With the 2019 NC State football season approaching, head coach Dave Doeren addressed the media at the 2019 ACC Football Kickoff on Wednesday afternoon in Charlotte. There is a lot of excitement around the new season, new faces on the field, the ACC Network and alcohol sales in Carter-Finley Stadium.
On establishing a starting quarterback:
“It would be great to be able to give you a timeline. I think when it shows itself to us, we'll know. There's a lot of data that we accumulate on a day-to-day basis when we start practice, from completion rate to touchdown interceptions to who can stay on the field, create the most first downs, to our redzone opportunities, what happens down there. Do they score, kick a field goal, turn it over? Two-minute drills.
“I'm not going to give you the answer to that because I don't want to do that. I want to see who improves over the summer. I'm not trying to hide anything. I mean, I just think you're talking about a transfer that came in in January, a kid that redshirted last year, a kid that's in his third year. There's a lot of growth that's going to happen from the end of the spring to the beginning of this fall.”
On alcohol sales at Carter-Finley and lack of fans after halftime:
“Well, they're two separate issues. First of all, I'm excited for our fans. I think the entertainment is such an important part of game day for them. Obviously, the product we put on the field, the type of player we bring in for them to watch, the style of football we play is a big entertaining value.
“But now for them to be able to buy beer, if that's important to them, have the opportunity to do that in the shade under the stands at halftime, I know there's going to be a lot of different spots where they can do that, then be back in there for us.
“Our sidelines to the bench, our parents sit right behind them, our recruits sit behind. Our student section is incredible. It brings energy, creates an advantage for our football team. We want that for four quarters.”
On the offensive run-pass balance:
“Our offense is built to be balanced, first of all, but at the same time, I'm not going to just beat my head against the wall. We had three outstanding wide receivers last year. Ryan [Finley] was one of the best throwers in the country. We took advantage of that.
“We'll see what we end up with this year. I'm excited about Ricky Person. I'm really excited about our young backs Zonovan Knight, Jordan Houston, Delbert Mimms; we've got four talented running backs. They need to get into camp and show they can hang onto the football, protect our quarterback, do all the things that coach [Des] Kitchings demands from them.
“Our offense is trying, constantly evolving. One thing that does remain constant is I want to be a balanced football team. I want to run it when I want to run it, I want to throw it when I want to throw it and be able to have the confidence with our offensive line that they can do both. I think if you get too one-sided to that, it gets really hard now to shift to the other when you need it in a football game.”
On redshirt freshman Peyton Wilson:
“He's healthy. He's fully cleared, probably more excited to play in training camp than anybody on our football team. He's in the office all the time watching tape on his own. I see him every day. He's really, really looking forward to this fall. I'm excited to see him. The kid loves his game. He hasn't had it in his life. It's something he's missed. I'm excited to see him out there doing it.”
On recruiting within North Carolina:
“I think 45 players on our team were from North Carolina when I was hired six years ago. Now it's upward of 70. So, we always try to start in the state. It's nice for those young men to have their families close. I think the transition for a lot of people is hard from high school to college. Sometimes having that family nearby helps them through those struggles. There's a lot of good players in this state, so we're fortunate to have that. Then surrounding the state, the states that touch our state, we're in those states heavily, as well.”
On special teams:
“We're fortunate, with [redshirt sophomore punter Mackenzie Morgan] coming in, to bring him in a year earlier than he would be the starter to follow A.J. Cole, who in my opinion was a really good punter for us. He's one of the greatest human beings I've been around… He's got a lot of ability. He can punt on the move, being a guy that was an Australian Rules player, but he can also sit in the pocket, directional punt.
“He's in a room with a guy that had great success last year in [sophomore kicker] Chris Dunn. Chris was a weapon for us as a field-goal kicker a year ago; kicked a 50-plus, I think it was a 54-yard field goal in our spring game, might have been longer, and drilled it. It would have been good from 60. He's getting better, coming off of a year where he was a freshman All-American.”
“They’re really good, first of all. Coach [Dabo] Swinney and his staff and the young men they have deserve credit. They’ve done a great job, and we’ve been close and haven’t gotten it done. I think it’s about capitalizing on your opportunities; you can’t beat yourself when you play a team as talented as them. You’ve got to make them play on a long field. You’ve got to get a lot of takeaways. The year that we almost beat them, we got five takeaways in that game on defense.”