Rarely does the topic of special teams come up at media day, but when you lose your starting punter, place kicker, and long snapper, it is a topic that cannot be avoided. When asked about being vulnerable in the kicking game, Doeren feels confident in the guys he has coming up: A.J. Cole and Kyle Bambard.
“I felt like A.J. Cole and Kyle Bambard were two really good guys, not just from a kicking standpoint, but the personalities. They were both athletic,” said Doeren. “Bambard was a quarterback also, he was the Player of the Year actually in their division as a quarterback. He’s an all-around football player, competitor. We needed to find guys that were mature enough that could handle playing as a freshman because we knew we were going to lose our guys at the same time. We did it two years out.”
Jacoby Brissett is entering his final season in Raleigh, and behind him is freshman Jalen McClendon. This marks the first time in three years Doeren has had a returner at quarterback. Having Brissett at the helm and McClendon as a solid backup, will make for fewer sleepless nights.
“I’m excited about the depth and the talent that we have there. I feel like we’re in a great situation because Jalen traveled to every game last year, was in every game plan meeting with Coach Canada, took valuable reps in the offseason, and is with Jacoby day in, day out. Jacoby is a great preparation guy,” said Doeren.
The mark of any championship caliber team is solid quarterback play. Knowing the preparation Brissett puts in, and that McClendon is under his wing should only mean good things for the Wolfpack going forward. Doeren spoke of how settling it is to have this luxury:
“If we feel like there’s a moment in a game, injury in a game, we don’t have to change what we do. We have another 6’6″ guy that can run and throw and is tough. It’s a great scenario to have on your team. It’s the first time I’ve had it since I’ve been here. I do sleep good at night from a quarterback standpoint knowing that’s what we have.”
Much has been made about the depth and versatility of the NC State backfield. True freshman Reggie Gallaspy was the only running back recruit to suit up for the Kay Yow Spring Game: Gallaspy rushed for 131 yards. Whether he will be an immediate impact, Doeren is not sure.
“Well, he’s going to have an immediate impact, it’s just whether it’s on the field right away. We have two good backs in front of him. He may not play a lot as a freshman, he might. Even if he redshirts, he’s going to have an impact because of the type of person Reggie is,” said Doeren.
Doeren feels his ability to recruit is one of his strong points. Going the extra step, doing things some coaches cannot or do not do is what he feels gives him an advantage.
“I do feel like recruiting is one of my strengths. As a head coach I’m very active in that role. I’m messaging (Twitter) as much as I can with certain guys, building relationships with them that maybe another school’s head coach doesn’t. We feel like it gives us an advantage that I will,” said Doeren when asked how he uses Twitter. For any recruits out there, Doeren and the Wolfpack staff monitor recruit’s accounts, so make sure everything is on the “up and up.”
Another piece of the recruiting puzzle the Wolfpack were missing until this year was a state of the art indoor practice facility. Well, that is no longer the case. NC State just completed the 14 million dollar Close-King Indoor Practice Facility. When asked about the new facility, Doeren replied,
“Our indoor football complex is tremendous. It’s full size. We have a great campus now. It’s a football campus.”