Week 2: Wake Forest

Wake Forest (0-1) is a young team with plenty of skill position talent and experience on defense. Pack Pride previews the Demon Deacons.

Wake Forest Depth Chart


Quotables: Jim Grobe

Opening Statement:
We, of course, lost a really tough one up at Syracuse this past week. I thought that our kids played really, really hard. I think Syracuse is a good football team, and we just made too many mistakes to win on the road in the opener.

What has to improve from week one to week two for you guys?
Well, all the things that I thought were going to be a problem, it turned out to be. We've got to be better in the kicking game. I thought that was really glaring. We missed an extra point and a 34-yard field goal that we had two opportunities to kick. You just can't do that. And then I thought we had too many penalties. I think we had ten penalties in the game, and two of them were in the fourth quarter that were really big, big holding calls against us.

Those were issues that I thought we could have in the first game. When you play the first game, you know you're going to have some issues with kicking game, some issues with penalties, and we didn't have the issues with turnovers that I was worried about. But I think early games, first games, especially playing good teams, those are the issues, and those were problems for us on Thursday night.

How concerned or not are you about your pass defense against the Wolfpack?
Well, I'm very concerned. I think their quarterback hit a high percentage of throws in his first start and showed a lot of composure, and I thought the receiving crowd, the guys they've got at receiver, they have a quality group of running backs. They have a lot of people to get the football to. But it's a team that also runs the ball well. I think it's important that we play good pass defense, but we'd better do a good job against the running game. They've got a good, balanced offense.

How tough was it for you guys to let that one go, not just the players but the coaching staff, as well? I would imagine that was a pretty tough loss, as well.
Yeah, it was really tough because with about 11 minutes to go we had a 15-point lead and didn't close it out. I was really disappointed in the way our team responded when Tanner Price got hurt. I think Ted Stachitas is a very capable quarterback, and I just thought our team responded really poorly. You could tell that there was a little bit of a letdown in our guys when Tanner came out. And I think it probably encouraged the Syracuse team a little bit because he was having a pretty good day against them.

But that just can't happen. We've got to respond better than that. I just really was disappointed with the way we played down the stretch. I don't think we lost anything from conditioning-type thing. I thought both teams were having some issues. It was really hot, and both teams were having some players with cramping and whatnot, but I just thought that our intensity level really went down after Tanner's injury, and that just can't happen. You've got to play four quarters of football.

How concerned are you, if at all, about the players letting that one beat them twice?
Well, it's always a possibility. I worry much more about a really quality NC State team than I do about our psyche. I think we're a team that has a little bit of talent.

We're still asking a lot of young guys to contribute for us. But we're better than they were last year. I think Syracuse is a pretty good football team, and opening on the road is always a problem. That's where all your mistakes are exaggerated, when you're on the road in the opener against a good football team.

But I think more than our mental state, I just know we've got a really good team coming to town, and we're going to have to play better and play for four quarters, not just play three and a half quarters or a little over three quarters of pretty good football and think that's enough.

You guys have a pretty tough out-of-conference schedule. I'm hoping you could tell me a little bit about how you weigh different things like getting the team ready for the conference and looking maybe for some easier wins versus what you're doing.
Well, I think what's been our way to play non-conference games is we basically go home and home with other teams. Some of the teams that we've gone home and home with are Ole Miss and Nebraska and Stanford, Notre Dame and Syracuse and Connecticut, really good teams that we've gone home and home with, and I think we're not in the position where we can actually go out and buy wins, and I think some programs are a little bit more positioned to do that.

So we're going to try to play as many teams as we possibly can that are really good football teams and have a good academic tradition, that not only play good football but have somewhat similar ideals that we do. But that makes it tough when you've got to play a lot of good, solid football teams in your non-conference schedule and then have to play all the great teams that we play in the ACC. It does make it a lot more challenging, no question.

I know that some schools will play a lighter load, that buy some games, play the money games. Do you hear from fans saying, hey, we've got to scale back?
Actually it's the opposite. I think fans typically want to see big-time teams come to your place. I know our fans are really, really excited that we've got Notre Dame coming to town. And when I first got here, every year is a little bit different, but any year that our home schedule includes a couple teams that your fans don't see as a real challenge -- I think most fans want to see the best teams they possibly can on your home schedule, and I think fans are pretty much universal in that.

I will say that some schools, their fans are a little more football hungry than others and probably wouldn't care who they played as long as they got a win, and I think it probably helps you -- I don't think there's much question about it that early in the year if you can play a couple teams right out of the blocks that you can afford to make a couple of mistakes against and still beat, that's really what you want to be able to do, and some schools are able to structure their schedule that way and some aren't.

