RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s a dilemma every coach faces — how much do we tackle during preseason camp.

“We did go live more than we’re used to,” admitted Duke first-year head coach Mike Elko. “A lot of people get scared tackling one on one during training camp.”

And that’s why some coaches limit how much they practice taking players to the ground.

N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren avoided it during camp and unfortunately for his Wolfpack, that lack of live tackling showed, rearing its ugly head on Saturday at East Carolina.

“I take the blame for that, we didn’t tackle enough in training camp obviously,” said Doeren. “We were trying to get to the first game healthy and that was a success.”

But it came at a cost.

Doeren said a year ago the Wolfpack was in the top five nationally for fewest missed tackles. Against the Pirates, he said he said he’s never seen his team miss so many tackles.

And the Wolfpack was not alone. UNC-Chapel Hill had a tough day tackling as well on Saturday.

“We work on tackling every day,” said UNC head coach Mack Brown. “I’ve never seen a team work harder on it and we missed more tackles probably because we got tired in the fourth quarter.”

But that’s when teams should rely on their fundamentals and if your squad is not physically tackling, it makes it tough to master one of the basic elements of football.

“To get better at football you have to play football,” said Elko when asked why his team worked so hard at tackling leading up to the season. “But you would certainly kick yourself if you lost one of your better players during training camp. So it’s a balance you’re always working for sure.”

Dave Doeren couldn’t agree more.

“You guys know how many players I’ve had hurt in the last couple of years,” Doeren recounted. “So we were very cautious and probably too cautious.