Dave Doeren has a track record (albeit a short one) of being a winner. In two seasons as head coach of the Northern Illinois Huskies, Doeren went 23-4 overall and 17-1 against the MAC. He won back-to-back conference titles and won a school-record 12 games in 2012 and earned the Huskies the first BCS berth for a MAC team in history. Now he has moved on to a new job, so can Doeren bring his winning ways to the NC State Wolfpack in 2013?
He takes over an NC State team that finished 2012 7-6 and a distant third in the ACC Atlantic Division. Former coach Tom O’Brien enjoyed modest success with the Wolfpack, winning 24 games over the last three seasons and going to four bowl games in his six seasons. However, the school became tired of not competing for conference championships, as O’Brien finished no higher than second in the division one time and finished the season ranked in the top 25 just one time.
The edict from the university is clear: being middle of the road in the ACC is no longer acceptable. Doeren has proven himself a winner and has brought a renewed energy to the football program heading into the 2013 season. He’ll be asked to work his magic to turn things around in a hurry in Raleigh to make the Wolfpack a legitimate contender in the ACC.
But that may be a task too tall to tackle next fall. The Wolfpack have a lot of turnover to do on their roster following a rash of graduations, most noticeably at quarterback with the departure of Mike Glennon. The big-armed signal caller wasn’t always the most popular quarterback with NC State fans, but his talents will be sorely missed next season as Doeren chooses between sophomore Manny Stocker, who hasn’t taken a single collegiate snap, or senior Pete Thomas, a former transfer from the Colorado State Rams.
Neither option fills onlookers with a great deal of confidence about their ability to handle the ACC next season, and they will only be the most visible of a long list of new faces in key places. The secondary and offensive line will need to find young players to step up and the entire team will be learning new offensive and defensive systems following the staff overhaul.
Doeren is an excellent coach who can build a winning program, but the overhaul may be too much to handle to get the Wolfpack over the top in 2013.