Doeren's Postgame Comments Following UNC Loss
NC State football coach Dave Doeren was obviously frustrated and disappointed over Saturday's 41-10 loss to rival North Carolina that finished the Wolfpack's season at 4-8 (1-7 in the ACC).
But he also seemed ready to put his first losing campaign since 2013 into the past and begin working on the solutions to prevent it from happening again nex year. While he admitted that he, his staff and his players have a lot of soul searching and a lot of work to do this offseason, he wasn't ready to give any specifics as to what might be in his plans.
Here's what he had to say in his final postgame press conference of the year:
"Without a doubt, we fell apart in the third quarter. There were three straight drives with turnovers offensively and we didn't stop them defensively. The first half had a lot of good things happen and the second half no good things happened. We didn't make anything good happen. We've got a lot to fix."
"Injuries first, obviously. We have to get these guys healthy. We need to have a tremendous offseason. We need to get these younger guys better and we need to get our other guys back. We need to look at it all.
"I thought our guys played with a lot of heart in the first half. We did absolutely everything possible to lose that game in the third quarter. It started with penalties on the first drive that we got the football and went downhill from there."
Doeren made it clear that he wasn't didn't want to talk about any potential changes for 2020. He just wanted to get back to his office and start going over take to figure out what went wrong ...
"I’m not going to talk about that right now. It’s been a long year for all of us. First thing I need to do is get out of here and watch film and then come in and watch a lot more film. I need to look at our players, how we coached, our offseason, our summer program. I have to look at it all. The last thing I’m going to do is make an emotional decision. I need to make the right decision for our program, our players, our staff. That’s what I’ll do."
Doeren said his decision to pull quarterback Devin Leary in favor of Bailey Hockman late in the third quarter was based on a foot injury Leary suffered, not performance. He said it was too early to say what his quarterback situation will look like moving forward ...
"I can’t answer something like that right now. I’d love to say we don’t have anything going on, but we didn’t play good there tonight. I can’t sum up an entire season in two bad quarters. (Leary) did a lot of good things. There’s a million things I have to look at. I’m not going to have any answers tonight.
Doeren was asked is there was anything positive he can take away from a season like that. His answer is that he's never been through a season quite like this ...
"I didn’t expect it to end like this. You saw the first half. I thought we’d play a four-quarter game, and we didn’t."
"What can I take from this season? I’ve been through a lot with these guys. Our guys hung in there through 14 weeks of different lineups. A lot of guys played played who we didn’t expect to play. (They got) a lot of valuable reps. It was a strange year, only one home game in 54 days, four Saturdays we didn’t play, all these injuries. It was a lot."
While injuries and inexperience were major factors in State's troubles this season, Doeren said it would naive to use that as an excuse for everything that went wrong ...
"I can’t just blame youth on all of it. I talked about it in the locker room. The only reason (UNC) had success (in the first half) was we jumped offsides on third down. We had stupid and undisciplined penalties. We need to play clean and execute. We had three penalties on our first five plays on offense. That’s not good. That’s not executing. That’s not maturity. That’s not the type of football team we can win with. We have to get that fixed."
One thing Doeren knows much change is the minus-13 turnover rate his team had this season, punctuated by four more turnovers against UNC ...
"Going into this game, we were like 28-8 when winning the turnover margin. Obviously, we were minus 3 tonight. We aren’t going to win games like that. Last game we didn’t turn it over on offense, but before that we had 10 turnovers in three games. We’ll never be a good football team doing that. A lot of them are freshman or redshirt freshman, but we can’t do that. We have to play smarter football."