N.C. State Archive


Tuesday ACC football coaches’ quotes

dukestateunc2UNC is dealing with another strong offensive performance that still resulted in a loss. NC State is dealing with players who took part in some inappropriate BB gun incident. And Duke is coming off a big win over favored Georgia Tech and will be favored at home over an improving Virginia team.

UNC Coach Larry Fedora said:
After evaluating the film on Sunday and really breaking it down we found that there’s some good things and some bad things in all three phases of the game, as usual. But there were many bright spots, there were some good things that we were able to take from this game and hopefully we’ll be able to grow on and we’ll be a better football team because of it. We’re excited about coming home and playing in front of our fans again. We’re taking on a very good Georgia Tech football team that totally makes you stop everything that you’re doing on defense and change to prep are for the triple option attack.

NC State coach Dave Doeren said:
I believe in holding guys accountable and treating them fairly and helping them learn from their mistakes, and keep building our program in the right way. I love the kids on our football team and I believe that my job is part coach, part mentor, part father and part disciplinarian, all those parts are important. It’s a new week, new opportunity. It’s an opportunity to play a very good team (Louisville) on the road. It’s a new opportunity for some guys to step into a little more playing time in certain positions. It’s an opportunity for our leaders to be stronger leaders, and an opportunity for our young guys to try and play as old as possible. I think in today’s times that its really important to learn and face problems and face up for what they are, handle it and help young men become better young men.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said:
Obviously, every week is going to be a big week. Getting to play back-to-back and then having an open date, hopefully we can continue our focus to play a very good Virginia team that could very easily be undefeated if you watch them on tape. They’ve really played well all year. They do outstanding things in all three phases.


Doeren news conference: Wolfpack needs to make plays in the 4th quarter

davedoeren3NC State football coach Dave Doeren says he’s proud of the way his team fought against Florida State but the team needs to make more plays in the fourth quarter against Clemson and beyond.

“We move on to a really good Clemson team,” Doeren said. “They’ve had two tough losses against two great opponents and a senior class that is 21-2 at home, 21-5 as a senior class. A really impressive group of leaders at Clemson and a freshman quarterback that’s lighting it up against a defense that has a bunch of seniors and graduate students on it. It’s going to be a great challenge. It’s an awesome atmosphere, I’ve been told, to play in. For us to have to play in the top two teams in our league back to back, it’s going to be a great challenge for our football team this week. Look
forward to the opportunity.”

Q. Going up against Clemson, you
come off an emotional game against Florida
State. What did your team learn from that loss,
and being able to score 41 points against
Florida State despite the loss, what did they
take away from that heading into Clemson.

DAVE DOEREN: I believe we can beat
anybody, and that game showed. There were so
many plays — even with the 41 points, our
offensive guys will tell you, we turned it over twice,
and one of them was in the red zone going in to
score. We know that we can score on anybody.
We have that confidence.
I think now we’ve had to deal with the
crowd noise that we’re going to get at Clemson,
but I think it was a confidence builder. Like I told
the guys after the game, we’re way better than we
were, but we’re not as good as we can be. So
we’ve got to keep fighting and scratching to move
and close the gap that existed between us and
where we were last year.

Q. When you look at that gap from last
year to this year, what’s going on that you’re
having maybe some difficulty in closing that
gap? I mean, obviously, you had a 4-0 start,
but against Florida State, what are some of the
those things that you still need to address to
get to where you really want to be?

DAVE DOEREN: We’re the third youngest
team in college football. That’s the problem.
We’re just young. We’re playing teams like
Clemson with seniors and graduate students, and
freshmen and sophomores on our side. We’re a
really young football team. We’re playing hard.
We’re playing with passion. We’re practicing hard.
We just don’t have the experience or the years in
the weight room that our competitors do in some
We tell our guys, we’ve got to be great
technicians. We’ve got to play above our heads
from an effort standpoint to meet up with the two
and three differential on the teams we’re playing.
That’s all it is. It’s just a youth thing. We’ve got 51
freshmen and sophomores and 15 true freshmen
that are playing. It’s a lot different than Florida
State and Clemson’s lineup.

Q. What challenges does Watson pose
for you this week? What’s going to be the
message to the pass rush or the pass defense
for how to contain that Clemson passing

DAVE DOEREN: Similar to playing Florida
State, he’ll run. He’s one of the best spread
runners in the country coming out. Right now he’s
throwing the ball really well, one interception and
ten touchdowns, I believe.
His receivers are strong. They’ll go up and
get the football. They play with confidence. We’re
going to have to have tight coverage. We’re going
to have to be able to go up and play jump balls,
and our pass rush lanes and our pressures are
going to have to be disciplined.

Q. I’m just moving away from the game
on Saturday and just discuss a hot topic in
sports, in particular, football — concussions.
Clearly, there were some mistakes made
through some miscommunications with
Michigan dealing with the head injury of the
quarterback, Shane Morris. What’s in place at
NC State that would prevent this from
happening during the game?

DAVE DOEREN: Well, any time there’s an
injury, whether it’s a head in
jury or a bodily issue of the player, our training staff
will take that student-athlete to our team physicians that are at
the game. Once they have a diagnosis, they’ll
report to me. Hey, Coach, he’s out, he’s
concussed. Hey, Coach, he sprained his knee.
We’re going to see if we can get him back. Hey,
Coach, he sprained his ankle. He’s going to be all
right. We’ll retape him.
They give me the information, and I really
have no say-so at that point. They’re just going to
tell me so I can get on the headphones with
offense, defense, and special teams coaches and
let them know that so and so is out for a while or
so and so is out for the game.

Q. I know after the Florida State game
you mentioned that you guys really liked the
matchup you had with Bo Hines. He’s played
really well and had a really good start to the
season. What kind of makes him so good? I
know he took advantage of a guy who’s a
freshman All-American in James Ramsey last
week a little bit. Wonder what you guys have
seen to give you so much confidence in him.

DAVE DOEREN: Just watching the film,
we felt like there were certain routes that that guy
struggled against, and he’s really good. There’s no
question. He’s on an island the whole game,
playing man to man. When you play in the slot, it’s
not easy. Bo is such a good route runner with
good timing, we felt there were things we could
take advantage of. Sometimes we did, and
sometimes we didn’t. He won some, and we won
Some of the routes that Coach Canada
came up with just worked against the leverage he
was playing, and I think that’s the biggest thing.
When you’re man to man, you can’t play head up.
You’re either inside or outside, just trying to take
advantage of leverage.

Q. With an offense like you guys, you
mentioned you guys have a lot of young guys,
certainly the case especially with Bo. For him, I
think he’s pulling in something like four or five
catches a game. He’s among the ACC leaders
in just receptions. How impressive is that for a
freshman to come in and be that reliable, be
that kind of player?

DAVE DOEREN: It’s impressive. Bo
came in early, so he was benefited from going
through spring ball with us, and I think that’s a big
part of why he’s playing so fast.
He’s different. Just his dad was an NFL
player. He played in a great football program at
Charlotte Christian. He was well coached. He’s
one of those guys that football is not hard for him
to learn. You say it once, and he gets it, and he
has great effort when he plays.

Q. Coach, maybe the most impressive
stat among the good ones that Jacoby Brissett
has put up, 13 touchdowns and just one

DAVE DOEREN: Let’s knock on some
wood right there.

Q. What does that say about his
judgment and that sort of thing?

DAVE DOEREN: I think Jacoby is
managing the game. We’ve really worked hard
with him because he is so good, just trying to make
every throw. If it’s not good and it’s not there, just
throw it away and run. He’s been able to do that,
extend some drives and scrambles, and third and
seven, if everybody’s covered, run for eight. He’s
been able to do that.
And some quarterbacks will stand there
and stand there and stand there, throw it away or
get hit late and fumble, which happened to him a
couple of times in the game. He’s really smart. He
learns from his mistakes. He has a great
understanding of what Coach Canada wants him
to do from a timing standpoint.
Just got to keep working it and keep
working it because we saw a great pass rush last
week. He threw the ball extremely well and
probably held it too long one time. This week he’s
going to see maybe even a better pass rush with
(Vic) Beasley.

