After week off, Doeren looks ahead to Wake Forest

Brett Friedlander

After spending the past week trying to recover -- both physically and mentally -- from a lopsided loss at Boston College, has turned his attention to this week's opponent Wake Forest.

Here's what he had to say about the Deacons, who have been Wolfpack's nemesis in recent years, especially in Winston-Salem:

"Getting ready for five games here in one month and (it's a) great opportunity for us to get better, Really, that's the focus with our team, just taking one day at a time and one opportunity at a time., working with these guys on improving their skill sets and playing together. One percent better each day. That's the biggest thing we're working on."

"We've got a great opportunity against a really good football team this week. Excited to play against Wake Forest, an in-state game, a rivalry game and a very good football team. Dave (Clawson) and his staff have done a nice job. They've got a lot of experience, a lot of good players."

"When you look at them on offense, (they're) very fast tempo. Their receiving corps across the board is elite and is playing at a high level. The way (Sage) Surratt and (Scotty) Washington are playing on the perimeter, using their size to their advantage and being strong, and what Kendall Hinton has done transitioning from quarterback to slot, making plays for them ..."

"Both quarterbacks have played. I'm not sure who we'll see, but they're both really good players. Their tight end (Jack Freudenthal) does a nice job in the package they give him. Their offensive line has only given up eight sacks and I think that their left tackle (Justin Herron) is one of the best in the conference."

Defensively they're sound. Their defensive end (Carlos) Basham has done a great job, a very disruputive player. (He's a) long, big kid that's kind of taken over the playmaking role for them on their front. ... Obviously they've had some injuries at Will linebacker (losing top tackler Justin Strnad), but there's a lot of guys in there making plays. Their strong safety, (Nasir) Greer is a very good open field tackler. I enjoy watching him play."

After a week away since a 45-24 beatdown at Boston College on Oct. 19, Doeren said he and his players are looking forward to "getting back at it" ...

"We had a good chance over the bye week to get some guys some rest. And they needed it. Had a really good practice yesterday. I thought the guys came back from the break we gave them with a lot of energy."

"I feel good about who we have as far as being able to play. We're not going to gain a bunch of players back, unfortunately, from the injury list. But at least the guys we had in the last game are able to play together again over this past week to get a little continuity there."

Wake has won seven of the last eight meetings in Winston-Salem and the past two games overall, both of which were decided late in the fourth quarter -- one on a Wolfpack fumble by Emeka Emezie at the goal line and last year on a 32-yard touchdown pass by the Deacons in the final minute.

Doeren was asked if he talked to his players about those two games and whether the pressure might be on Wake this time now that the roles are reversed and it's Wake that's the favored, ranked team, rather than the Wolfpack ...

"Yeah, they are the ranked team. Record-wise, them and Clemson have the best records in the league, so our players know what's going on out there. Some of our players were part of those (last two) games, but not many. So I don't know how much I can lean on that and have anything come out of it."

"To me, regardless of who we play, it's going to be how we play. That's the thing with our football team right now. Not that I don't care who we play. I do, obviously. But I care a lot more about how we play as a football team. If we just get better, make the plays we can make and do the things we can do, then we'll be in every game and have a chance to win."

"Hopefully at quarterback Devin (Leary) continues to get better and better, makes those plays those plays he showed us in the fourth quarter last week. That will help our offense."

Finally, Doeren was asked if the second of two open dates on the Wolfpack's schedule came at a good time, considering the injury situation and the disappointing result at BC ...

"Regardless of where they put an open date when you're dealing with what we are from an injury standpoint, that's a good time to have it. I don't care where it would have fell in the season."

"Whether we won or lost that (BC) game, there were a lot of things that happened. There was a point in time where nine freshmen were on the field in that game. So for us to get all those guys back -- who's going to be healthy, who isn't -- alright, let's go to work with these guys and get them better. It was a great time for us to have that opportunity, just getting ready for five games in four weeks which we're about to do, We needed that break to get ready for the stretch run."