RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – N.C. State football fans can be tough to please.
No fan base in the Triangle is more passionate about their team than Pack fans and at times that passion can boil over in a negative way.
N.C. State head football coach Dave Doeren has been on both sides of the emotion.
Just one year after feeling the heat for a 4-8 campaign, Doeren is being praised for what his team has accomplished this season.
Is this Doeren’s best coaching job at N.C. State?
There are many who feel that it is.
“I think it’s interesting that people feel that way,” said Doeren. “At the end of the year, I’ll sit back like I do every year and really evaluate what I did.”
With a win on Saturday against Georgia Tech, the Pack will have doubled its win total from a year ago and secured a 7th ACC victory.
No Wolfpack squad has ever won that many league games in a season.
“Well it’s been a special year,” Doeren admitted. “Our players and assistant coaches have all done a great job. I’m not one to take credit for things like that, I’m just thankful and feel blessed we’re in the situation we are.”
If Doeren isn’t one to take credit for what he’s done, his players are quick to note what their head coach has meant to the N.C. State program.
“He’s always trying to adapt and change his offseason approach to give us the best opportunity to win,” said senior lineman Joe Sculthorpe.
This past offseason that included having military personnel talk with the team about the importance of leadership.
“He brought in guys that gave us offseason leadership that brought us together as a team,” said Sculthorpe.
Few would argue that this team has played beyond preseason expectations. Many felt the Pack would finish with as many wins as losses. Instead, they’ve been a pleasant surprise.
“I think coach Doeren has played a huge part in kind of bringing the team together and developing us,” admitted senior tight end Cary Angeline.
“It’s not like we have a ton of new guys this year than versus last year. It’s kind of been good to see the development of the program and coach Doeren bringing us all together to have a better year this year.”
In a challenging year when some high profile programs have struggled to overcome adversity, N.C. State has thrived.
It’s a testament to Doeren and the program he runs.
“We lost a lot of good players,” said Doeren of the player turnover from last season. “We’ve been through a lot as a program and go from one ACC win to whatever we end up, six times as many wins or seven times whatever that is. That’s pretty damn good.”