Q. His poise seems to be one of the
best things about him too.

DAVE DOEREN: He’s super competitive.
He loves the spotlight — not the look at me part of
it, but the competition part of it. He just loves
competing and being on that stage and seeing if
he’s better than anybody. He loves that.


ACC Council of Presidents set forth initial priorities balancing academics, athletics

Donna Shalala.

Donna Shalala.

The Atlantic Coast Conference is submitting its initial priorities as part of the new autonomy structure that will help every student-athlete better achieve the kind of rewarding experience they deserve as part of the collegiate model. The priorities are being sent forward to the NCAA by the October 1 deadline.

Each of the priorities builds upon the ACC’s overall mission to emphasize both academic excellence and athletic competitiveness, seeking to maximize the educational and athletic opportunities of its student-athletes while enriching their quality of life.

“The ACC has consistently been a leader in appropriately balancing academics and athletics,” said Donna Shalala, Chair of the ACC Council of Presidents and President of the University of Miami. “The list of priorities that we are submitting to the NCAA reflects our determination to continue improving our student-athletes’ experience as an integral part of the educational missions of our world-class universities.”

“The collegiate model is a very special part of this country’s educational system and culture, and we believe the priorities set forth continue to focus on the importance of better addressing the needs of our student-athletes,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The work that’s been done by our membership and now sent forth by the Council of Presidents shows a commitment to highlighting a more effective structure where these benefits can be realized.”

The Council’s priorities are a principled and disciplined approach to reform with a continued commitment to both male and female student-athletes and our broad-based programs.

The initial priorities being sent forward by the ACC include:

· Examination of scholarship protections for student-athletes;

· Meeting a student-athlete’s cost of attendance;

· Ensuring institutional flexibility to provide educational support for former student-athletes;

· Examination of career-related insurance options for student-athletes; and

· Ensuring that nutritional needs of student-athletes are met in a reasonable way.

Additional topics were also identified for further discussion and possible inclusion within future legislative cycles. These topics include, but are not limited to, exploring the time demands on student-athletes and safeguarding the right of student-athletes to enjoy the full educational opportunities and benefits available to other students.

The Council previously charged three subcommittees to evaluate the new NCAA autonomy topics relative to three subsets of student-athletes (prospective, current and former). Each subcommittee was chaired by a President and included a broad-based group of university practitioners that have expertise in the topics within each respective subcommittee. All 15 member institutions were represented between the three subcommittees. Following this work, the league’s 5-5-5 committee on autonomy reviewed the recommendations, which were then forwarded to the Council of Presidents.

- News release


State’s Brissett, Duke’s Cash among ACC weekly award winners

Jacoby Brissett.

Jacoby Brissett.

Clemson, Florida State and NC State each saw two student-athletes recognized as Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week following their performances in Saturday’s league games.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was named the ACC Co-Offensive Back of the Week and the ACC Rookie of the Week for after leading Saturday night’s 50-35 win over North Carolina. Tiger punter Bradley Pinion was tabbed as the ACC Co-Specialist of the Week.

FSU’s Rashad Greene was recognized as the ACC Receiver of the Week for the third time this season, and Seminole offensive guard Tre’ Jackson was named the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week following Saturday’s come-from-behind, 56-41 Atlantic Division victory at NC State.

NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett joined Watson as the ACC Co-Offensive Back of the Week, and the Wolfpack’s Jerod Fernandez earned ACC Linebacker of the Week recognition.

Wake Forest junior Tylor Harris picked up ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors. Syracuse’s Durell Eskridge and Duke’s Jeremy Cash were named ACC Co-Defensive Backs of the Week, and Miami punter Justin Vogel was named ACC Co-Specialist of the Week.

FSU’s Greene was honored as ACC Receiver of the Week for the second week in a row. Clemson’s Watson, who was also recognized as the National Freshman of the Week by Athlon Sports, has been named the ACC Rookie of the Week each of the past two weeks.

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK, ROOKIE – Deshaun Watson, Clemson, Fr., QB, 6-3, 200, Gainesville, Ga.

Watson completed 27 of 36 passes for 435 yards and six touchdowns in Clemson’s 50-35 win over North Carolina. Watson set a program record and tied an ACC mark for touchdown passes in a game. His 435 passing yards were just 21 short of the Clemson single game record, the most by a Clemson freshman and the second most by an ACC quarterback in his first career start. Watson also rushed for 28 yards, giving him 463 yards of total offense, the fourth highest total in Clemson history. Only Woody Dantzler and Tajh Boyd have recorded more total offensive yards in a single game in Clemson history.

CO-OFFENSIVE BACK – Jacoby Brissett, NC State, Jr-r., QB, 6-4, 236, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Brissett threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns in NC State’s 56-41 loss to No. 1 Florida State and also ran for another 38 yards. Brissett’s second touchdown pass came after he eluded what appeared to be two certain sacks and earned “Top 10 play” status on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Brissett has now thrown 156 passes without an interception and leads the ACC with 13 touchdown passes.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tre’ Jackson, Sr., Florida State, OG, 6-4, 330, Jesup, Ga.

Jackson graded out to the highest mark by a Seminole lineman this season (92 percent) in Saturday’s 56-41 victory at NC State. Jackson paved the way for an FSU offense that set season highs in total offense (531) and touchdowns (8) and had its first 100-yard rusher of the season (Karlos Williams, 126 yards).

RECEIVER – Rashad Greene, Florida State, Sr., WR, 6-0, 180, Albany, Ga.

Greene led Florida State to a 56-41 victory at NC State by grabbing 11 receptions for 125 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Greene helped the Seminoles erase a 17-point first quarter deficit and remains the ACC’s leader in receptions (35), receiving yards (543) and yards per game (135.8). He is just seven catches away from becoming Florida State’s all-time leader in receptions.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tylor Harris, Wake Forest, Jr. NT, 6-4, 285. Baton Rouge, La.

Harris recovered three fumbles, including one for a touchdown in Wake Forest’s 20-10 loss at Louisville. Harris’ three fumble recoveries are the most by an FBS player in a single game since at least 2000. His second fumble recovery came in the first quarter and set up a field goal that gave Wake Forest a 3-0 lead. Midway through the third quarter, Harris broke through the line, stripped QB Reggie Bonnafon of the ball and then recovered it himself in the end zone for a touchdown. The score put the Deacons in front 10-7. Harris finished the game with four total tackles (one solo and three assists) in addition to the sack and forced fumble.

LINEBACKER – Jerod Fernandez, NC State, Fr.-r, MLB, 6-1, 231, Lake Mary, Fla.

Fernandez intercepted two passes in Saturday’s game against top-ranked Florida State, leading to 10 Wolfpack points. Fernandez also broke up a third pass and had a half-tackle for loss. He finished the day with four tackles on 53 snaps.

CO-DEFENSIVE BACK – Durell Eskridge, Syracuse, Jr., FS, 6-3, 203, Miami, Fla.

Eskridge posted a season-high nine tackles and contributed two takeaways, including a 29-yard interception return for a touchdown, against eighth-ranked Notre Dame. With Syracuse trailing 21-3 in the third quarter and the Irish at the Orange 32-yard line, Eskridge pounced on a fumble to thwart the potential scoring drive. Two possessions later, Eskridge intercepted on the Irish 29 and returned the pick back for Syracuse’s second touchdown in the 31-15 loss. It was the fifth interception of Eskridge’s career and his first of the season. It marked the first interception return for a touchdown by a Syracuse defender since the 2012 regular-season finale at Temple.

CO-DEFENSIVE BACK – Jeremy Cash, Duke, Jr.-r, S, 6-2, 205, Miami, Fla.

