RALEIGH Dave Doeren hasnt said much about North Carolina since he was hired as N.C. States football coach. Thats by design.
There is no countdown to the game or triple play zingers from Doeren.
I dont talk about it, he said of the Tar Heels, who will visit Raleigh on Nov. 2.
Doeren said theres a reason for ignoring UNC and its not an issue of legitimizing them, as Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora said of the rivalry last year before his first game, an epic 43-35 win at Kenan Stadium.
The week of the game, theyre our mortal enemy, Doeren said. Right now, we need to get better and we need to worry about us and we need to beat Louisiana Tech. Thats where our focus will be.
That doesnt mean Doeren isnt aware of the rivalry.
Your job should be to always try to be better than them because they are our rival, but we dont need to talk about that game, he said.
He said his stance on rivalry games goes back to advice he got from former Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak on how to approach the rivalry with Toledo.
Dont make it as big of a deal as it is because the kids already hate them, Novak told Doeren.
The day-by-day approach worked for Doeren at Northern Illinois; he went 2-0 against the Rockets. Joe Giglio
UNCs Lipford back after recovering from injury
CHAPEL HILL There were plenty of times last season when Darius Lipford stood on the sideline and wondered how he might have been able to help the defense, which often struggled.
Sitting on the sideline during the games was really rough for me, Lipford said. Because I saw a lot of situations where I knew my athleticism could have helped.
Instead, Lipford spent time recovering from a knee injury he suffered last summer which followed the torn ACL he suffered in UNCs loss against Missouri in the 2011 Independence Bowl.
Lipford, a junior, is back now. After finishing the 2011 season with 42 tackles, he likely would have entered last season as a starter. The odds are against that now.
Working my way up the depth chart is definitely going to take some time, Lipford said this week. But its more of getting guys to trust me, knowing that I know the plays I know that Im going to do the right thing.
Lipford, a former strong-side linebacker, is continuing to learn the Bandit the hybrid defensive end/linebacker position in UNCs 4-2-5 defense. Its similar, he said, to a role he played in high school.
The most difficult part of his return? Lipford said its the speed of practice.
When last he went through a preseason practice, it was against a far-slower, pro-style offense. Now its against an up-tempo spread. Andrew Carter
Dukes Cutcliffe mixes things up, keeps practice fresh
DURHAM Over his 31-year coaching career, Dukes David Cutcliffe has come up with basic principles and strategies to run his program.
He isnt afraid, though, to try new supplementary methods and approaches.
You just dont let things be, Cutcliffe said. Ive never been that way, whether its lining up and how you play football, how you train, how you study as coaches.
Last year, the Blue Devils tried split-squad practices at the beginning of camp, with the players on the two-deep depth chart going in the first session, everyone running together through kicking drills, and then the reserves and freshmen working in the final group.
Cutcliffe decided to follow the same schedule this year, splitting practices starting Tuesday and through Saturday this week.
We have really gotten a ton of reps and better opportunity to evaluate some of our young people, Cutcliffe said. Nobody can run and hide, because theyre getting reps. Theyre getting a full practice of reps. Theyre getting all that individual work.
So the coaches, hats off to them, theyve got a lot of film to watch, and theyre coaching hard through basically two different practices.
Cutcliffe singled out the young receivers and defensive backs Wednesday, and two names keep popping up when the players are asked about young standouts: wide receiver Johnell Barnes and cornerback Breon Borders. Both true freshmen could earn significant playing time this fall.
Youre seeing who can threaten to become a 2 or who can threaten to become a 1 if youre out there with your 2s and your 1s, Cutcliffe said. What it has done is create a lot of competition, and thats what you hope to have. Laura Keeley