Jekyll and Hyde-type Sendek similarities appearing to Wolfpack nation with Doeren

Editor’s Note: Bob Sutton of the Times-News in Burlington broke the news on Monday, December 2 that N.C. State Co-Defensive Coordinator Dave Huxtable had parted ways with Coach Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack football program.

BY DON BEANE, News + Record Staff
Posted 12/6/19

As the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard clock on Saturday night inside Carter-Finley Stadium what was left of the North Carolina State Wolfpack fans were in shock.

Or were they?

I say …

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Jekyll and Hyde-type Sendek similarities appearing to Wolfpack nation with Doeren

Editor’s Note: Bob Sutton of the Times-News in Burlington broke the news on Monday, December 2 that N.C. State Co-Defensive Coordinator Dave Huxtable had parted ways with Coach Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack football program.

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing to the News + Record – you can do so by clicking here.

Posted

As the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard clock on Saturday night inside Carter-Finley Stadium what was left of the North Carolina State Wolfpack fans were in shock.

Or were they?

I say that tongue and cheek because most weren’t despite leading arch-rival UNC 10-6 at the half. State fans, who showed up in the cold and rainy conditions to support their beloved team, wanted to believe.

But there really wasn’t any reason to do so as the atmosphere had a distinct Herb Sendek vibe to it.

The Tar Heels roared back with 35 unanswered points in the second half to take a convincing 41-10 triumph back to Chapel Hill while also earning a bowl berth with a 6-6 record.

The excitement was high for the Carolina blue faithful and its program under the first-year return of future Hall-of-Fame coach Mack Brown, while the Wolfpack fans were left feeling, well, like Sendek had returned on the N.C. State sidelines, albeit in the form of Dave Doeren as a football coach.

For N.C. State fans, the similarities are uncanny. Both came from the MAC, both are very dry personality-wise and are about as exciting as watching someone dust furniture, and both have been winners of a few good recruits and games at N.C. State, just enough to get the Wolfpack faithful to feel hopeful, but only to be let down. in the end.

I can honestly say there are no fans that care more about their athletic programs than Wolfpack fans. Are there other fans that are as passionate and diehard? Of course, all over the nation. But none are moreso than those at N.C. State, and perhaps at times, it’s not such a good thing with the agony they are left to endure at times.

While watching the game the other night, the comparisons of Doeren and Sendek swirled through my head. Sendek, who took his team to five straight NCAA tournaments in the final half of his 10 seasons at the helm of the Wolfpack basketball program, while also winning ACC Coach of the Year in 2003-2004, won some big games. But certainly nothing consistent over the Big Blue Two — UNC and Duke, which isn’t exactly an easy thing to do admittedly, nor any ACC regular season or tournament championships.

Moreover it was the disappointing losses to inferior teams that would make Wolfpack fans want to pull their hair out at times as the cerebral head man Sendek eventually compiled just a 191-132 (59 percent) record.

Doeren, well he’s seems determined to outdo the mediocrity of Sendek. To me his success has been smoke and mirrors with some definite good luck.

In seven seasons, Doeren is 40-46 overall (53 percent), 21-35 (38 percent) in the ACC, and 1-12 (7 percent) against ranked opponents.

Now I will give Doeren his dues, he has a 3-2 record in bowl games, but basically was blown out by the two name opponents in Mississippi State (51-28) and Texas A&M (52-13).

Doeren also was 9-4 in the two previous seasons before the 4-8 debacle this season.

So what happened in 2019 for things to go southward so fast. Well I feel it’s two major things in the lack of a quarterback and the coordinator decisions.

Doeren had a bit of luck when Jacoby Brissett transferred in as QB from Florida, then Ryan Finley transferred in later when Eli Drinkwitz came in as Offensive Coordinator from Boise State. This gave the Wolfpack the opportunity to win 10 games on two occasions only to see excruciating losses to Wake Forest among others to prevent that from happening.

Of course Doeren deserves credit for hiring Drinkwitz, who is an up and coming star which can be seen at Appalachian State right now and its success under the first year young coach. It was Drinkwitz who actually saved the job for Doeren in my opinion.

When Drinkwitz left, Doeren made a fatal mistake in good ol’ boying it and giving the Offensive Coordinator job to Dez Kitchings, a great position coach and recruiter, but also someone with no experience in coordinating an offense, and George McDonald, who had a pair of one-year stints as Offensive Coordinator at Western Michigan and Syracuse, and who played at Doeren’s previous coaching gig, Northern Illinois.

And with two inexperienced OC’s and no experience at the quarterback position, a recipe for disaster was laid, especially when the defense relied once again on Defensive Coordinator Dave Huxtable. Huxtable has drawn the ire of Wolfpack fans wide and far for years, and for good reason.

I will give Doeren credit, he did bring in Tony Gibson from West Virginia to help as the Co-Offensive Coordinator to add some new wrinkles. But in the end it certainly was Huxtable’s defense to call.

So what’s next for Doeren? Does he make some tough decisions coordinator wise, or continue on the course of this past season and attribute the shortcomings to youth and inexperience? To say the Wolfpack program under Doeren is at a crossroads, especially given the return of Mack Brown to UNC, and the recent jobs done by Dave Clawson at Wake Forest and David Cutcliffe at Duke.

Even Sendek had only one losing record in 10 seasons at N.C. State, and Doeren is already at two — and counting.

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