Cash posted a game-high 10 tackles, including one tackle for loss, while creating two turnovers on forced fumbles in Saturday night’s 22-10 loss at Miami. Cash also applied two quarterback pressures and broke up a pass. Cash spearheaded Duke’s defensive effort, which limited the Hurricanes to 9.5 fewer points than their average entering the game and 19.0 points below their scoring average in home games. Cash and the Blue Devils limited Miami to 2-of-13 (.154) on third down conversions

CO-SPECIALIST – Justin Vogel, Miami, So., P, 6-4, 210, Tampa, Fla.

Vogel had eight punts for 347 yards for an average of 43.4 yards per punt in Saturday night’s 22-10 win over Duke. Vogel dropped three punts inside the 20-yard line and tied a season best with a 56-yard boot.

CO-SPECIALIST – Bradley Pinion, Clemson, Jr., P, 6-6, 230, Concord, N.C.

Pinion had five punts for an average of 46.6 yards and placed three punts inside the 20 to help the Tigers to a 50-35 win over North Carolina. Pinion’s net average of 42.2 yards came against a North Carolina team that has had five punt returns for touchdowns over the last two years. Pinion also handled nine kickoffs and had four touchbacks on those attempts. North Carolina’s average start after a kickoff was its own 23.

- News release


Doeren news conference: Unbeaten State hosts unbeaten FSU

davedoeren2NC State coach Dave Doeren is excited. He’s excited that the Wolfpack got a shutout last weekend and he’s excited to start conference play with a 4-0 record. It may even be exciting to play Florida State at home – but it’s still the Seminoles.

“Very, very good football team,” Doeren said. “They haven’t lost a game in a long time, so we know we’re going to have to be really good to play with these guys, and looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity in front of us.”

Q. Obviously you talked about the 4-0 start and being happy to be there. What are some of the key areas that you really think this NC State team different from last year has been able to do to have so much success to start the season?
DAVE DOEREN: Our quarterback play is one. We’ve been very consistent there with Jacoby. He’s completing balls, he’s making a lot of timing throws where people can’t get to him, ball is getting out. And the second thing is the production in our run game. We’ve had balance. We’re averaging over six yards a carry with three different guys. And the third thing is our offensive line. We didn’t have Joe Thuney last week, but we’ve been rotating six guys through the five spots for the four games, and that’s helped us just having some guys playing together and building that chemistry.

Q. And then when you look at Florida State, what are you seeing on film of them? Obviously they had a comeback win with their backup quarterback last week. A little different this week when they come in and see you at home, but what can you say about them?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, they’re a great team. On offense, the No. 1 receiver probably in college football there, and as many good receivers as Florida State has had, Greene is potentially going to be the only guy ever to be their leading receiver for four years in a row, which says a lot about him. Nick O’Leary, the tight end, I mean, those two guys are weapons. Obviously Jameis is hard to deal with and a very, very accurate player. They have five seniors on their O-line. They did lose two great receivers a year ago, so you see where the ball is going a little bit more with the tight end in Greene. But on defense there’s a lot of new faces in there. A lot has been said about Eddie Goldman. I think he’s a great defensive tackle and does a tremendous job two-gapping people and penetrating and causing disruption on the defensive side of the ball. But they’re a very good team.

Q. I was wondering what the impact of Jerod Fernandez’s development has had on your overall defense.
DAVE DOEREN: Jerod Fernandez? I wouldn’t say he’s had an impact. I mean, he’s playing really hard. Last year Robert Caldwell led our team in tackles there, so Jerod has stepped into that position. He’s young. He plays really hard, and because of that effort, he makes plays. He’s got a lot to learn still as a young player, and I love how hard he plays. I think that’s the biggest thing that you see. It’s really important to him. But he’s a freshman; he’s got a lot of room to grow still.

Q. When you look at film of the FSU-Clemson game last week, was some of the success that Clemson’s defensive line was able to have against Florida State’s offensive line, was that due to personnel or schemes that they were in?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, Clemson did a nice job with their blitz package. They showed a lot of different things to Florida State. You can tell they spent a lot of time getting that 3rd down package and obviously having a first-time quarterback having to face it made it easier for Clemson. But I think Clemson’s defensive end just ran by them a couple times, and he does that to a lot of people. He’s really good. I just think that some of the looks that they were giving, I don’t know if they out-schemed them per se, but they were difficult looks. A quarterback seeing that for the first time, I’m sure that wasn’t on film for him to study. That’s hard in your first start, and for the
most part he handled it well. He threw for 300 yards.

Q. The only other thing I had, do you see any differences in Florida State’s offensive line this year on film compared to last year? I know they have four guys back from a year ago.
DAVE DOEREN: I mean, their center last year was as good as they get, so regardless of who replaces him, he had big shoes to fill. In my opinion I thought that guy was really good. So yeah, I mean, you do see a difference at center, but it’s not like the guy in there is not a great player. He’s just replacing a guy that was one of the best in the country.

Q. Obviously you’re 4-0. Considering who you’ve played so far and who you’ve got coming up on Saturday, how much are you still kind of curious about your team and how much will this game really tell you about your team?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, I mean, every game tells us something, and unlike you, I’m not going to discount any win. Being 4-0, I’ll take it any day. I’m proud to be in that position. Every game we play we learn something about our football team, and when you play a team with the nation’s longest winning streak, it’s a really good measuring stick.

Q. Have you noticed a difference at all this week heading into — obviously Florida State is an ACC team, so does that add a little bit more for your postseason hopes or what have you? Also being the No. 1 team in the country, have you noticed an uptick in energy in practice this week heading into that game?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, yeah, any time you’re playing the No. 1 team in the nation, you’re going to have a rise in your energy level at practice. I think that’s normal. The guys are excited for an opportunity to play at home against such a great team, and this game means a lot for a lot of reasons, and one of our goals is to be undefeated at home. There’s no doubt, and this is one of the teams we play at home. It’s a huge challenge to meet that goal, and looking forward to seeing our guys go out and try to get it.

Q. With Florida State, obviously now one of their big defensive tackles is out for the year in the Lawrence-Sample kid. I know you’ve talked about Eddie Goldman being really good, as well, but how much does it help to have three or four different guys to run out there, running backs, so you always have fresh legs going against that defense?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, it helps a lot, it really does. A lot of people would miss a player like the one they lost, but they’ve got five other D-tackles that they rotate, so their depth there is pretty good. But having three backs for us is big.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the mental aspect of playing a team like Florida State with, as you say, the longest winning stream in the country, defending national champs. They’ve been very overpowering, yet you have guys on your team that beat them two years ago.
DAVE DOEREN: Yes, we do.

Q. I just wonder if that can carry any kind of confidence or give you a mental boost going into this game.
DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, possibly. Obviously the kids that played in that game, and there’s a couple of them, Brian Underwood is still here, and Tyson Chandler and Rob Crisp, so there’s some guys that were a part of that, too, McGill, and I know that’ll always be with them, that confidence that you have from beating a team, and it was a comeback win. I don’t know how that doesn’t help you. I think we’re the last team to beat them, and I’m sure that’s something they talk about, too. I know they want to keep their streak alive, and just like everybody that plays them, we
want to be the one that ends it. We’ve got a big challenge in front of us to get that done.

Q. I know even though last year you didn’t have a great year, one of your really great showings was against Clemson on a
primetime night game at home. I just wonder if the fact you’re playing at home, you’ve got to have confidence even against a big-time team; is that fair?

DAVE DOEREN: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think you beat anyone if you don’t have confidence. The first thing I said to our team when we met Sunday is you’ve got to play with confidence and trust the plan and play loose. It doesn’t matter who we’re play ing. You can’t get all tight because it’s Florida State. You’ve got to play loose and trust the plan have faith in the players and the plan and the coaches and the process, and if you do that and you pl
ay with extreme effort, then you have a chance to win every game, and that’s what we need to find out if we can do.

