RALEIGH — North Carolina State University head football coach Dave Doeren met with the media Monday morning to discuss the upcoming Kay Yow Spring Game, which takes place on Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Kickoff for the game is 1 p.m., but there will be plenty of events going on, in and around the stadium before the pads get to popping.
The second annual Wolfpack alumni football game will start at 10:45 a.m. Former NCSU and current NFL players Jerricho Cotchery (Panthers) and Earl Wolff (Eagles) will serve as honorary coaches for that game. More than 60 former players have signed up to participate in that event.
Nine players on the spring depth chart will not play in the spring game due to injuries. On the flip side, seven early enrollees will participate in front of a crowd for the first time as members of the NCSU football team.
On spring game weekend:
“The entire weekend, the brotherhood that goes into it with the alumni … I’ve said this before, but I think we have one of the greatest groups of former players who buys into actually coming back for an event. I know our younger players look up to those guys. When you come out to the walkthru on Friday and you see 20 NFL players, guys what are active players, hanging out … you talk about the Wolfpack Family and, bam, it hits you, it’s right there.”
On the spring game depth chart and having nine players who will not play due to injuries:
“I don’t think it’s realistic to have everybody, just in our sport. You’re always going to have that and you have to make decisions on would you rather have a guy limp through spring practice, or get it fixed and have him miss half the summer workouts. I’ve always felt like we need a guy to have a great summer to have a great fall. The fall is the most important thing for us.”
How the success of the end of last year carries over to the spring:
“It really carried into the winter program more than the spring. The guys had a good bounce to them. It’s almost the opposite of what you had a year ago – you were trying to change the outcome, now you’re trying to continue. The problem is, it’s a different team. The players that are back have to play better and you hope the development in recruiting fills the spots.”
On senior running back Shadrach Thornton’s growth off the field:
“He’s very respected by his peers. I think that’s the one thing that stands out to me as a coach. He is, without a doubt, one of the hardest working guys in this building, and I think our strength guys will tell you the same thing. He’s become a leader with the younger players. I think he’s grown up a lot, he’s learned a lot along the way. Like I said at the beginning of the spring, I’m ready to see him be a senior.”
On the early enrollees this spring:
“For Darian (Roseboro), he’s not ready to be a starter yet, but for him to be with the starting group, I know he’ll benefit a lot when Mike Rose comes back and he can watch a senior play in his spot. He will play a lot for us next year if he stays healthy. I think Riley Nicholson (LB) on special teams has shown his skill set. The same for Freddie Phillips, Jr. (DB). Reggie Gallaspy II (RB) was over analyzing things early in the spring. Now you are starting to see that he really runs as fast as they said. Overall, I think all those guys have come in and been what we thought they would be. I don’t feel like we missed and that’s a good thing.”
On so many new faces at the wide receiver position:
“I’m looking forward to seeing what happens there. Jumichael Ramos has had a very consistent spring. Bra’Lon Cherry has been out for the majority of it with just a lingering ankle injury, but we look forward to having him full speed. It’s good to see Gavin Locklear back in the mix, he’s had some nice days for us. We moved Elliott Davis from defensive back to wideout and he’s been the biggest surprise.”
On the defensive line:
“We lost some good players as you know, but Darian Roseboro and Kentavius (Street) and B.J. Hill and Bradley Chubb have made up our first unit with Mike (Rose) being out. The guys that are practicing have gotten some great reps. We are going from a pretty thin depth chart to plenty full when four signees come in. We moved Kentavius from defensive end to defensive tackle and he has been very disruptive, him and B.J. Hill. We are going a really good job inside.”