Watching our team dominate Vanderbilt in the Independence Bowl, I loved seeing our front 6 dominate the line of scrimmage against an ACC opponent. With the news that Josh Jones is going pro, and Bradley Chubb may soon follow, I wanted to look reflect on this year’s biggest success as a jumping off point for next year’s team. NC State’s defense was ranked number 4 nationally against the run in 2016, which is quite a feat, and it provides a great talking point for the coaching staff during final recruiting push.
But was our defense elite against the run in 2016, or is there more to the story when you sift through the numbers? According to www.teamrankings.com NC State played the 32 nd hardest overall schedule in 2016, and our out of conference strength of schedule was ranked 51 st . It should be noted that those rankings include our bowl game against Vanderbilt. Given how weak our out of conference schedule turned out to be this year, I decided to look at our 8 conference games this season and compare NC State’s defense to its peers. In my opinion, this was the best way to do an apples to apples comparison because these statistics were generated playing against the teams we are comparing NC State to.
In conference play, NC State was not the number one ranked rushing defense based on average rushing yards/game. Louisville was number one with 103.9 yards/game and NC State was second with 108.8yards per game in their 8 conference games. To NC State’s credit, they did hold teams to a 3.4 yards/carry average over those 8 conference games, which was the second best only behind Louisville.
It should be noted though, that NC State may have had the second lowest rushing yards per game because the NC State defense faced the fewest number of rushing attempts (258) in the ACC during conference play.
In terms of total defense in conference play, NC State was quite average, finishing at number seven with 403.1 yards per game. NC State had the second worst ACC pass defense at 294.4 yards/game, finishing only ahead of Pitt who gave up 360.8 yards/game in the air. NC State faced the second most pass attempts in ACC play (309), again only finishing ahead of Pitt (368). So, it is fair to say that ACC Offensive Coordinators chose to abandon the run game in favor of the passing game, picking on NC State’s passing defense that was ranked 9 th in ACC pass defense efficiency.
At the end of the day, the goal of the defense is to prevent the other team from scoring and in ACC play NC State gave up 25.9 points per game, good for 7 th in the conference, the same ranking we achieved in total defense based on yards/game. This mediocrity is even more amazing when you dig deeper into our red zone defense. Our red zone defensive efficiency was ranked 11 th in the ACC allowing opponents to score 87.9% of the time they entered the red zone. NC State actually gave up 135 points in the red zone, ranked tenth, only finishing ahead of Pitt, BC, UNC-Ch, and Syracuse. Only UNC-CH, Syracuse, and Pitt allowed more trips to the red zone in conference games than NC State. The one bright spot is that NC State had the lowest touchdown percentage of all of the ACC teams, at 48.5%, but opposing kicker were 13-14 in FG attempts, which leads us to a different discussion about kicking.
After reviewing the statistics, it is reasonable to conclude that the overall NC State defense was just average in conference play; the result of an above average run defense and a below average pass defense. If Dave Doeren wants to improve his 9-23 career ACC record or his 1-22*record against Power 5 Schools with a winning record, his coaching staff will need to improve the defense against the pass.
This may be a tall order given the loss of Josh Jones and potential loss of Bradley Chubb, who accounted for approximately 1/3 of NC State’s sacks in conference play.
*Possibly 2-22 if Wake wins their bowl game today.
Here is the referenced spreadsheet
Dave Doeren has a chance to save his job
Mark Gottfriend still doesnt coach defense.
Evan explains the great opossum jihad of 2016
It’s no doubt that Dave Doeren’s job status is a polarizing topic among NC State fans. Even after whipping UNC early and almost letting another game slip away the fan base is 75% ready for a change and 25% willing to give him another year. We found a few fans who believe DD should get another year and asked them to write up their thoughts.
James Curle, @JamesCurle
Every time I try to assert definitively why we should keep Dave Doeren, I can’t shake the reasons why we shouldn’t. That’s the problem with this debate: it’s as close to a 50/50 decision as I can recall in some time.
Why should we keep him? Well, we’ve been close in some big games this year. Real close. The missed field goal against Clemson was as devastating a play to a season (and perhaps a coach’s career) as you can imagine. A dropped interception in the end zone at the end of the FSU game was similarly devastating to our chances of winning that game. Some missed field goals against ECU probably cost us that game. The line between 5-6 and 8-3 is so razor thin for this team. Some years you have all those plays break your way; it seems this year they’ve all broke against us. I would much rather be close and in a position to receive those breaks than to be noncompetitive or starting over.
Why shouldn’t we keep him? Two big reasons that make a ton of sense for me are the favorable hiring market for head coaches and that waiting one more year pushes you closer to Debbie’s retirement time-frame of 2019. If you make a move now versus after 2017 (if warranted), you stand a better-than-average chance to upgrade your coaching staff and give him a little time to get settled in with Debbie before she hands the reigns off to a new AD. Waiting another year might mean your pool of coaches at your disposal might be more “shallow” and the hiring time-frame only gets more complicated as it relates to Debbie transitioning power to a new AD.