Q. Just wanted to ask you a little bit about what you learned about Florida State and their ability to win without Jameis Winston at quarterback and how does his presence now in this game change the complexion of how you prepare for them?
DAVE DOEREN: Well, it was an impressive win. Clemson misses two field goals and fumbles the ball away and has a high snap on the 1-yard line going in, so there was a lot of miscues by Clemson. Florida State forced a key
fumble there at the end which won the game for them. They found a way to win, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters more than anything in football. It says a lot about the resolve of their players and the way they were able to stick with their QB and their coaches. Jameis obviously creates a different problem. The guy hasn’t lost a game in a long time, and he’s one of the most accurate players in the country when it comes to throwing the ball, with or without blitzes. We’ve got a huge challenge with him in there, and the confidence in our group that no matter what they think they can win. So I’m excited to go out there against a team like that. I think that’s what you always look forward to as a coach and the players is playing against a great team like that.


Cary’s Chris Castor, former Duke player, among ACC football legends

Chris Castor.

Chris Castor.

Led by two members of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and one of the most successful coaches in Atlantic Coast Conference history, the ACC announced the 2014 Class of Legends for its 10th Annual Dr Pepper Football Championship Game, which will be played in Charlotte Dec. 6.

In addition, players representing Triangle teams are Chris Castor of Duke, Greg Ellis of North Carolina and Jesse Campbell of NC State.

Castor (1979-82), a second-team All-America selection by the Associated Press as senior in 1982, enjoyed one of the most prolific seasons by an ACC wide receiver that year, averaging 20.7 yards per catch on 46 receptions with a then ACC-record 13 receiving touchdowns. That year, he became the first wide receiver to be named ACC Player of the Year, helping the Blue Devils to finish second nationally in passing offense. He established a school record for season yards per catch (20.7), a mark that stood until 2007. He also was named the Duke team MVP and his career yards-per-reception average of 18.96 is still the seventh-best mark in ACC history. A fifth-round draft choice in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, he played in 23 games in two seasons (1983-84) for Seattle with eight career catches for 89 yards. Born in Burlington, N.C., he grew up in Cary, N.C., which is also his current hometown.

Ellis (1994-97) was one of the lynchpins of a stifling North Carolina defense for Coach Mack Brown that led the ACC in total defense for three consecutive years in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and led the nation in scoring defense in 1996. He earned honorable mention All-American honors as a sophomore, second-team All-America accolades as a junior and was a consensus first-team pick as a senior. He is still the all-time career leader at North Carolina in quarterback sacks and his career total of 32.5 sacks is still the fourth-best in ACC history. During his four seasons in Chapel Hill, he helped lead the Tar Heels to an overall 36-12 record including a 21-3 mark in his final two years and four consecutive bowl appearances. UNC was ranked seventh in the nation following his senior season. He was the eighth overall selection in the first round in the 1998 NFL Draft by Dallas and went on to enjoy a 12-year NFL Career, the first 11 with the Cowboys. From 1998 through 2008, he started 155 of 162 games for the Cowboys and finished his career in 2009 with the Oakland Raiders. He totaled 84.0 quarterback sacks and 525 tackles with 23 forced fumbles and returned both a fumble (98 yards) and pass interception (87 yards) for touchdowns. He was named to the 2007 NFL Pro Bowl and was also named that year as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. A native of Wendell, N.C., he played for East Wake High School and was named the North Carolina Male High School Athlete of the Year in 1993. He currently lives in Dallas, Texas.

Campbell (1988-90) was one of the defensive standouts for the Dick-Sheridan-coached Wolfpack teams in the late 1980s. He earned first-team All-ACC honors in each of his three varsity seasons and was also named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1988. As a freshman, he led the Wolfpack in tackles (83), tackles for loss (11), pass breakups (11) and interceptions (5). A second-team All-America selection by the Football News in 1989, he earned first-team honors in 1990. During his three seasons at State, the Wolfpack compiled a 22-13-1 record which included three consecutive bowl game appearances. He still holds the school career record for fumbles forced with 15. He had 269 career tackles, including 22 for loss, 30 pass breakups and seven interceptions. A second-round selection and the 48th overall pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1991 NFL Draft, he played eight seasons in the NFL, including one with Philadelphia (1991), five with the New York Giants (1992-96) and two with the Washington Redskins (1997-98). He also had seven career interceptions as a professional. A native of Vanceboro, N.C., he currently resides in Havelock, N.C., where he is an assistant principal at New Bern High School.

Leading this year’s class are former Virginia and Navy head coach George Welsh (Coaldale Pa.), Florida State’s two-time consensus All-American linebacker Derrick Brooks (Pensacola, Fla.), four-time Pitt All-American defensive end Hugh Green (Natchez, Miss.), and Syracuse All-American wide receiver Art Monk (White Plains, N.Y.).

Welsh finished his coaching career as the winningest coach in league history compiling a 189-132-4 record which included reclamation projects at the U.S. Naval Academy and at Virginia. In his near two-decade stint in Charlottesville, Welsh built the Cavaliers into one of the nation’s premier football programs, winning seven or more games for 13 consecutive seasons.

Brooks, a 2014 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is considered to be one of the greatest players in college and professional football history. The 1993 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, he was named to the NFL’s Pro Bowl an astounding 11 times and led FSU to a national championship and Tampa Bay to the NFL title.

Green, a 1996 inductee into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, is also considered by many to be one of the greatest collegiate players in history. He was a three-time consensus All-American and earned All-America honors in all four of his collegiate seasons for the Panthers.

Monk is one of the few players to earn selection to both the College Football Hall of Fame (2012) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2008). He ended his 15-year professional career as the first wide receiver in NFL history to top 900 receptions, finishing with 940 career catches.

The Legends are each selected by their respective schools and will be honored during this year’s Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends sponsored by the Belk Bowl on Friday, Dec. 5, and on Saturday Dec. 6, during ceremonies at Bank of America Stadium for the 10th Annual Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship, which will be nationally televised with either a 7:45 pm (ESPN) or 8 p.m. (ABC) kickoff.

The group of 14 former gridiron standouts from current ACC schools includes a former ACC Football Player of the Year; an ACC Defensive Player of the Year, 12 former All-Americas, including 10 first-team and six consensus All-American honorees and 12 players who combined for 118 years in the National Football League. Twelve of the Legends were drafted into the NFL, including nine first- or-second-round draft choices.

In all, the collection of players combined for three national championships, eight ACC championships, 11 Super Bowl appearances, eight Super Bowl championships and 26 Pro Bowl appearances. Three of the Legends were named to their respective NFL All-Decade teams.

Joining Welsh, Brooks, Green and Monk as this year’s Legends are Boston College offensive lineman Chris Snee (Montrose, Pa.), who earned second-team All-America honors (AP) as a senior at guard; Clemson cornerback Donnell Woolford (Fayetteville, N.C.), a consensus All-America and key defensive figure for the Danny Ford-coached Tiger teams in the late 1980s; Duke wide receiver Chris Castor (Cary, N.C.), the first wide receiver to earn Player of the Year honors in ACC history; Georgia Tech offensive lineman John Davis (Ellijay, Ga.), who earned first-team All-America honors as a tackle and as a center for the Yellow Jackets; and Louisville cornerback Frank Minnifield (Lexington, Ky.), who led the nation in kickoff returns and was an excellent cover cornerback for the Cardinals.

Completing the ACC Football Legends Class of 2014 are Miami’s Darrin Smith (Miami, Fla.), one of one-third of the famed Hurricane linebacker trio dubbed the “Bermuda Triangle” that helped lead “the U” to a pair of national championships in 1989 and 1991; North Carolina defensive end Greg Ellis (Wendell, N.C.), a two-time All-American who earned consensus All-America honors in 1997 playing for the Mack Brown-coached Tar Heel teams of the mid-1990s; NC State safety Jesse Campbell (Vanceboro, N.C.), a three-time All-ACC and two-time All-America defensive back for Coach Dick Sheridan’s teams of the 1980s and 90s; Virginia Tech center Jake Grove (Forest, Va.), a unanimous first-team All-America in 2003 who was the winner of the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top pivotman; and Wake Forest running back Alan White (Elm City, N.C.), the runner-up for 1961 ACC Player of the Year who led the conference in rushing that year and went on to an award-winning career in athletic administration as director of athletics at Elon University.

