Dave Doeren had plenty to say on Monday about NC State’s rough performance at West Virginia, noting that he’s disappointed by what happened but not disappointed. Naturally a lot of discussion centered around quarterback Matthew McKay, who obviously was not at his best.
Doeren said that while McKay does need to play better, his staff also needs to make things easier on him. He highlighted some situations where State called a run-pass option play, over-complicating things for him when it wasn’t necessary:
I think there are always things you have to re-evaluate. We have three games worth of information. There are certain things he is doing well. There are some situational things like on third and one, we had RPO’s called and that is on us. We shouldn’t have him even thinking throwing the ball there. That isn’t on Matt, that’s on us. There are a couple of third downs where he threw a good ball and the ball was dropped. Obviously, you are going to say the receiver should catch it. There is a lot that goes into him playing better and he needs to play better.
When you have a more experienced quarterback would have just said, I don’t care that there is a throw on, I’m running this thing.’ He’s a third time starter. That’s not on Matt, that’s on us.
“Those are the things that you see and are like, ‘Alright, how can we make that easier for him?’ Well we did. We got to the next third and one, we just handed it off or we had a play-action call where took the game management piece out of it. As quarterbacks grow you can add those things back to their plate.”
It’s a learning process for NC State’s new offensive coordinators, too, and we saw struggles on their part that weren’t only limited to the RPO stuff. Fortunately, you figure the coaches will be better at adapting quickly than your inexperienced quarterback, and that alone will help McKay play better down the line.
Setting aside some play calls and some drops by receivers, McKay simply wasn’t good enough: completing less than half your throws and averaging 4.3 yards per attempt won’t get it done against many teams. He also targeted Emeka Emezie a preposterous 23 times, which indicates he played with too much tunnel vision.
He’ll get better—it has only been three games for him, as Dave mentioned—and I’m sure there’s a lot they can look at and use as teachable moments from the loss. But we might not know if any of those pointers took hold until we get to Florida State.