Quotes From The ACC Football Kickoff

Read the thoughts of Coach Grobe, Tyson Clabo and Quintin Williams as they look ahead to the upcoming season.

Head Coach Jim Grobe:
Talk about being the only team in the league that doesn't return a starting quarterback.
"We're not returning a starting quarterback, but we're returning a quarterback that has some game experience. Cory Randolph played at least a series a half last year. He's not the one that had to be on the field when it counted at the end of a game - that was James MacPherson's job last year. But this is not going to be a guy who's going to be nervous to go out and take a snap. We've got to get Cory to take care of the football like James did last year. Other than the Clemson game, James did a great job taking care of the football. If Cory can do that, he's actually got a little bit more ability than James. He's faster; he's got a little better foot quickness. We ought to be able to run a little more option with him. He's a kid that's got a strong arm; he has good touch on his throws. So he's a guy that has all the tools to get the job done. He just doesn't have the experience as some of the other quarterbacks in the league. But this guy can lead our football team."

"Zac Taylor, who we redshirted last season, is his backup. We've got two really good freshmen quarterbacks coming in - Ban Mauk from Ohio and Bruce Hall from Florida. Both kids have the ability to play for us and help us win. But we're going to try and put them on the shelf and redshirt them this season. Hopefully, Cory can be the guy to get the job done for us."

On opening the season at Boston College (after all the circumstances surrounding ACC expansion this summer):
"Let's just say I think they'll be properly motivated when we go up there. (BC head coach) Tom O'Brien is one of the finer coaches in the country and he's going to have them motivated no matter what. We know we're going into a hornet's nest when we go up there. They're a fine football team and we knew we had out work cut out for us even before this expansion situation came on. So we know we better play our best football to have a chance."

On carrying over the momentum from last year's bowl victory:
"It's very important. I think if you talk to our players, you'll find a very confident group of guys. Our players expect to win. I think before our guys hoped to win; now it's become an expectation. We've won on grit and toughness the past couple of years. Our previous two senior classes were pretty salty groups. These young guys have talent, but, you better not take winning for granted. My concern for our young football team is how tough we'll play; if we'll be the kind of team that will come out and fight you for four quarters. We won't know that until we get up to BC. I have a feeling we will, but that's the problem with young players - you don't know how they'll respond in tough times."

Opinion on expansion:
"I think it makes it better for Wake Forest. I think it makes it better for our league. Speaking from a football standpoint, I think we've become a power conference with the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech. From a Wake Forest standpoint, it makes it a little bit tougher. I think our recruiting will improve; I think out status as a football school will improve. It's going to be a tougher league, but I think it makes Wake Forest better. So I think everybody benefits."

Defensively, will the linebackers and secondary have to step up since the entire defensive line is being replaced?
"Absolutely. Those guys have to be our playmakers. Our secondary unit and our linebacker corps have to be ones making plays this year. Our front people have to hold their ground. Last season, we were really young at linebacker and in the secondary, and we really counted on Calvin Pace, Montique Sharpe and Rod Stephen up front to make plays. We've just switched roles. Our defensive front guys have to fill gaps and hold their ground, and we've got to have the linebackers and secondary make the plays."

On Jason Anderson:
"Jason has the potential to be really special. I think he can be one of the better receivers in the league. I challenged my offensive coaches to involve him more in our system. He's our big-play guy, especially down the field. He's a guy that can go deep. He's a tall receiver; he's got great leaping ability and good hands. Jason's only drawback is that he's been banged up for two years. He played well as a freshman and even better as a sophomore, but in limited duty. He's missed action both years because of injuries, and he's got to overcome that. It's nothing major; he just gets nicked all the time. I told Jason that for him to be an impact player for us he's got to be an 'every-play guy'. I think he's taken that to heart. If he stays healthy he can be a big time impact player for us."

On increasing the role of passing in the offensive system:
"Last year we ended up leading the ACC in total offense. We've led the league in rushing two years in a row. But my biggest disappointment is we haven't had more big plays in the throwing game. Whenever you run the ball as well as we've been able to run it, you'd like to think that once in a while you'd catch people on their heels, catch them sleeping and be able to get behind them. We've done that to some extent; we had some success against Oregon (Seattle Bowl), but not to the extent that I think we should. Hopefully we'll continue to run the ball as well as we have been, and we should have more big plays in the passing game."

Is there a player that people may not know about yet, but might step up into the spotlight this season?
"I think the guy people will be talking about - if he stays healthy - is Chris Barclay. At times last year I felt he was out best running back, and I thought Tarence Williams was a good one. But we had series where we felt Barclay had to be in the game and that's unusual for a true freshman. He's gotten a little bigger, a little stronger, a little more physical. He's got all the tools and good footspeed. I think Barclay can be a guy that nobody is expecting too much from, but may end being the guy that everyone is trying to slow down this year."

Offensive Guard Tyson Clabo:
On losing a lot of starters and those who say it's a rebuilding year for WFU:
"Well, if we reload, that's a good thing. I think we have a lot of young talent. They don't have much experience but they have a lot of ability. So I think we'll be fine; I have no doubts."

On describing the WFU offense and what's expected of the line:
"I think our offense is fairly straightforward. A lot of people keep asking me about how confusing it is for defenses, but it's not. We're just going to run the ball right at you. And every once in a while we're going to run it around the edge. I really enjoy it. I take a lot of pride in it. The whole offense rides on the shoulders of the offensive line, and that means a lot."

On playing for Jim Grobe:
"I love him. He's a great coach and a great man, and he just makes you believe. He's a great motivator, and there's no one I'd rather play for."

On quarterback Cory Randolph:
"He just needs to get comfortable. Instead of trying to do amazing things, he just need to play the game and not try to force it. Then, amazing things will happen. He just needs to sit back, relax and play the game. If he can do that, then he'll lead us. He'll do well."

On the increasing competitiveness in the ACC: "I definitely enjoy playing against those teams every week. They're all good teams and they all have great players. So you go out and test your ability every week against guys with talent. It's very exciting every week."

Free Safety Quintin Williams:
Talk about the defense and the type of unit you'll have this year:
"To start off, you definitely can't replace players like Calvin Pace and Montique Sharpe. Pace was drafted in the first round and Montique got drafted. So we'll have to rely more on the defensive unit as whole, and not on one or two dominating players. I think that will definitely help our team because we'll have to come together faster and learn how to play with each other and be disciplined. I think you can expect the same style of defense you saw last year. You're going to have 11 guys flying around the field for four quarters trying to take people's heads off and I personally take pride in that. I believe in toughness and aggressiveness, and I think that's what Wake Forest has to do to be successful."

Describe the defensive philosophy:
"A big part of it is knowing how to organize the talent we have. Obviously we lost players like Pace and Sharpe, and we don't have much depth on the line. But we have a lot of depth in the secondary. So we want to put the best players we have on the field. Since we have so much depth in the secondary, we're going to play five or six DBs and the coaches know how to make that effective. Even though we might not be as big up front, but we'll use that to our advantage. I think it's good for us to have so many fast, athletic guys on the field."

Has the momentum carried over from the Seattle Bowl?
"Definitely. From what I've seen this spring and summer, we have guys staying around, doing extra workouts on their own, staying on the field longer. We might not talk about it openly, but there's air of excitement. We have that rising confidence level where we know we can be a good team."


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