If Dave Doeren was looking for a good sign for the upcoming football season, the Wolfpack coach got one on Saturday.
The ark appropriate rains that deluged Raleigh in the early afternoon didn't fall until after the Wolfpack completed its first practice in the morning.
“I was glad the rain held off and the guys were able to get out there and do some things,” Doeren said.
The young roster, including 51 redshirt and true freshmen, got back to work with the usual first-day verve. There was loud music at the start of the 21/2 hour workout and equal parts adrenaline and enthusiasm.
“There was a lot of energy and we just got after it,” senior tackle Rob Crisp said.
Junior quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who takes over the offense after sitting out last season as a transfer from Florida, said there's already a difference for the returning players in the second season under Doeren.
“We're not spending as much time lining up or learning the routes,” Brissett said.
Doeren, who went 3-9 in his first season, said he was pleased with the carry-over of knowledge from the spring and summer workouts. He also said the program's depth is starting to improve.
More talent means more competition, after injuries short-circuited any realistic shot at success in 2013, Doeren's looking forward to more options this season.
“We have some serious competitions at various positions,” Doeren said. “I want to see how guys handle a good practice and a bad practice and how they bounce back.”
Brissett looked sharp on deep routes but also had one pass in a drill picked off by safety Josh Jones.
Corner Juston Burris also had a quick interception off of backup quarterback Garrett Leatham that had the defense jumping with pride.
At times, there was a little too much energy at the cost of focus. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada reminded his quarterbacks, “the details matter.”
After a difficult season in 2013, Doeren wants to see his second team mind the details and make progress.
Execution, he said, is what he wants to see during the next 27 days before the Aug. 30 season-opener with Georgia Southern.
The team will be in shorts for the first two days of practice and won't be in full pads until the fifth practice. Doeren said there will be two scrimmages with full contact before the opener, which will likely help in slotting the depth chart.
But there's time for that. Doeren was just taking the temperature of his new troops on Saturday.
“You kind of just want to see where you're at,” Doeren said. “You want to see how far away you are. Do they know what they are doing?”
Brissett, who spent last season on the scout team, is eager to get back into a real game. Just the start of practice was a welcome milestone. But Brissett said the work has just begun and the team needs to “keep building each day.”
“It's not necessarily about me, it's about the team,” he said. “We have to be ready to go on Aug. 30.”
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