RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- NC State football was back at practice Monday after an eight-day break because of a novel coronavirus cluster that showed up on the team.
Now, 17 days removed from the Wolfpack's season opener, the only thing head coach Dave Doeren knows is that he can't see around the corner.
"I've never been anywhere where you're planning practices by the minute. I mean, we're usually weeks out with what we want to do on the field," he said.
There's nothing a college football coach craves more than control. COVID-19 has entirely pulled that rug out from under the Pack's head man.
"The only thing you do control is the fact that you don't know what's going to happen every day," Doeren said. "I know we've challenged each other as coaches in our building and challenged our leadership council. I think the team that handles change the best has got an upper hand right now."
At times this fall, Doeren has literally had only half his roster available for practice because of contact tracing. Thirty-three players living in one dorm hit them hard, not because they were all positive. Rather that they had come in contact with those who were.
"The game and the practice hasn't been the issue," Doeren said. "It's been what happens in a roommate scenario or in a dining scenario or in a car ride scenario that is getting a lot of the contact-tracing positives."
These are the conditions of course that every program is working under. Mix in the social unrest and everyone's hands have been full.
"I'm very sensitive to their pain," Doeren said. "And so, I let them talk to me about those things. We have great conversations. I have talked to them about focusing on the positive things that they're doing. I think at times we get caught up in some of the negativity that's out there and lose sight of the positive things that we are doing. I know that Isaiah (Moore) and Pack United, the guys on our team have done a lot of really good things."
On a much lighter note, even Doeren had to laugh when news came out Tuesday that the Pack would be opening in primetime versus rival Wake Forest.
"Yeah that made me chuckle," Doeren said. "You know, we usually have a noon game to start the season and everyone goes crazy about it, and now we have an eight o'clock game and no one can be there. That's OK. I know our players are excited to have that opportunity."
NC State resumes football practice after 8-day coronavirus break