The last time Dave Doeren and NC State hosted Clemson, the Wolfpack came away with a hard-fought double overtime victory. It was Doeren’s first ever win over the Tigers and the program’s first since 2011.
Last season Clemson got its revenge, knocking off NC State 30-20, in a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate.
However, this season, this matchup feels a little different. Both teams are struggling to find consistency on the offensive side of the ball, and both teams are coming off a loss. Although, NC State did have a bye last week, giving the Wolfpack what Doeren called a much-needed break.
“Good time for a bye week,” Doeren said. “It was a great week for the staff and the players. Came at a good time after seven straight weeks. Bye weeks are about a lot of things. It starts with reflection and study.”
With the bye week behind them and his team currently sitting at 4-3 overall and just 1-2 in ACC play, Doeren knows this game could be critical in determining how the rest of the season might play out.
“Knowing that we got a five-game season coming up starting with Clemson at two o’clock on Saturday,” he said. “Excited for the opportunities and the challenges that are in front of our football team. I look forward to competing and helping these guys. Each day you come into the building it’s about finding ways to get better. Overcoming the things that are a challenge.”
With the Tigers employing a new scheme on the offensive side of the ball, Doeren knows the Tigers have the type of talent that can present a challenge, if they ever find a way to get things clicking.
“When you play Clemson, they always have a talented football team,” Doeren said. “This one’s no different. Very well-coached. They have tremendous players. They’re an up-tempo offense. They’ve always been no huddle, but you can see with what they’re doing now, fewer formations. A lot faster on the football. Going up-tempo with Garrett Riley. They have incredible running backs. We know a lot about Will [Shipley] and think the world of him. Tough kid. He’s done a great job for them.”
“The receiving corps, they’ve had some guys banged up but you can see the guys making plays. I thought last week their quarterback played really well in their loss to Miami. I thought he looked comfortable. He had good poise in the pocket. He used his legs when he needed to. Had some good throws on the run, through the deep ball with touch. You can see that he’s improving. They had a bye week a couple of weeks ago.”
However, it’s Clemson’s Top 10 defense that might present the biggest challenge, and with this group, Doeren knows it all starts up front.
“Defensively, very talented,” he said. “Good defensive line, always aggressive in what they do. The scheme has changed a little bit but you know they’re still multiple in their fronts and coverages. A lot of man to man. Defensive line has a lot of depth and good players on it. Excited to get back to work and get ready for a great opponent here at home. Yesterday it was good. The guys had the weekend off. They came back in and refocused and got ready. Got a little bit of a head start on the grass giving them some basics. Letting them watch Clemson’s last game. Today guys will get out of here and then get back to it tomorrow. Excited for what’s coming up next. Look forward to the opportunity to play against this team.”
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