Since I’m on the fence but have to chose a side, I ultimately side with keeping him one more year. Yes, the track record is abysmal, but I do truly believe this team is close to breaking through. The roster should be Doeren’s best. Doeren is still a new head coach, experience-wise, and his two years at NIU weren’t nearly as difficult as his four at State have been, so I think he’s still catching up to the Power 5 learning curve. I’m not saying he needs another five to catch up to said learning curve, but I think he has learned a great deal from this season. And since I’ve always believed in giving football coaches five years as a bare minimum to eliminate any and all excuses for judging a coach, I’m sticking with that if for no other reason than the .
That said, if a change is made, I won’t be sad or surprised. The fanbase–particularly the ones who pay the bills in the way of Wolfpack Club dues, lifetime rights, tickets, parking passes and concessions–are reaching a point where apathy could be more financially costly than making a change a year ahead of my personal beliefs of how long a coach should have to prove himself.
Stephen Shepard, @sshep28
When Coach D took over our program it was at the lowest point it’s been in a while. TOB left the cupboard bare. We didn’t even have a QB. So you can’t really count the 1st year of Coach D’s tenure. He also couldn’t really get the recruits he wanted till the second year. So we are really only talking about 2 years now. If you look at talent level it has gotten tremendously better. We lined up against Clemson and Florida State and whipped them man for man and the recruiting is continuing.
If a couple plays go different, which Coach couldn’t control, everyone would be talking totally different. People say he should of switched kickers earlier…I’ve watched Bambard pre-game and between halves drill every kick and I’m sure that’s what the coaches see everyday. Remember your dealing with 18-22 year old kids that people want to berate and our fans are some of the worst for doing that. Coaches are here to not just win but build kids into men.
I agree the offense is not good. This is Drinks first year and hopefully things will open up a little next year. If D has his thumb to much on offense and that’s the problem then something needs to be done but another year is warranted.
You also have to look at who can we get that’s better. Coaches don’t want to go to a place where the fan base is whining after 2 years of bowl games and having a few bad breaks from being 3 and still could be.
Our fans need to relax…support the kids and staff and see what happens. I think he’s building something and we will see if he can push it over the top and if he cant..then you make the move and hope and pray that the grass is greener on the other side. Usually it’s not.
In the meantime show the players and hopeful recruits that we are a positive fan base and not the negative one that everyone talks about.
Just my two cents.
Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments or on the Twitter.
One of the most commonly used arguments in the ‘Keep Dave Doeren’ conversation is the thought that he’s elevated NC State recruiting to the next level. There are two reasons for this:
Dustin and I have fallen into this trap as well but a loyal listener, would rather remain anonymous tried to set the record straight as he had some spare time in the hunting stand. NC State fans are the best.
The following is from Mr. Deer Blind Pack Fan:
So I was sitting in my deer blind today, stewing over the football season, and I started thinking about all of the narratives surrounding DD and his tenure at NC State. One narrative I wanted to investigate, was the narrative that DD is a good recruiter.
So I made this spreadsheet using data from Rivals.com. I looked at DD, TOB, and CTC and their recruiting rankings. I ordered the data based on their coaching year, with “T” being the transitional year where they were hired and they had to throw a recruiting class together over a month, and “Year 1” being their first full recruiting class. I looked at the number of 4/5 star recruits signed, and the class rankings relative to college football and the ACC.
You will see that DD and TOB had very similar recruiting success during their first 3 full recruiting classes (years 1-3) after their transitional classes. TOB’s recruiting fell off in years 4 and 5, and it looks like DD’s year 4 class might face a similar fate now that he can no longer sell immediate playing time, his record at NIU, or other recruiting pitches that work early on. Also, Chuck the Chest (CTC) lost his recruiting touch in his final years as well, especially in relation to other ACC recruiting classes.
I enrolled in Fall 1998 at NC State. You know how many football wins we had that year? Seven. We also beat No. 2 Florida State AND No. 11 Syracuse. Mike Fucking O’Cain won seven games and beat two top 15 ranked opponents.
Since then year, we have spent over $100,000,000.00 upgrading Carter Finley’s football facilities. We built an indoor practice facility. We are setting season ticket sales records. We are paying our football coaching staff well over 3 million dollars per year. Yet, with all that effort, we will win fewer games in 2016 than we did in 1998 when Mike O’Cain was our coach.
Given all the effort to elevate our program, following statistics are unacceptable under DD:
Thank you for your time. I enjoy your show. I’m out.
Here’s his attached spreadsheet
easy to read graphs:
More to come soon….
This was a tough one.
James Curle joins Dustin and Evan to play devil’s advocate. Evan pleas to Debbie Yow to clarify her plans. And Dustin loves on Les Miles a little bit more.
Dan Wolken from The Football Four podcast has been watching the NC State job before the BC loss. We asked him a question about who would fit at NC State. Here’s what he said: (2 minute listen)[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/291019804″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]