Snee (2001-03), one of the most effective offensive linemen in Boston College history, earned second-team All-America honors and first team All-Big East accolades at guard for the Eagles in 2003. His blocking helped pave the way for BC’s Derrick Knight to finish fourth nationally in rushing with 1,721 yards. In his three years as a starter for BC and head coach Tom O’Brien, he helped lead the Eagles to a 25-13 record, including bowl wins over Georgia, Toledo and Colorado State. An early-entry into the 2004 NFL Draft, he was selected in the second round as the 34th overall pick by the New York Giants. Snee enjoyed a 10-year NFL career with the Giants, starting in 141 games, four times earning selection to the NFL Pro Bowl (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) and three times being named an All-Pro (2008, 2009, 2010). He helped lead the Giants, under coach Tom Coughlin, to a pair of Super Bowl triumphs in Super Bowl XLII (2007) and Super Bowl XLVI (2011). Snee, originally a native of Montrose, Pa., and his wife, the former Katie Coughlin, the daughter of the Giants head coach, now reside in Finger Lakes, N.J.

Woolford (1985-88) is a two-time All-America who earned 2nd team honors in 1987 and consensus All-America honors in 1988. He helped lead Clemson, coached by Danny Ford, to a 28-6-2 record in his final three seasons, including national Top Ten rankings in 1987 (10th, UPI) and in 1988 (8th, UPI; 9th AP). A two-time first-team All-ACC selection, he helped Clemson to ACC Championships in each of his final three varsity seasons, recording 10 pass interceptions in his career. An excellent punt returner, he led the ACC and finished third nationally with two touchdown returns and a 15.5 yard average in 1987. The 11th overall selection in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, Woolford played ten seasons in the NFL, the first eight with the Bears (1989-97) followed by one each with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1997) and Carolina Panthers (1998). He earned selection to the NFL Pro Bowl in 1993 and was named an All-Pro in 1994. He finished his career with 36 interceptions, the most at the time in Bears history. Originally a native of Fayetteville, N.C., he now resides in Charlotte.

Brooks (1991-94) earned consensus All-America honors in 1993 and 1994, leading the Seminoles to their first national championship as a junior in 1993. He earned first-team All-ACC honors three times (1992, 1993, 1994) was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. A finalist for the Butkus, Lombardi and Football Writers Defensive Player of the Year Awards in both 1993 and 1994, he was as highly regarded off the field as well earning first-team Academic All-America honors in 1994, receiving the NCAA’s Postgraduate Scholarship and being named one of the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athletes. The 28th player elected in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, he played 14 NFL (1995-2008) seasons for the Bucs, earning selection to the Pro Bowl 11 times—including 10 straight seasons from 1997 through 2006. He was honored as an All-Pro nine times and was chosen as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press in 2002 and led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. During his NFL career, he started 221 of 224 games, made 1,715 tackles and his six career touchdowns on interceptions returns tied an NFL record. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team As a professional, Brooks was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2000 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, the 2004 Byron “Whizzer” White Award, and the 2008 JB Award through the NFL Players Association, all of which honor an NFL player annually for the commitment to their communities. In 2007, Brooks was named to the Florida High School Association All-Century Team, which selected the top 33 players in the history of high school football in the state of Florida. Currently, he is co-owner and president of the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League and he resides in Tampa, Fla.

Davis (1983-86), a four-year starter on the offensive line for the Bill Curry-coached teams of the mid-1980s, is one of the best offensive lineman in Tech history. Davis started at offensive tackle as a true freshman in 1983; started at center in 1984; earned first-team All-America honors by The Sporting News in 1985 at tackle; and completed his collegiate career earning first-team All-America honors (Scripps-Howard) back at center in 1986. He earned the nickname “The Refrigerator Mover” for his play in 1984 against Clemson consensus All-American William “The Refrigerator” Perry when he was named Sports Illustrated’s National Player of the Week following Tech’s 28-21 upset of the 13th-ranked Tigers, snapping a 20-game Clemson ACC win streak. Drafted in the 11th round of the 1987 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, he played two years with Houston and six seasons with the Buffalo Bills at guard, playing in three Super Bowls (XXV, XXVII, XXVIII), missing one (XXVI) with an injury. A native of Ellijay, Ga., he is currently serving as National Scouting Coordinator for CSA Prepstar 360 and currently resides with his family in Marietta, Ga.

Minnifield (1979-82) was originally a walk-on who earned a scholarship and became a four-time letterman for the Cardinals. He led the nation in kickoff return average (30.4) as a junior in 1981. A superb cover corner, he had seven career interceptions. After college, Minnifield signed with the Chicago Blitz of the USFL (1983) and played two seasons including the 1984 campaign when the team moved to Arizona. He sued to move to the NFL, signing as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 1985. Minnifield played eight seasons for Cleveland, earning four selections to the NFL’s Pro Bowl from 1986 through 1989. He was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1980s and was credited, along with fellow Brown cornerback Hanford Dixon, in originating and naming Cleveland’s “Dawg Pound” cheering section. After his professional career, he founded Minnifield All-Pro Homes in his hometown of Lexington, Ky. and was named to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board in 1993. In 2011, he was named Chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. A native of Lexington, he currently resides in his hometown.

Smith (1989-92), one of the top linebackers in Miami history, he keyed a Hurricane defense that allowed Miami to win a pair of national championships (1989, 1991) under coach Dennis Erickson during his time in Coral Gables. Along with Jessie Armstead and Michael Barrow, he composed one third of the linebacker corps for Miami known as the “Bermuda Triangle”. As a junior he earned first-team All-America honors by the Football News and second-team by the Associated Press while also named co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East Conference. He finished his career as the fourth-leading tackler in UM history. He was named a first-team All-American by UPI as a senior in 1992. During his four varsity seasons, Miami compiled a spectacular 44-4 record. An excellent student, Smith also became UM’s first National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete recipient. A second-round pick and the 54th overall selection by Dallas in the 1993 NFL Draft, he played 12 seasons in the NFL, the first four with the Cowboys (1993-96) where he helped Dallas to triumphs in Super Bowls XXVIII and XXX. He also played one year with Philadelphia (1997), two seasons with Seattle (1998-99) and five years with New Orleans. In his NFL career, he compiled 749 tackles, 24.0 sacks and 11 interceptions. A native of Miami, he currently resides in Pembroke Pines where he owns and operates a real estate investment and development company. He also serves as the team chaplain for the Miami Dolphins.

Green (1977-80), one of the most honored defensive players in Pitt history, is a four-time All-American who earned consensus first-team All-America honors in each of his final three seasons as a defensive end. He led Pitt to a four-year 39-8-1 record. As a senior in 1980, he was named the Walter Camp Player of the Year, the Maxwell Award Player of the Year, the UPI National Player of the Year and The Sporting News Player of the Year. Additionally, he was also presented with the Lombardi Award as the nation’s best lineman or interior linebacker. He was also voted the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, at the time the highest finish be a defensive player in the history of the Heisman Trophy. He accumulated 460 tackles and 53 sacks in his collegiate career and Pitt retired his jersey, No. 99, at halftime of his final home game in 1980. Selected by Tampa Bay with the seventh overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, he played 11 seasons in the NFL, the first five with the Buccaneers and the last six with Miami. A two-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl selection as a linebacker (1982-83) he was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie team in 1981. Inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1996, he was named the fifth greatest college football player of all-time by the collegefootballnews.com. Named to the all-time All-American team by The Sporting News in 1983, Green was ranked No. 14 among ESPN’s Top 25 College Football Players in history in 2007, and was also named to Sports Illustrated’s College Football all-century team in 1999. Originally a native of Natchez, Miss., he is now retired and resides in Fayette, Miss.

