going.
Coaches all across the country come up with a variety of ways to help players get beyond that wall of personal defeat. NC State coach Dave Doeren took a military approach last week.
They are hearing a voice they haven’t heard before. This is a part of “the program,” a group of special operations marines whose mission is to push NC State’s football players beyond barriers.
“I wanted to put them in a position to where I exposed them one way or the other where the good things came out or the bad came out,” Doeren said.
What these players go through is physically taxing and more.
“But it's only physically challenging to get to a mental state where you really have to think and become accountable under duress and become a better teammate,” Doeren said.
Doeren hopes this develops a circle of leadership among the players, something that was missing last year.
“We were coming in under a new staff,” defensive end Art Norman said. “I feel like we didn't have a lot of senior leaders. They didn't know how to set the tempo because it was a new tempo. We didn't know what to expect. We all were going through it together. Nobody kind of stepped out and led from the team.”
This exercise could be very beneficial to a squad that is so young.
“I thought it was a great way to simulate just the stress of the game day atmosphere for a young football team,” said Doeren. “Seventy-one percent of our team is freshman or sophomores so we're just trying to find ways to help those guys be ready for game day mentally.”
The Florida State fight song blares in the background, all to form a mental image of the real contest between the Wolfpack and Seminoles on September 27.