The Wolfpacker

July-August 2020 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 51

26 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER ave Doeren enters year eight at NC State in 2020, becom- ing the longest-tenured head coach for the Wolfpack since Earle Edwards spent 17 years on the sidelines at both the old Riddick Stadium and then Carter-Finley Stadium from 1954-70. Yet there is nothing normal about 2020 for Doeren, despite his longevity. The obvious is the fallout from the CO- VID-19 pandemic that has left innumerable questions. There is no blueprint for dealing with a situation whose only apt comparison may be the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, back when football was more of a campus recreational opportunity. The best Doeren can do is glean as much information as possible from the powers that be above him and ask questions to make sure he has everything needed to make the best plan possible. It's far from ideal, but it is also the reality. Further complicating Doeren's task at hand is a new-look coaching staff. His goal is to make sure a hard-luck 2019 season proves to be an aberration after back-to- back nine-win campaigns in 2017 and 2018, and a stretch of five straight bowl appear- ances that ended last fall. Doeren hired Tim Beck away from Texas to be his new offensive coordinator and quar- terbacks coach. Tony Gibson was promoted from co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach to the sole defensive coordinator, while he was also given oversight of the linebacker group. Replacing Gibson leading the safeties is Joe DeForest, who was at USC last year. Cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell and defensive line coach Charley Wiles, both previously from Virginia Tech, and nickels coach Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay, a Pack alum who was the defensive coordinator at North Carolina Central in 2019, completed the total overhaul of the defensive coaching staff. Offensively, Kurt Roper moved from quarterbacks coach to running backs. Spring was expected to be a time of in- stalling new schemes and having players adjust to the new voices of leadership. That lasted all of five practices before COVID-19 put an end to that. Doeren minced no words — the Pack has work to do once it opens practices for its Sept. 2 season opener at a potential pre- season top-25 team in Louisville. "We are behind, there is no doubt," the coach confirmed. "We only got five days in, so we're behind. I think the defense is ahead of the offense just because we learned a lot of the system last year. … But even defen- sively, we got four new coaches over there. Even though some of the schemes are the same, the techniques have changed." Keeping Things Simple While Making Adjustments Ideally, Beck said he would prefer to see his new players in person to make his own evaluations. It's only fair because, he noted, he can't judge how someone did in a game without knowing what and how they were asked to do things. But 2020 has not been an ideal year. Thus Beck's offense is still yet to take shape. "I think Tim wanted the spring to know what he had, and he didn't get the oppor- tunity for two reasons," Doeren said. "Not having the players that were hurt back for spring ball yet. They would have been back after spring break. "And he only had five days to work with the rest of them." Doeren noted how the offense will look compared to years past remains to be seen. While some things will appear similar, there will also be parts that do not. Beck spent the past three seasons as Texas' offensive coor- dinator and also previously did that for four years at Nebraska (2011-14) while serving as the co-OC at Ohio State in between. He is used to making changes and adjustments, D GREAT UNKNOWNS NC State Tries To Adjust To Changes While Dealing With A Pandemic Dave Doeren — NC State's longest-tenured head coach since Earle Edwards (1954-70) — revamped his coaching staff this offseason in an effort to rebound from last year's injury-plagued 4-8 campaign that snapped the program's streak of five straight bowl appearances. PHOTO BY KEN MARTIN

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - July-August 2020 Issue