Media Day: Jim Grobe Q&A

Wake Forest held its annual football media day this past weekend in Winston-Salem and DeaconSports was on hand. The following are thoughts from Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe on