Here are some highlights from Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren's weekly press conference on Monday, starting with a look back at last week's win against Western Carolina.
"I thought our guys were physical. I really liked how they attacked the line of scrimmage and I felt like we took care of business in areas we really emphasized -- not turning the football over, defense tackled well, had seven three-and-outs and did a lot of things well. I think they didn't cross the 50-yard-line. I just think the way they're playing, the amount of kids we're getting into the game, the passion they're playing with, the effort they're playing with, that's fun to watch, fun to coach."
"I didn't think we started particularly well on offense with the three-and-out. That was disappointing, but we responded. As the game went on, I thought once we settled down a little at quarterback and got the run game going, that two-minute drive before the half I thought was really good by Matt. There were some good schemes there the coaches put together to get that drive going. So a lot of positives."
"Areas we felt like we wanted to get better at, we did."
Doeren then shifted his attention ahead to this week's game at West Virginia ...
"It's a storied program we know a lot about, studying them a year ago and not getting to play them. I feel like we know their roster pretty well. Obviously (they have) a new staff, but another thing we know having played Troy a few years ago, we have a lot of respect for Neal (Brown) and his staff."
"Looking forward to taking this team on the road and a chance to see how we can handle crowd noise with our offense, which will be a big factor for us. Playing good defense, playing good special teams, controlling the line of scrimmage ... all those type of things help in that type of environment."
Doeren was asked about quarterback Matt McKay's difficulty in completing downfield passes. Although he said it's an area that needs improvement, he's not concerned ...
"We went through it with Jacoby (Brissett) in his first year. He struggled throwing down the field accurately. Ryan (Finley) will tell you that his biggest improvements were in down-the-field accuracy over the course of his career."
"Practice is different than a game sometimes with how juiced up they go, letting the ball go a little too far. You saw that on one of the plays to Thayer (Thomas). But (McKay) has thrown some great deep balls. He hit a wide open guy and sometimes a wide open guy is harder to hit than a covered guy, when he hit Cary (Angeline) down the sideline. He's done a really good job on some of his passes that are coming off our play action game. But just the consistency of letting our guys have a chance to make the play like he did with Devin Carter. I thought that was a really good throw on that skinny post. But early in the game he threw a fade ball to Emeka (Emezie) and he ball was out of bounds, don't even give him a chance to make a play. We're just working on things and that will come. The good thing is it hasn't been bad in practice. We just have to get it to carry over to the game."
Doeren was asked about what he expects from the atmosphere at West Virginia ...
"From what I've heard, it's a great game day. their fans get into it and support their university. They have a lot of fun, are very vocal and are similar to what you hear about coming to play at Carter-Finley. It's going to be a great environment. I'm excited for that.
On the similarities between State and West Virginia. despite their differing early results ...
"They've been a successful football team. The last three years they've been really good and they lost a lot of talent to the NFL, then they lost their coaching staff. So they're a young roster, an inexperienced roster, but a team that's used to winning. I think we're very similar to that. They're still trying to feel their way out. I know having been in a first year twice now, it takes some time as a coaching staff and a locker room to figure out what it is. It doesn't their a bad football team. They're not. They're got good players, they're fast, their DBs will hit you, they're aggressive. ... We expect a really good football team."
Doeren was asked what he likes best about the way his defense has started the season ...
"I think we're playing fast. You see some things like a guy will be out of his gap or a guy will get blocked and then you're seeing guys cover up for it quicker. There's more overlap in the scheme. We have a few more answers in coverage when things aren't the way you like them to be and it doesn't sacrifice you ability to stop the run."
"I just think there's a lot more variety to it. It's allowed us to get a lot more people involved schematically just because of what we're doing in the back end. So far, so good. But we haven't played the big heavy set offensive tests yet and that's a test as we get into not only this game, but what's down the road with conference play."