Wolfpack Will Have to Provide its own Energy in Empty Stadium

Brett Friedlander

The NC State football team will be at home Saturday for its 2020 season opener against Wake Forest.

How much of an advantage that is will be up to the Wolfpack.

Because the only fans in the stands at Carter-Finley Stadium for the 8 p.m. kickoff will be those made of cardboard -- including a few with familiar faces -- the players in red and white will have to generate their own energy rather relying on the crowd to provide it for them.

"We definitely have to have that," coach Dave Doeren said during his first weekly media conference Monday. "We’ve talked about offense, defense, special teams and then our team, our sideline team has to be great in supporting each other."

It's a similar philosophy to that of road games, especially those at Miami, Duke and anyplace else in which there's a lack of atmosphere in the stadium.

"It's going to be unusual, but nothing about this year has been usual so far," linebacker Isaiah Moore said. "We're going to have to feed off each other, bring our own juice and get everybody excited like we do at practice -- just generate off each other."

That's usually not necessary at Carter-Finley becaues of the passionate Wolfpack Nation.

But because of restrictions that limit public gatherings to 50 people or less in North Carolina because of the coronavirus pandemic, all state schools will their games without fans in the stands.

"It’ll be unique playing in an empty stadium," Doeren said. "We do have some pretty sweet cutouts over there. I saw Zach Galifianakis’ face in the crowd yesterday during our mock game. Bill Cowher as well. There’s some comedy relief there right now. But not having the students there, not having our fans, our parents, that’s hard."

"To say that we don’t get energy from them would be a lie. We do. We know that they’re going to be cheering us on from afar."

Because the current restrictions only run through the end of this month, Doeren -- and everyone else associated with an in-state program -- is hoping they'll be lifted once October and the bulk of the Wolfpack's home schedule roll around.

"Hopefully this is just a thing we deal with for one week," Doeren said. "We don’t have another home game in September, so our fingers are crossed that things can possibly change after that."

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