NC State

Q&A with new NC State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz

Eliah Drinkwitz stands with his team during Boise State's game against Idaho State on September 18, 2015.
Eliah Drinkwitz stands with his team during Boise State's game against Idaho State on September 18, 2015. Boise State Photo Services

How did Eliah Drinkwitz end up at N.C. State? What’s his philosophy for play-calling? How did he get the most out of a first-year starter at quarterback at Boise State?

A quick Q&A with the Wolfpack’s new 32-year-old offensive coordinator, who was hired on Monday after two seasons at Boise State:

Q: What caught your attention about the N.C. State job?

A: “I think just the chance to work for a coach like (Dave) Doeren and an athletic director like Debbie Yow, who both have established themselves as knowing how to run a successful program.

“I was impressed with Dave’s vision for us moving forward. That was attractive to me. He’s adamant about us being competitive and winning. I believe in his vision for us to do something that hasn’t been done in a long time here.”

Q: By “something that hasn’t been done in a long time” do you mean winning an ACC title?

A: “Yeah, that’s the goal, there’s a lot of other mini-goals to get there but that’s what you ultimately want to play for.”

(Note: N.C. State’s last ACC title was in 1979)

Q: You have not previously worked with coach Doeren, how did you two connect?

A: “I didn’t know him before our first conversation on the phone. He watched our NIU game and was impressed and did some more research and it kind of went from there.”

(Note: Boise State beat Northern Illinois 55-7 in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23. Doeren was the head coach at NIU in 2011 and ’12.).

Q: What’s your approach to play-calling and what did you think worked this year for you at Boise?

A: “No. 1: Control the tempo of the game. We want to be able to go fast if we need to but be able to take the air out of the ball if we have to.

“No. 2: Attack the defense. We’re going to have a downhill-run game and we want to the throw the ball vertically down the field.

“There will be some unique formations and there’s some tricks or specials in there but really it always comes down to execution.”

(Note: Boise State ranked No. 15 in the country in scoring and total offense.)

Q: Would you say Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was your biggest influence?

A: “Any time you work for somebody like (coach Malzahn), it’s a great opportunity but I had a great relationship with coach (Bryan) Harsin and learned a lot from him about being a play-caller. He gave me a great opportunity at both (Arkansas State and Boise State).

“So really, I learned a lot from those two and try to blend those styles.”

(Note: Drinkwitz got his first college job at Auburn as a graduate assistant with Malzahn in 2010, then worked for Malzahn and Harsin at Arkansas State and followed Harsin to Boise State in 2014).

Q: What did you learn this season about being a play-caller?

A: “It’s always a challenge to get a first down. Doesn’t matter where you are – Boise, Arkansas State or Auburn.”

Q: What did you learn about coaching a first-time starter at quarterback this season?

A: “We had a great quarterback competition in camp and we had four guys compete for the position. We determined the starter and he got injured and then we had to break in a true freshman.

“Experience is the best teacher. You learn what they can handle and what they can’t but it’s all about preparation and ‘want to.’ ”

(Note: Freshman Brett Rypien started the last 10 games and threw for 3,353 yards and was an all-conference pick).

Q: What do you know about your new quarterbacks at N.C. State?

A: “I’ve already spoken to them. I know they’re eager and ready and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio

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