Any update on Tanner and how he's looked early in the week? I know you obviously haven't been out there today, but what's the prognosis for Saturday?
He's full speed. He's ready to go. He's really, really good right now. I think we're going to try to be careful with him, but I haven't seen really any problems at all. He actually -- we took Friday off. We just met on Friday after our Thursday night game and then we practiced Saturday, and he did all the stuff we asked him to do Saturday and has had good practices this week. So he's full speed and ready to go. We've not seen really any problems with him, other than he was a little bit sore initially, but now he's got that out and he's running, moving around and doing fine.

What were the things that you liked most about what he did against Syracuse?
Well, he's much more settled. He has a better understanding of the offense certainly, and he showed that against Syracuse. I think he made some quality throws. He missed some easy throws. I think -- it was funny, he had two or three throws that I thought were pretty much threading the needle, really difficult throws that he got in there, and then he had two or three throws that were the kind of throws that you and I could have completed that he missed.

I think he still at times hurries his throws a little bit and doesn't set his feet. But the improvement from last year to this year has been pretty good, and I would anticipate as the season goes on he'll continue that improvement.

I appreciate your confidence in me, being able to make --
Well, that's how open a couple guys were that we missed. I don't know if that's a slam on Tanner as much as it's a confidence builder for you and me.

You guys started with a Thursday night game but you don't have any other games this year that kind of knock you off your routine. I wonder what your theory is, what your feelings are about getting knocked off your routine to play one of those games, and is the exposure worth what it costs you guys?
Well, if you can win, it's okay, and if you don't have a short week -- a lot of teams are able to schedule ahead of time because of television Thursday night games, and they have an open date before that Thursday night game. If you've got the short week, it makes it a lot tougher if you play Saturday and then turn right around and play Thursday night. So I think there's some different scenarios involved.

But I think basically if you can win, that's the key. It's good to have exposure, but it's not good to have exposure and lose a football game. And as coaches we're mostly -- most coaches have a little bit of the old-school mentality; you want to get your kids in a routine and keep them in a routine, and taking them out of the routine usually upsets their mental state a little bit. I think it's hard to focus sometimes if the kids don't know what their schedule is from day-to-day. I think the exposure can be really, really good as long as your kids handle it well, and more importantly, if you win.

How do you handle it when it is knocked out of routine? Do you just kind of toss some stuff that you normally do out, or just kind of cram it into less time?
Well, we've been doing this for quite a while, so we have some different thoughts about it. I think that the danger is you try to throw too much at the kids and you put too much game plan in and you practice too long and you end up with kids, number one, that don't have a good feel for the game plan, and number two, they're tired. So I think trying to find that mix is different for everybody and probably different for every team. I think if you've got a more veteran team, your tendency is to give them more rest and not put in too much game plan. I think if you're a real young football team, sometimes you have a tendency to try to do a little bit too much, and that can get you in trouble.

But I think more than anything else, it's just kind of experience that tells you how to do it.

Miami and Maryland kind of gave up their bye week to play on Monday night when everybody was watching. Is that something you'd be on board with doing?
Well, I think it's really a factor of who you've got the following week. I think that's a problem. If you've got the open date you're okay, but I know last year when Virginia Tech opened on a Monday night, it hurt them that next Saturday against James Madison. So that would be my problem. ESPN wanted us to play on Sunday night with Syracuse, but then I had to turn around on Saturday and play NC State, and I thought that was a little bit too much to ask our kids.

I think if you've got that open date coming up after Monday night, I'm fine with that, and I'm not quite as concerned about the open date. We've got a really early open date, I think after three games, and I'm not sure how much that's going to help. I'd just almost as soon play on Monday night and have the exposure and then have the open that next Saturday.

Wake Forest Game Notes

Wake Forest will make its BB&T Field season debut and open Atlantic Coast Conference play when the Demon Deacons host longtime rival NC State on Saturday afternoon in Winston-Salem. The game is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Carolinas.

The game can also be heard on the Wake Forest Sports Network From IMG College. The Deacons are coming off a heartbreaking 36-29 overtime loss at Syracuse on Thursday, Sept. 1. Wake Forest led by 15 points with 11 minutes remaining in the game, but the Deacons could not maintain the lead after hitting a field goal to go up 29-14 at the 11:02 mark of the fourth quarter. Deacon starting quarterback Tanner Price left the game just before the field goal with a knee injury, which proved to be a momentum changer. Price was 18-of-31 for 289 yards and three touchdowns before leaving.

Chris Givens caught seven passes for a career-high 170 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Campanaro set new career-highs with seven catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Jimmy Newman tied a career high with three field goals, though his miss from 33 yards in the first quarter snapped his school-record streak of 12 consecutive field goals made.

NC State is coming off a 43-21 defeat of FCS foe Liberty last Saturday in Raleigh. The Wolfpack defense forced seven turnovers for the first time since 1983 to tie a school record and returned one for a touchdown. Halfbacks Curtis Underwood and James Washington combined to rush for 181 yards and three touchdowns to pace the offense for NC State.

