First of all, are we done with all the... just... everything? Dave Doeren isn’t getting fired, people. I can understand everyone getting so up in arms about the loss. It stings, it sucks, believe me, I feel you. I forced a family gathering to all watch this game and they spent the night watching me suffer for 3.5 hours. I wasn’t even in my own house and I was jumping off the couch like a lunatic, pacing in circles.
The responses I’ve been seeing online since Saturday are seriously disheartening. I want this team to succeed just as much as anyone, but I’m not going to send direct messages to players criticizing them. Or worse, sending them threats. Seriously, if you’re one of those people and you’re reading this, just click this post off right now, I am good with one less person reading what I write. You’re not welcome here.
There has been a discouragingly negative trend in the fanbase the last few years. I suggest all the players shut down their socials during the season. Bradley Chubb led by example by doing this while he was here. If the best kicker in NC State history can get death threats after missing kicks in a game where State WON, then I really don’t understand what people are doing even watching this team in the first place. The access to the internet and direct connection with the players does not give anyone a license to direct their frustration right at these kids. They were heartbroken they weren’t able to come through, it was written all over their faces. I give them a lot of credit for keeping their head held high as much as they did. Tanner Ingle shouldn’t feel the need to issue a public apology, but clearly, the team is feeling the weight and pressure of the fans' hunger for winning the conference.
It seems (yes, still present tense) so close we can taste it. I’ve been alive for four decades and a football conference championship literally hasn’t happened in my lifetime. I get it, I have been making mental plans for traveling to Charlotte too. But taking every loss to the extreme is something “other” fanbases do. No, not the people from chapel hill, they just leave after a quarter and a half and forget football is happening until the next time they get ranked top 15 in the preseason. NC State fans are starting to sound frighteningly like Tennessee fans, which is saying a LOT.
I understand that at this point in Dave Doeren’s tenure, we can expect more. I wrote a whole piece about how it’s fair to want more after waiting all these years. The staff deserves criticism for their gameplan and play calling, that’s for sure. But we can not resort to firing everyone and blowing up the program every time the team loses.
Were there issues with players executing against Miami? Yes, for sure. I will show a few in this week’s Film Room piece. But even when struggling, it was still only a one point game. If they had pulled out the close win then would those same people would be happy? Probably only until the next loss.
The path to Charlotte is still open, albeit extremely tenuous. It requires a win in Winston and going 3-1 in the other four games. Is it likely? It’ll be tough, let’s be real, especially if we see a repeat of the performance in Miami. Do you know who knows that? The team. They were there, they’ll be watching film and figuring out where to improve. The Miami game was not a microcosm of the Dave Doeren era (we can save that for the offseason). The Hurricanes had their backs up against the wall, they were playing like their lives depended on it. It was their “kitchen sink” game, they threw everything they had out there, and the Pack still only lost by one. This is not the same team we saw in Starkville, there’s a difference, the two losses are not the same. They had opportunities that could have led to a win and couldn’t convert, that’s different from just laying an egg.
In the end, potential recruits see and hear things about fanbases. Seeing how players are treated after struggling does not encourage prospects to want to suit up for the Wolfpack. Nobody is saying don’t be passionate, that’s what makes NC State fans unique. The fans have always been supportive of all the sports, living and dying with every play. But cutting the team off when they lose a tough game is the kind of thing other fairweather fanbases do.
The people jumping off now will come back around if the team goes on a winning streak. That’s the kind of thing we’ve made fun of other fans for doing. Coming right back for the team has always been something we’ve hung our hat on that makes Pack fans a step above the rest. With the injuries piling up, the team needs a full crowd against Louisville now more than ever. We can do better.
/ end rant