Dave Doeren (and Matt Dayes and Jack Tocho) went through the ACC media car wash on Friday. Here are a few notes on what Doeren said. (The full remarks from Doeren’s presser are available here.)
The schedule: It’s difficult
Doeren already has used this line on multiple occasions this offseason, so if you ain’t heard it yet, good for you, and also, be prepared to hear it several more times.
Doeren: It's a challenge that we're the only team in the ACC that plays all six Top 25 teams in the ACC, plus we have ECU/Notre Dame, etc.— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) July 22, 2016
Here comes the excuse train into Excuse Station choo choo. Doeren’s first few schedules were very forgiving, which was by design—after a 3-9 year, you need to show progress, or at least the illusion of progress. Which Doeren and NC State did.
The soft schedules of the last two years created whatever goodwill Doeren carries into 2016, but sure, let’s get the whine machine started now that the schedule’s gone difficult. Yes, it’s a bad break that the Coastal rotation hit on Miami this year. Yes, playing ECU and Notre Dame is upping the degree of difficulty a lot. Wouldn’t seem so formidable without all those cupcakes the years prior, though. And you might not be here to talk about it.
Doeren more subtly downplayed his 2016 team’s potential rough season in other ways—calling the team “young” still, pointing out there’s only 10 seniors on the roster, etc.
Doeren: There are ACC (divisional) realignment conversations, but the teams in the Coastal don't want to change, so you can't get the votes.— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) July 22, 2016
The division realignment stuff is a talking point borrowed from Debbie Yow, and hey, I’m on board with the idea of changing the divisions or getting rid of them entirely. It flat out sucks to be stuck playing FSU and Clemson every year. But, uh, Dave, you’re 1-5 against the Coastal.
New offense: Tempo! Speed!
Doeren called the 2015 Wolfpack “a huddle football team,” which he says benefited the Pack because the offensive line was a veteran group and Jacoby Brissett had a “good presence” in the huddle. Doeren wanted Brissett and the offense huddling up so that Brissett’s calm and steady demeanor was ever-present.
Now, though, it’s a new era, with a new offensive coordinator, new quarterback, and a less experienced offensive line. He spoke a bit about a change in pace, and also what about the offense may look different:
We're different. We're younger on the offensive line. We're playing against, everybody knows, the hardest schedule in the ACC. We're playing some veteran D lines. To give my offensive line the best chance they had, playing up-tempo would help them.
With [Eliah Drinkwitz’s] system, back to that part of the question, he does put the ball in the quick game part of what we do, the screens. Perimeter passing game will look a lot different.
Formationally, there's not a lot he does that's different than what we did before. I think it's just how fast it's happening. Some of the play selection is different.
On to marginally less incisive remarks:
What didn't you like about last year's offense?— NSJ Sports (@nsjsports) July 22, 2016
Dave Doeren: "at times, I think, we didn't score enough points" #ACCKickoff
At times—how many games did we lose? Yeah, I can think of six times.
At QB: ‘We have three options’
Jalan McClendon, Jakobi Meyers, and graduate transfer Ryan Finley are fighting for the starting job at quarterback. Dave Doeren isn’t suggesting any leader in that competition yet.
I believe when you have a new system, you need to let the system not just get taught, but get taught a couple times before you see what the guys have. Sometimes they're thinking things through still. It's not natural for them yet.
I didn't want to make any choices at the end of the spring because of that. I wanted the summer to be a time when they could relearn the system. When we go into the fall camp, see where we're at. There may be a lot of separation when we come into camp, there may not.
Let’s just hope somebody does separate himself from the other two, because otherwise it’d be a significantly bad omen heading into the season.
Stick to politics, bub
If you need any reminder that this is truly silly season, thanks to politics, see Paul Ryan’s rough week of sports analogies. If UNC made it to a title game, would not we all unite as North Carolinians and root for them? SIR. Doeren was asked about that.
As a vindictive sports fan, I would rather every other team in North Carolina lose a lot and lose spectacularly since that would help us out. Well, the “lose spectacularly” part wouldn’t really make a difference but it would provide a lot of additional entertainment.
TEQUILA FIRE HOSE
Dave probably needed that trusty tequila shot after the Jumichael Ramos news.
Doeren, on comparing 1st becoming a head coach to drinking tequila out of a firehose: "It's an experience you can't really explain."— David Glenn Show (@DavidGlennShow) July 22, 2016
A wonderful, dizzying experience.