Syracuse rallied from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to edge Wake Forest 36-29 in overtime in the Sept. 1 season opener at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Demon Deacons led for most of the game, building up a 29-14 advantage on a Jimmy Newman field goal with 11:02 remaining, but an apparent leg injury that forced starting quarterback Tanner Price to leave the game just before the score proved to be a momentum changer.

The Orange scored two touchdowns in a 1:19 span to tie the game at 29-29 with 7:07 to play. It looked like Syracuse might earn the win in regulation, but Kyle Wilber blocked a late 32-yard field goal attempt by Ross Krautman, leaving the game to be decided in overtime.

Syracuse went on offense first in the extra frame and scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Nassib to Vad Chew. Josh Harris picked up two yards on the ground on the Deacons' fi rst offensive play in overtime, but three incompletions by Ted Stachitas ended the game. The Deacons put up 419 yards of offense in the contest, led by Price who completed 18-of-31 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns before being forced to leave the game.

Chris Givens caught seven passes for a career-high 170 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Campanaro set new career highs with seven receptions for 79 yards and his fi rstcareer receiving touchdown.

Josh Harris led the Demon Deacons on the ground, picking up 66 yards on 22 carries. Jimmy Newman tied a career high with three field goals, though his miss from 33 yards in the first quarter snapped his school-record streak of 12 consecutive field goals made.

On the defensive side of the ball, Cyhl Quarles led the Demon Deacons with 10 tackles, tying a career high. Scott Betros set a new personal best with nine tackles.

• The all-time series with Syracuse is now even at 1-1 after the loss.
• The Deacons fall to 27-30 under head coach Jim Grobe in games decided by 7 points or fewer.
• Wake drops to 51-20 when scoring 24 or more points.
• The overtime loss drops the Demon Deacons to 2-7 all-time in overtime games.
• It was Wake's third-straight loss in overtime. Wake last won an overtime game on Nov. 1, 2008 when Alphonso Smith intercepted a pass in the endzone to preserve a 33-30 victory against Duke at BB&T Field.
• Senior Cameron Ford tied a career-high with three receptions.
• Senior Cyhl Quarles tied a career-high with 10 tackles.
• Junior Scott Betros made a career-high nine tackles on the night.

Jimmy Newman extended his school-record streak of made field goals to 13 with a 38-yarder in the first quarter at Syracuse, but the junior placekicker missed his next attempt, a 34-yard try in the second quarter, to end his streak.

Newman also saw another impressive streak come to an end at Syracuse, as he missed an extra point attempt for the first time in 68 tries. His streak of 67 is the second-longest in school history, trailing only Sam Swank's record of 121 consecutive PATs made.

For his career, Newman is 26-of-34 on field goal attempts for a 76.5 percentage, which is tops in school history for any kicker with at least 20 successful attempts.

In three seasons, redshirt senior Kyle Wilber has put his name on several Wake Forest defensive records lists. Wilber has 10 career sacks which is just one sack shy of moving into the top 10 on the school's career sacks list. The record for career sacks at Wake Forest currently belongs to Mike McCrary (1989-92) with 30 sacks.

Wilber also finished the 2010 season with 14.5 tackles for loss, which was 1.5 tackles for loss shy of moving into the top-8 in school-history. McCrary holds the mark for tackles for loss in a season as well with 24 tackles for loss in 1992.

OLB Kyle Wilber collected the fourth blocked kick of his career when he knocked down Syracuse's field goal attempt with 2:07 to play in the game. Wilber also blocked field goal attempts vs. Baylor in 2009 and Boston College in 2010 and an extra point against Presbyterian in the 2010 season opener.

Redshirt-senior wide receiver Chris Givens became the 29th player in school history to compile 1,000 career receiving yards when he had three catches for six yards against Maryland last season. Givens now has a total of 87 receptions and is just 13 catches shy of becoming the 23rd Demon Deacon to eclipse 100 career receptions.

Givens recorded 170 reception yards in the season-opener against Syracuse and became the 18th player in school history to record 1,200 career receiving yards. He is currently 18th in school-history with 1,313 career yards.

Golfing great and Wake Forest legend Arnold Palmer was born on Sept. 10, 1929 in Latrobe, Penn. Palmer was a three-year letter winner for the Demon Deacons from 1949-50, 1954. He won two NCAA Individual Championships and one ACC Title during his time at Wake Forest. He's also won 62 times on the PGA Tour, including seven majors.

Chris Givens had a strong debut, making seven receptions for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against Syracuse. For Givens, it marked his second multi-touchdown game as he had two TD catches against Maryland as a redshirt freshman in 2009.

Givens set a career high with his 170 yards receiving. For his career, Givens has 87 receptions for 1,313 yards. Givens is tied for 28th in school history in receptions along with Ira Williams (1998-2001) with 87. Givens' 1,313 yards is the 18th-highest total in school history.

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