Monk (1976-79), one of the most productive wide receivers in National Football League history, is one of the few players to be inducted into both the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame (2012) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2008). He still ranks ninth on the Syracuse reception list and is 10th in receiving yards. He still holds the school record for most catches in a game, with 14 against Navy in 1977. He was a first-team All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and a two-time Lambert Trophy winner given to the best collegiate player in the East. The 18th overall selection in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft by Washington, Monk played 16 seasons in the National Football League, the first 14 with the Redskins. A three-time Pro Bowl selection (1984-86), he was a first-team All-Pro in 1984 and second team in 1985. He set an NFL single-season receiving mark, which was later broken, with 106 catches in 1984 and became the first NFL receiver with 900 or more career receptions, completing his career with 940 catches. He helped the Redskins to four Super Bowl appearances as Washington captured Super Bowl titles in Super Bowls XVII, XXII and XXVI. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1980s and has been named to the Washington Redskins Ring of Fame. Originally a native of White Plains, N.Y., he now resides in Great Falls, Va.

Welsh (1982-2000) retired in 2000 as the winningest coach in ACC history having compiled 189 wins in a 28-year career as head coach at Navy and Virginia. His total of 134 wins at Virginia is still the second-best mark of any ACC head coach, trailing only Florida State’s Bobby Bowden, and his overall total ranks 31st among all coaches in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. His 85 ACC wins in conference games is also the second-highest total in league history. His rebuilding job at UVa stands as one of the great coaching accomplishments in modern collegiate football. Welsh inherited a Virginia program that had a 1-10 record and had averaged less than three victories a year in the previous 11 seasons. In his 19 years in Charlottesville, Welsh’s teams averaged seven wins a year, including a stretch of 13 consecutive seasons when Virginia won seven or more football games. Six of his Cavalier teams finished ranked in the nation’s Top 20, two tied for ACC championships, and he led UVa to 12 appearances in bowl games. His 1990 squad earned a No. 1 national ranking for three straight weeks. Prior to his arrival in Charlottesville, Virginia had never been to a bowl game.

While at Virginia he was named ACC Coach of the Year four times (1983, 1984, 1991, 1995) and National Coach of the year once (1991). His 1989 and 1995 Virginia teams tied for the ACC football title and his 1990 team was ranked No. 1 nationally at midseason. His 1995 UVa squad was the first ACC team to beat Florida State, ending the Seminoles’ 29-game conference winning streak after joining the league. An All-American quarterback at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1955, Welsh began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Penn State under Rip Engle and then Joe Paterno (1963-72). He became head coach at Navy in 1973 and rebuilt that program into a consistent winner, inheriting a program that had won just 12 games over the previous five seasons. He compiled a 55-46-1, taking the Midshipmen to bowl games in three of his final four seasons in Annapolis. Originally a native of Coaldale, Pa., Welsh now lives in Charlottesville, Va.

Grove (2000-03), the winner of the 2003 Rimington Trophy which is given annually to the nation’s best center, earned unanimous Al-America honors as a senior for Coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Grove played on Tech teams that compiled a 37-14 record and went to four consecutive bowl games. After playing center as a freshman and guard as a sophomore, Grove moved back to the center position as a junior in 2002, and was a natural fit, starting all 14 games and grading out to 90 percent for the season. In 2003, he graded out to 91.8 percent in over 700 offensive plays, recording a team-high 48 knockdown blocks. That year, he was a first-team All-American selection by the Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Walter Camp Foundation and The Sporting News. He also earned first-team All-Big East honors. Selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round and the 45th overall pick of the 2004 Draft, Grove played seven seasons in the NFL, the first five with Oakland and the final two with Miami. He started 56 of his 66 NFL games in his career. His jersey, No. 64, was retired by Virginia Tech in 2006. Born in Johnson City, Tenn., Grove is a native of Forest, Va., and he currently resides in his hometown.

White (1959-61) was a first team All-ACC running back and Wake Forest MVP in 1961 after leading the ACC in rushing. That year he carried 93 times for 586 yards, an average of 6.3 yards per carry. As a senior he rushed for 131 yards vs. Virginia and added 113 yards in a win over North Carolina. White was a third team Academic All-America selection following his senior season. After graduation, he embarked on a coaching career that included stops at Elon and Mississippi State. White returned to the Elon coaching staff in 1974 and became director of athletics in 1979. He served in that position until his retirement in 2006. While leading the Elon athletics program, Dr. White helped the Phoenix transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division II and eventually to the Football Championship Subdivision. He was named the NAIA National Athletic Administrator of the Year in 1989 and was a five-time NAIA district administrator of the year. During his tenure at Elon, the Phoenix won 56 conference championships, 12 conference Excellence Awards and four national championships. A 1962 graduate of Wake Forest, Dr. White has previously been inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Elon Sports Hall of Fame, the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame and the NAIA Hall of Fame. Originally from Elm City, N.C., he and his family now reside in Burlington, N.C.

2014 ACC Football Legends Roster

Name School Years Position Hometown (Current Residence)

Chris Snee Boston College 2001-03 Guard Montrose, Pa. (Finger Lakes, N.J.)
Donnell Woolford Clemson 1985-88 Cornerback Fayetteville, N.C. (Charlotte, N.C.)
Chris Castor Duke 1979-82 Wide Receiver Cary, N.C. (Same)
Derrick Brooks Florida State 1991-94 Linebacker Pensacola, Fla. (Tampa, Fla.)
John Davis Georgia Tech 1983-86 Center-Tackle Ellijay, Ga. (Marietta, Ga.)
Frank Minnifield Louisville 1979-82 Cornerback Lexington, Ky. (same)
Darrin Smith Miami 1989-92 Linebacker Miami, Fla. (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
Greg Ellis North Carolina 1994-97 Defensive End Wendell, N. C. (Dallas, Tex.)
Jesse Campbell NC State 1988-90 Safety Vanceboro, N.C. (Havelock, N.C.)
Hugh Green Pittsburgh 1977-80 Defensive End Natchez, Miss. (Fayette, Miss.)
Art Monk Syracuse 1976-79 Wide Receiver White Plains, N.Y. (Great Falls, Va.)
George Welsh Virginia 1982-00 Head Coach Coaldale, Pa. (Charlottesville, Va.)
Jake Grove Virginia Tech 2000-03 Center Forest, Va. (same)
Alan White Wake Forest 1959-61 Running Back Elm City, N.C. (Burlington, N.C.)


State, UNC volleyballers honored by the ACC

EceTanerNorth Carolina senior libero Ece Taner and NC State freshman middle blocker Kaitlyn Kearney have earned this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference volleyball honors, as Taner was named Player of the Week and Kearney was tabbed Freshman of the Week.

Taner led the Tar Heels to three victories over the weekend in the 18th annual Carolina Classic, including a signature victory over No. 16 Kentucky. In the five set thriller, Ece led the UNC defense with 21 digs and helped hold the Wildcats to a .237 hitting percentage, including a .000 attack percentage in the decisive fifth set. Taner chipped in four service aces on the weekend, including three against Georgia Southern. For her efforts, Taner was named the MVP of the Carolina Classic.

NC State’s Kearney had the best weekend of her young career and was rewarded with Georgia Tournament MVP honors. For the tournament, she averaged 3.27 kills per set and also chipped in with eight blocks. The Frisco, Texas native had her most impressive match of the weekend against the toughest competition in host Georgia. Kearney smashed 15 kills in the contest with only one error to register a .412 attacking percentage. She finished the weekend with 36 kills and a .403 hitting percentage.

- News release


Monday morning quarterback: Heels, Pack, Redskins, Panthers

mondaymorningqbSo what did the Tar Heels, Wolfpack, Redskins and Panthers do right and wrong this past weekend?

For the second week in a row, North Carolina escaped against an inferior opponent at home. It took three rare plays to beat San Diego State 31-27. A Brian Walker interception at the goal line and subsequent 100-yard return for a touchdown and a Marquise Williams to Mack Hollins 91-yard pass play for a TD the two scores that saved them, along with an interception in the end zone with 14 seconds left.

