NC State football coach Dave Doeren addressed a number of issues, including the return of college football, recruiting against UNC's Mack Brown and the Wolfpack's prospects for a quick bounceback during an interview on the Charlotte Observer's "Talking Preps" webcast Monday.
Here is a sampling of what he had to say:
On what he's doing to pass the time during the lockdown
"Besides doing (interviews) like this, I've been spending a lot of time with my family. That's been the blessing in all of this. Going on 10 years as a head coach and 20-some as a college coach, you just don't get this kind of time with your children and wife. Sara and I have spent a lot of time together. I've been around my three sons and Sara as much as I could be."
On the effects of having all but five spring practices canceled
"I think reps are so precious. I don't think there's anything more important than building good habits and those happen from a massive number of reps. So it always hurts to lose reps with your guys. But I guess we're all in the same boat with this thing, so you don't feel like anyone's had the chance to maybe do more than you've done from the standpoint of coaching your guys. But for us, we had a very young football team and you would have loved to have gotten those guys on the grass a little bit more."
On whether there will be football this fall
"I think we're definitely going to play football. I don't know if we're going to start on time or not, don't know how many games. But I do know college athletics needs college football for a variety of reasons. What our sport gives our country coming out of this lockdown where everybody just can't wait, everybody's starving to watch competition right now. Just seeing how things are trending, I'd say we're on a good track now to have the game. I just don't know how the stands are going to look like. I have no idea what that's going to be like, how that's going to play out."
On how quickly he think's State can bounce back from last year's 4-8 record
"We plan on being back this year, for sure. I think going through what we did last year was very difficult on our staff, on our players, on our fans and none of us want to live it again. Some of it was out of our control, some of it wasn't. I always look at myself first, my staff and then our team. I think it's a great offseason. I think it brought a lot of things to head.
"I think that's one of the positive things of going through adversity. It really does uncover some things that might had you won this game or that game or gotten a bowl bid, you might have overlooked it. So for me, it's a great chance to really look at what's going on. The players did a phenomenal job of owning their part of it. Together we worked really hard on building some chemistry. That's one area I think has helped us quite a bit through this quarantine."
On the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on recruiting
"Every year I've been here, the spring and summer have been really good opportunities for us to show off Raleigh, in my opinion one of the greatest places in the world to live. So people come up and they want to visit and they're like 'Oh my God, I didn't know it was like this.' And then they get on our campus and (see) so many great things Chancellor (Randy) Woodson has done, the new buildings are there. But we can't show it off (right now).
"You come out of the four-win season, you've got new coaches. They want to see them coach, they want to see the players, they want to see the direction of the program and then all of a sudden they can't. So we're in a position right now where we're doing the best we can with these Zoom calls. We've got some really good kids that we're talking to. I love the direction we're headed with everything. But we need to get people back here. We need to get on the grass and we need to go win games. I'm not going to hit the panic button. I know this is a really early part of what's going on.
"I think what (the coronavirus crisis) has done is a lot of these kids have made decisions before they wanted to. I think a lot of them had plans to come visit us and visit other schools and compare their A, B, C and D schools and then make decisions. Because of this some of them have hit the pause button on it and others have made decisions earlier than they wanted to. So I do think you're going to have a lot of people flipping this year based on how the seasons play out."
On opening the 2020 season with difficult games at Louisville and against Mississippi State
“We got two great games to open the season. It’s one of those deals. Sometimes we don’t play a schedule like that and everyone complains about it. Then you do have one and everyone is worried about it. So you've got to line up and play.”
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