March 6, 2013

Doeren knows team needs new Pack mentality


MORE: The King returns to Texas Tech

Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

The task to carry N.C. State to the next level belongs to
Dave Doeren.

Doeren accepted the assignment on Dec. 1 after Tom O'Brien was fired on Nov. 25. O'Brien was hired to push the program forward, but he was 40-35 in six seasons and just 11-19 against ACC Atlantic Division opponents, including 1-14 on the road. The program has finished better than fourth in its division just three times since 1995.

Doeren was 23-4 in his two seasons at Northern Illinois and took the program to a MAC-first BCS game. The 41-year-old said the challenge that faces him is to figure out what he has before he can go about filling in around it.

"We didn't recruit what we have here; you can't just pop in tape of a few games and really know the players," Doeren said. "Similarly, until you really start to see what you do have, you cannot recruit to improve yourself.

"The process has been hurry up and wait, honestly. We had to hit the ground running in recruiting to fill the last class, and now that signing day is behind us, we need to identify what we want and what we need going forward."

According to Matt Carter of TheWolfPacker.com, the forward-thinking, aggressive recruiting approach is one of the reasons athletic director Debbie Yow made the change.

"O'Brien really was not her type of coach," Carter said. "The move was not really a surprise. Debbie puts a major emphasis on recruiting, and she believes in a different type of approach than Coach O'Brien did.

"She wants someone to be proactive. She wants a go-getter and someone who will be energetic and really hit it hard on the recruiting trail. She wants what Mark Gottfried is to basketball for this football program."

The N.C. State program has had a hard time in recruiting of late.

The program finished the class of 2013 No. 47 in the Rivals.com team rankings. That was No. 8 in the ACC.

Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said that if Doeren can make a push within the state it will go a long way toward a turnaround for the program.

"(O'Brien) rebuilt a lot of bridges that (former head coach Chuck) Amato had burned in the state, but he was never able to take the next step," Farrell said. "He was never able to be consistent in the recruiting efforts."

N.C. State has not signed a player who finished in the top 10 of the final state rankings in the past three classes. The program has signed only six players who were evaluated as top 10 players in the past six classes combined.

[RELATED: Berrios intrigued by new Wolfpack staff]

Doeren admits that it is a problem -- although he will not point fingers.

"There are very few job openings where there isn't some sort of issue," he said. "I am sure every new coach can walk into a job and list some things that he felt the other guys did wrong. But I am not going to air any of that publicly because I have a lot of respect for the guys who had this position before me. We have a lot of work to do with recruiting, and like every job that starts with educating the kids on what we do have on campus.

"We have to express and highlight our positives and then get the kids onto the campus. Recruiting is starting earlier and earlier, and we need to be proactive. We have to be out in our backyard with younger kids, and we have to get in with their head coaches."

Doeren believes that the quickest way to start having prospects steered toward his program is to open the gates and welcome more coaches to have ownership in the product.

"We have to get in and have those high school coaches know who we are and how we recruit," Doeren said. "We have to show them things about N.C. State that they may not have otherwise known.

"We cannot have high school coaches having anything negative to say about us and our program because oftentimes those guys have a tremendous relationship and influence with the players. We are making a real effort to make real connections with those guys."

The staff has been active in its attempt to keep kids in state.

There are 24 uncommitted players from North Carolina who hold offers from the Wolfpack.

Farrell said N.C. State may be a sleeping giant.

"If any school in that area can really take it up a notch, it is N.C. State," he said. "They have nice facilities, they have a good fan base, and while they have a good basketball program, it will not get top billing like at North Carolina or Duke."

Doeren hopes he can lay out a philosophy similar to the one he learned during his four years as an assistant at Wisconsin.

"We are pushing our vision of 'One Pack, One Goal'," he said. "It is all about taking ownership of this program and state pride. At Wisconsin, there was a lot of pride about being there from kids inside the state and about getting Wisconsin to a Rose Bowl. We need that here.

"If we are going to go to the next level, we need that here."



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