Friday Q&A: January 9, 2015

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1: What ACC game do you want to be the Thursday night game next year?

Chris Coleman: I hadn’t thought that far ahead, but that’s a great question. Tech’s four home ACC opponents next year are: Duke, UNC, NC State and Pitt. There are two good options there, I think.

Fortunately the Pitt game is in Blacksburg this year, and not Heinz Field. That said, I don’t want to waste a Thursday night game against the Panthers. I’ve got a lot of respect for what David Cutcliffe has done at Duke, but I’d rather play them on a regular Saturday as well. That leaves two choices: UNC and NC State.

NC State head coach Dave Doeren went 3-9 and 0-8 in the ACC in his first season in 2013. In 2014, the Wolfpack improved to 8-5 overall, with a 3-5 mark in ACC play, and they also won their bowl game against UCF in impressive style. The Hokies haven’t played NC State since that exciting 2010 comeback in Raleigh.

Doeren is busy improving NC State’s recruiting, and he and his staff have managed to keep some very impressive defensive recruits in-state since his arrival in Raleigh. The Wolfpack return almost their entire defense intact, and they should be improved on the offensive side of the ball next year as well. I think they’re going to be a pretty good team, and they should be an attractive matchup for a Thursday night contest.

UNC is the other option. Of UNC’s top 30 offensive players, only two were seniors in 2014, and they were both tight ends. The Tar Heel offense will be loaded in 2015 behind senior quarterback Marquise Williams. That would be a great matchup against a very experienced and talented Bud Foster defense.

On the defensive side of the ball, UNC just hired former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik as defensive coordinator. He should improve the Heels defensively, and he should also make them even more potent on the recruiting