Though his game plan is no different than any other head coach or defensive coordinator in the game of football, what Dave Doeren does not understand is there is a certain way to say it.
NC State’s fiery head coach let his emotions get the best of him, again, during his weekly call-in radio show Wednesday night. He explained the Wolfpack’s game plan against No. 3 Clemson on Saturday was to not get after quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but to “hit him” and “get him on his back more than he wants to be.”
True! That’s what every coach is thinking, and probably 10 years ago it would not have been a big deal to say it. But in this day and age of protecting players, player safety and things like that in the game of football, coming out and announcing to your fan base that your game plan is to “hit” the opposing quarterback and “get him on his back” is not the best way to say it.
I understand Doeren’s intent and I know he is just talking football and he is being passionate about what his 15th-ranked Wolfpack want to do in Saturday’s high-stakes game at Clemson’s Death Valley. The winner of Saturday’s game will gain control of the ACC’s Atlantic Division and will likely represent the division in the conference championship game in Charlotte on Dec. 1.
In his comments, Doeren said they want to get to the Tigers’ freshman quarterback and rattle him. They want to make him see things he has not seen before. They want to try to confuse him with different looks.
That’s where Doeren should have ended his comments. It is kind of self-explanatory to those of us who understand the game that he means you want to come after him and hit him a few times to try and get in his head.
I’m sure Clemson has the same game plan for State quarterback Ryan Finley. Though Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is as fiery as Doeren, he did not come out and say the Tigers wanted to “hit him” and “get him on his back.”
Also, understand Doeren has a history of telling his fan base his intent when it comes to playing Clemson.
In Clemson’s overtime win over NC State in 2016, the Tigers had to win the game without star running back Wayne Gallman due to him being knocked out of the game with a concussion on the Tigers’ first drive.
The next day on his television show, Doeren talked about the Wolfpack’s goals. When asked on the show if the Wolfpack did the things they needed to do to win the game, Doeren said, “Yeah we did, you know, I mean we knocked their tailback out of the game.”
Knocking Gallman out of the game was a goal?
Again, there is no surprise Doeren and the NC State defense want to get after Lawrence and rattle him. It makes sense. That’s the nature of the game. Every coach wants to get after the opposing quarterback.
However, you just don’t say you want to “hit him” and “put him on his back more than he wants to be.”
There is a better way to say it, so guys like me are not writing about it the next day.