The interception return was just the third 100-yard interception return in school history while the 91-yard pass play was the longest by the Tar Heels in Kenan Stadium history and the third longest for the Heels anywhere. That’s what it took to defeat San Diego. Exciting, yes but impressive, no.

The big plays saved Coach Larry Fedora a grilling about throwing a pass inside the five yard line on third down and few inches for a first down. The pass completion lost a yard or two and the Heels had to settle for a field goal.

NC State, for the second week in a row, were not impressive against an inferior opponent at home despite scoring 46 points. The Pack gave up 34 points and 504 yards to Old Dominion.

The defense did not really pressure Old Dominion in the backfield or even at the line, and the tackling was atrocious. On a positive note, the running game looks good as Pack runners rushed for 242 yards and scored five TDs (four of them on the ground). Shadrach Thornton got three of those scores while Matt Dayes had a rushing TD and a receiving TD.

The improvement wasn’t lost on Coach Dave Doeren. “Our run game is averaging six yards per carry, no turnovers and one penalty throughout the game,” he said. “On offense, we averaged 6.6 yards on first down on offense. We were 3-for-3 in short yardage.”

Oh, Washington Redskins, here we go again. Untimely turnovers, poor special teams and a supposedly mobile quarterback who keeps getting sacked before getting rid of the ball.

As for the turnovers, all are untimely, but two unforced fumbles inside the 10-yard line are hard to overcome. That’s a minimum of six points and a maximum of 14 points off the board in a 17-6 loss.

The six points makes one who didn’t watch the game assume the Skins could only muster two field goals. But, no, it was due to a blocked extra point. At a time when the league is considering getting rid of extra points because they are supposedly automatic, the JJ Watt middle-of-the-line block changed the momentum of the game.

Up 6-0, the Redskins fell apart with a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown while Robert Griffin III couldn’t or wouldn’t throw the ball down field. He even held onto the ball so long that he was sacked three times. The guy who is supposed to be so mobile looked anything but. In fact, he intentionally grounded the ball once and rarely looked to throw more than a few yards down the field. When he did throw long, it looked like Hail Mary plays rather than passes that had a good chance of completion.

By the way, did you notice how the in-studio Fox Sports team did everything they could to use the word Washington instead of Redskins. Host Curt Menefee even tossed it to previews of two games by saying “the Bills at the Bears” and “Washington at the Texans.” Not Washington at Houston. He gave three team names and one city name within a minute’s time.

The Carolina Panthers actually looked pretty good in a season opener for a change (they haven’t won one in five years) and they did it with a second-string quarterback. Derek Anderson, though, is a veteran and he threw a pair of touchdown passes to lead the Panthers over Tampa Bay 17-14.

The Panthers did wilt a bit down the stretch and let the Bucs back in the game but it had been a dominating performance for most of the game.

Cam Newton, out with a rib injury, is said to be ready to play next weekend. To get an opening win without Newton in a game in which they were the underdogs, the Panthers did quite well.

Before the game, many thought the offensive line would be a weakness. But coaches trotted out several linemen throughout the game, keeping players fresh, and it worked. You’d think it would disrupt continuity but the line was juggled so much in the preseason, for a number of reasons, maybe they’re used to it.


NC State coach Doeren’s weekly news conference transcript

Dave Doeren.

Dave Doeren.

“Obviously we’re excited to be 1-0. It was a great comeback for our team, and there’s a lot of things obviously when you review the film that you could have done better. One thing we did is we finished,” said NC State coach Dave Doeren during his weekly news conference.

“Offensively, we took care of the ball except for the one throw by Jacoby that he forced. Turnover margin we came out even. The most disappointing thing probably was that we forced four fumbles in the game and when we got one of them and dropped a gimme pick. Those are plays that being an opportunistic team we need to find a way to move forward. We averaged 4.9 yards of carry in the run game, 2.2 yards after contact so I was proud of that. We only had six of what we consider explosive plays and our goal is to have 10 a game so that’s an area we need to improve.

“One thing I thought we did a good job of was that they didn’t have a single tackle on our backfield in the run game, and no tackles for loss for them. We gave up the one sack, which is one too many. It was a pretty clean game for the first game; there were three penalties throughout the game by the offense. Three procedure penalties; one of them on Matt (Dayes) in our no house stuff. We had a 99-yard touchdown drive coming off of a turnover, which was a turning point in the game.

“On our first down offense we averaged 6.9 yards on first downs so that was a big part of our success. I thought the game and some individual guys played well; Jacoby (Brissett) got in a rhythm had 70 percent on the day. He threw the ball around to nine different people so we were able to distribute the ball pretty well. Defensively for the first game I felt like we tackled well, we had good contact, there was a lot of nice hits. We had 11 freshmen on that side of the ball throughout the game so there were a lot of new people, true or redshirt.

“I thought our “D” line and our corners and Hakim, our free safety, had good games for us. We struggled in some positions with some new guys in there, and really with six plays that defined the game for our defense. There were six plays that lead the 260 yards out of their total offense. We had a 61-yard gain, a 52 yard gain, a 51 yard gain a 29 yard, 37 and a 30 in those six plays, and you can’t take them back. If you take those six plays out it’s a different football game and that’s a great learning experience I think for a young defense, that every snap is the most important play.

“The positives on that side of the football, I thought they were aggressive, I thought in the red zone when they got down there four time and got zero touchdowns on our defense that’s outstanding. Had one take away down there and held them to three field goals on the other drives. The one sudden change after Jacoby’s pick they went three and out and held onto a field goal so I think when the pressure was on those guys even at the end of the game with 1:30 and a timeout left that first down, second down, third down, fourth down stopped them and got us back to football. We’re encouraged by some of those things and by their effort, and we just have to clean up things against a good offense.
“On special teams we covered punts and kicks well. I thought Wil (Baumann) punted the ball extremely well for us. That was a big part of the game; he had great punt out of his own end zone. We missed two long field goals, which I know Nik (Sade) was close on both of them and had the leg and was just outside the right upright.

“We played 20 new guys in the game, so a lot of guys got game experience. It was hot and I’ve talked about our conditioning and how our strength coach did a nice job getting our players ready. Our nutrition staff our training staff had the guys hydrated, and I know their team wasn’t. My hat is off to our staff for taking care of our guys and our guys for working hard at it. I appreciate the fans that stayed throughout the game it means a lot to us. We get to come back this week and play a different type of team.

“Old Dominion is a successful team like Georgia Southern. They’ve had five seasons in a row with eight wins or more. They have probably the most exciting quarterback at their level until they moved up this year, A Walter Payton Award winner, Taylor Heinicke. The guy’s a really good player. He doesn’t throw a lot of picks, throws a ton of touchdowns, understands their offense and just has a lot of savvy to make a lot of throws, and gets out of the pocket and makes things happen. They averaged over 42 points a game in three of the last five seasons. I have a lot of respect for their coaching staff; I know a couple of those guys. They have two receivers that make plays; number 5 (Antonio Vaughan), had got great speed for them. Their tailbacks ran for almost 180 yards on Saturday and number 30 (Gerard Johnson) had 138 yards. Another challenging offense for our defense to play against, and defensively they’ve made some changes and covered schemes on their side. At least in their first game they did compared to last year, so we’ll see if that carries forward.

“Another great game, and I’m excited for our fans to have a night game and get a chance to see the Pack in Black uniform and helmet. I know our fans, players and recruits that have reached out to me were excited about the release yesterday about the look. We’re excited to break those out. It’s Ag Day and it’s a neat deal for agricultural not just alums but the School of Agriculture and all of the partnerships we have.”

On 20 new guys and attributing unfamiliarity to slow start: A lot. I think it’s natural to play not to make a mistake early because you don’t want to screw up, and when you’re playing that way it’s natural to not play full speed. Whether it’s throwing a ball behind or slipped off a block or just not triggering on defense the way you need to trigger. I think that’s a lot of it and the guys settled down as the game went on.

