Analyzing the staff turnover at N.C. State

Following N.C. State’s 51-28 loss to Belk Bowl in Charlotte, arguably the Wolfpack’s least competitive effort of the year, Wolfpack third-year head coach Dave Doeren was asked after the game how he would go about evaluating the defense in the offseason.

Doeren pivoted, somewhat, to a broader answer about the program as a whole. He detailed how they will look over every play from the season, chart them and find common denominators to what went wrong or right.

“You have to go through every single thing … It is a process whether you are 12-1 or 7-6, you do it,” Doeren further explained. “You just got to be super hard on yourself as a coach. Like I told our staff, it’s not our players’ fault first, it’s ours. We always look at ourselves first. What can we do to help them be the best them, then at some point they got to make a play when you get them there. That’s the next thing that we talk about.

“As a coach I’ve always felt like anything that happens on the field is me first and foremost as the head coach and then down to my coordinators down to my assistants and then to my players and all of us together.”

In hindsight, Doeren was dropping his first hint that he was going to make some tough decisions about his staff. The first shoe to fall was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada being relieved, surprisingly, late Saturday evening as many Wolfpack fans were probably already asleep.

Monday afternoon, NCSU officially announced that strength and conditioning coordinator Jason Veltkamp was not being retained. In his place, the Pack was promoting Veltkamp’s top assistant and beloved former Wolfpack linebacker Dantonio “Thunder Dan” Burnette.

Veltkamp’s dismissal was another surprising development after Doeren credited his staff after the Pack’s 8-5 season in 2014. But even after a feel-good year like that one was for NCSU, Doeren was not afraid to make tough choices. He let go of receivers coach Frisman Jackson and brought in George McDonald in an effort to increase production at that position.

At first glance, Burnette’s promotion has proven popular among players, and a change in the weight-room routine is not always a bad thing.

The questions now becomes are there more shoes to drop, and what’s next for the Pack. Doeren still has to find an offensive coordinator and presumably an offensive line coach if reports that Mike Uremovich is leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Northern Illinois prove true.