N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren answers questions at the Belk Bowl postgame press conference after his Wolfpack lost a 51-28 contest to Mississippi State on Wednesday.
“Any time you don’t come out of a game with a win it is disappointing. It hurts. You sit in that locker room with those guys and they put a lot into that game. Obviously our opponent made a lot of plays and we needed to make more. The opposite happened in the first quarter than what we were hoping for. I thought going into the game the turnover margin would be our advantage but the first quarter we turned it over twice and flipped what we thought would be our strike. We did hit some different momentum swings coming back but weren’t able to put them away, obviously. Coach (Dan) Mullen did a nice job. Their quarterback as everyone knows is a tremendous player. I’m just sad for our senior class and am very appreciative to those guys and the fans that came out and sat in the rain. Thank you for that. I know our seniors and our team thank you for that as well. It was a great bowl experience and I know our players were appreciative of everything the Belk Bowl and the administration did. You go into the off season 7-6 and there are a lot of young guys coming back and like I told them, “the only way you get better is to fight adversity.” There are two things that happen: you have struggle in your life, and you deal with struggle. I told them I have been through this and the first thing you do is you stick together as a family. You look at yourself and as a coach. I obviously look at myself and look at every single thing you do. Day by day you build a program. We will hit the road and recruit. Our kids will come back from the break and will develop. We will push ourselves as coaches and players and do everything we can to improve upon where we are at. We put ourselves in position to have a good football game today and times came back and obviously 3rd quarter they came out and did some good things. We just weren’t able to stop them at the end.
Q: What goes into the evaluation in the off season?
Obviously we are going to look at every play of every game. Formationally we are going to sort it by play type and will sort it by game, run and pass. You try to find a common ground. Sometimes it’s a scheme sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s the players making plays and sometimes it’s not. You have to find out what’s working. If it’s schematic you have to change it. If it’s not, if it’s players making plays then you have to look at if it’s technique, things we can do, ways we can help them. You have to go through every single thing. What can we do to help them be the best?
Q: How much did the interception right out of the box set you askew?
Jacoby (Brissett) had the ball and had a guy in his face and couldn’t get the ball where it wasn’t going to be where we were going to get a play and it hurts to put your defense in that field position early in the game. It was the opposite of what we were hoping for in the first quarter.
Q: Was Dak Prescott as good as you thought he would be?
Yeah. He’s arguably the best quarterback in the history of the university. Look at his yardage and how he handles things and how tough he is and how he runs the ball. He’s a really good quarterback.