On switching defensive system at end of last season: People ask me that and I don’t really understand where they’re coming from. TCU and Virginia Tech are two of the best rushing defenses in college football on a 4-2-5. We didn’t give up the yardage we gave because of our nickel; we gave it up because the safety misfit a gap or a DM that was supposed to be on a quarterback tackled a guy instead. It had nothing to do with who was in the game at nickel. We went to it so that we could be more versatile in our coverage schemes and this week we’ll have chance to do that. Being able to stop the run earlier at 4-3 and 4-2-5 and 3-4 and 3-3-5 is about gap accountability and tackling. We didn’t do that six times Saturday and we paid for it. I’m excited to get some players back, not having Tim Buckley hurt us a little bit in that game. I think Tim’s a very good athlete who didn’t get to play because he got sick and hopefully we’ll get him back soon. The rotation we had up front I think helped up and helped our linebackers. With M.J. (Salahuddin) being out and Jerod (Fernandez) went down for a little bit, Airius (Moore) was in there for a while, a true freshman playing against a triple option was tough for him. That was part of the problems that we had.

On chart changes with Barr, Nelson and Wright: As the week went on we felt more comfortable with Alex (Barr) being in there mentally. Worried about telling them to lead a little bit early on, and they’ll start to play more and more I think as we go. Monty (Nelson) was hurt for two weeks in training camp so when I released the depth chart I released it based on who was practicing. He came back earlier than we expected and we’re glad he did because he played a great game. Tim (Buckley) was sick so that’s what happened with that change.

On Bra’Lon Cherry as go-to wide receiver:
Bra’Lon made some nice plays and he could have had another one on the sideline, he dropped one that I thought was a pretty easy catch. He’s put on 20 pounds or so and he’s playing more physical, more aggressive and more confident. He did a nice job of getting open in key moments and Jacoby threw some pretty good balls to catch. He almost had another one that got behind him in the red zone on the other side of the field and was just overthrown a little bit.

On alternate uniforms: I don’t know if its just keeping up with the times but the reason we wanted to do them was really two-fold. Excitement for our current team; I think that’s something that gets the guys excited and obviously when you’re doing that for your players its going to help with recruiting as well. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just throwing something on to throw it on and that it was something that embodied all the principles of our colors and our mascot, the wolf. Using it at night I think matched up really well. Terry Callaway and Adidas did a nice job putting together all the designs. Its not something were going to do a lot because we have a lot of pride in the traditional uniform here. When we get to do it were going to make sure that it really fit and that people understand why we did it.

On young guys stepping up in game one: Well they need to. We brought them in here and brought them in early to play. We needed a lift. Bo (Hines) had nine catches, Stephen (Louis) had a catch. The first play of the season was Shawn Boone on kickoff cover age making a tackle. That was the first play of the season’ a true freshman. That was exciting, and there were some new faces in there; Charlie Twitty, a walk-on we put on scholarship, had a big hit on a punt. I think all of the new guys that are in the room need to step up and play well, and that’s why they came here. Kentavius (Street) was out there and got a lot of reps for us as well.

On Old Dominion last season against Carolina: I think for us, where we’re at we’re so young we can’t compare ourselves to other people. We have to really worry about our own problems and we had enough of them Saturday and that’s where our focus will be. You don’t go far to turn on the film to see how good their (Old Dominion) quarterback is and snap end if you’re a defensive player. We didn’t defend the pass the way we need to Saturday so there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on getting better there. Old Dominion is a team that played poorly in that one game last year and played really well in a bunch of other ones so it’s going to be easy to find other moments.

On “compete and finish” happening in game one: I think that was huge on a lot of fronts. We were well documented on the fourth forehand we lost last year and to be able to get into one and win and make clutch throws and catches and stops. All of those things had to happen and they did. Second thing is we changed a lot in our conditioning program and it was hard on the guys and I think what he did really created some buy in there on why we work the way we do because it was obvious in that game who the best shape team was and who was the most physical and conditioned not just physically but mentally. Our guys were fresh in the fourth quarter and it wasn’t because of a rotation. We were going no huddle and our receivers never left the field and I know our offensive line never stopped the entire game.

On Jacoby Brissett and demeanor changing between first and second half: I don’t feel like it did. I just think he got hot. He needed to make a mistake probably and bounce back from it and get in a rhythm and get going. I think he started doing what he was supposed to do. He was aggressive and it looked like he was having some fun. I think he saw the guys making plays for him, which makes it easier.

On Bryan Underwood and large rotation of players in key positions: I was disappointed he didn’t get the ball. We had some plays for him in there and just when we called them it didn’t happen. There were a couple of deep plays we wanted to run to him and a couple of jets and just they way they were lining up it wasn’t going to be there. Sometimes that happens. They were playing really soft coverage and everything was underneath him in the game and that’s not his deal, catching it and getting hit right away is not what he does well. He’s more of a separation guy, a jet guy, an across the field type guy. We haven’t forgotten about him; the first thing I said to Coach Canada after the game is that we need to make sure he’s touching the ball more. Sometimes things are working and then in the second half they start throwing the ball underneath him. As far as rotating players I think that if guys practice well they deserve to play. There’s a bunch of guys that worked their butts off at camp and when you play a lot of guys you get better practice out of your team because they know they’re going to get in. I also think when you get a hot hand you have to go with the hot hand. I think you saw that with Shad (Shadrach Thornton) as the game went on. That’s how it works; you try to use their skill sets and you try to work their hard work and then you have to go with the guys that are going to make the plays.


Wolfpack comes back late for first win since last September

statehelmetJacoby Brissett found Matt Dayes for a 35-yard strike down the right sideline with 1:37 left, as the Pack completed its comeback in the fourth quarter to start the 2014 season with a 24-23 win over Georgia Southern. The Pack’s two TD drives in the fourth quarter covered 99 yards and then 75 yards to send the 54,273 Wolfpack faithful home happy.

NC State’s 9 play, 75 yard TD drive in the fourth quarter to put the Pack up 24-23 with 1:37 left.

Down by six, NC State took possession of the ball at the 25-yard line. The Pack marched down the field in just 1:58 to score the go-ahead TD, a 35-yard Brissett to Dayes TD pass. Brissett’s third TD pass of the game gave the Pack its first lead of the game, 24-23, with 1:37 left to play.

On the drive, Brissett went 8-of-9 for 75 yards, with all the plays on the drive a pass.

NC State’s 12 play, 99 yard TD drive in the fourth quarter to cut the Eagles lead to 20-17 with 6:55 left.

After the Pack defense forced a Georgia Southern fumble on the Pack’s 1-yard line, NC State went 99 yards in 12 plays in 4:08 to bring the Pack closer at 20-17 with 6:55 left in the game. Bra’Lon Cherry capped the drive with his second TD reception of the game, 11 yards from Jacoby Brissett.

On the drive, Brissett went 6-of-7 for 56 yards, with the last six plays of the drive all Brissett completions.

Jacoby Brissett: 28-of-40 for 291 yards and 3 TDs.

Making his first start in a Wolfpack uniform, and playing in his first game in 651 days, Brissett led the Wolfpack comeback thanks to his play in the fourth quarter. On the Pack’s two TD drives in the quarter, Brissett was 14-of-16 for 131 yards, leading the Pack on scoring drives of 99 and 75 yards.

• #Wolfpups: A total of 10 true freshmen made their NC State debuts in today’s game: Shawn Boone, Bradley Chubb, Cole Cook, B.J. Hill, Bo Hines (starter at WR), Stephen Louis, Airius Moore, Germaine Pratt, Jaylen Samuels, Kentavius Street.

• #FirstTimeAction: Other NC State players who made their Wolfpack debuts today: Jacoby Brissett (starter at QB), NaQuan Brown, Jerod Fernandez (starter at LB), Kenton Gibbs, Josh Jones (starter at S), Bryce Kennedy, Malcolm Means, Ernie Robinson, Josh Sessoms, Charlie Twitty, Lucas Wilson.

NC State returns to home action next weekend, hosting Old Dominion on Saturday, September 6 at 6 p.m.

- News release