The NC State football team and both the men’s and women’s soccer teams have begun conference play, so it’s time to take a look at what the Wolfpack coaches have done to prepare their teams for the most crucial stretch of the season.
Dave Doeren – head coach, football
NC State went undefeated in nonconference play, and Doeren did what he was supposed to do by leading the Pack to dominating wins over inferior opponents, aside from the near collapse in week one against East Carolina.
Doeren fell short on his next task, which was trying to upset No. 5 Clemson. Although Clemson was the favorite, many Wolfpack fans expected the team to win after last season’s 2OT victory over the Tigers at Carter-Finley Stadium. Just like the past 37 teams that tried to take down Clemson in Death Valley, however, Doeren fell short.
Doeren will have to get his team prepared quickly as the Wolfpack continues its conference schedule against a Florida State team that just suffered its first loss of the season as well against No. 15 Wake Forest.
Tim Beck – offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, football
Beck has the most disappointing performance out of the football coaches as his offense continues to be inconsistent. While the offense did not cost the Pack a game during nonconference play and even looked good against UConn, the inconsistency showed up in Clemson, South Carolina.
The run game was nonexistent for the Pack as it totaled 34 rushing yards and 1.6 yards per carry, and Beck made a head-scratching decision by only giving sophomore running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye five carries throughout the entire game. Clemson deserves a lot of credit for slowing down the Pack’s rushing attack, but the lack of carries made the offense predictable and easier to stop.
Although there are not a lot of positives to take away from the offensive performance against Clemson, it seems Beck and redshirt junior quarterback Devin Leary have found a No. 1 target in graduate receiver Thayer Thomas, who finished with nine catches for 84 yards and was Leary’s go-to guy throughout the entire game.
Tony Gibson – defensive coordinator/linebackers coach, football
Gibson’s defense was by far the best unit for the Wolfpack throughout the entire nonconference schedule, wreaking havoc in every game and carrying the offense at times. The unit was ranked 13th nationally in total defense after the first four games and looked ready to compete with ACC powerhouses.
Expectations for the defense remained high going into the top-10 matchup against Clemson, but Pack fans were left disappointed after the team gave up 30 points to the Tigers. Gibson’s unit looked the part for most of the first half as it only allowed six points until Clemson scored a touchdown just before halftime to make it 13-10.
The defense did not look like itself in the second half as Clemson ran all over the Pack, totaling 145 rushing yards, which is way more than the 81.8 rushing yards a game the team was allowing. Gibson is going to have to clean up some things up in order for NC State to have a successful ACC campaign.
George Kiefer – head coach, men’s soccer
After a promising start to the season by the men’s soccer team, it has been a disappointing start to ACC play. The Pack is 1-3 in conference games, with its only win coming against Virginia Tech, who hasn’t won a single ACC game.
Kiefer has to find a way to get the offense going as the Pack has only scored one goal in four ACC matchups. Although the three losses have come against teams ranked in the top-15, the Pack won’t be able to beat any team if it can’t find the back of the net.
Tim Santoro – head coach, women’s soccer
The women’s soccer team is off to a decent start in conference play as it boasts a 2-2 record in the ACC. Santoro has also done a good job of getting his team to play on the road as it hasn’t lost a game outside of Raleigh.
Although the Pack allowed six goals to No. 5 Duke in a 6-0 loss, Santoro has set his team up for success on the defensive side of the ball as it has only allowed three total goals across the other three conference games.
Santoro needs to find more opportunities for his squad on offense as it only has four goals through four conference games. Scoring has been a weak spot the entire season, and it has to be better in order for the Wolfpack to compete in the ACC.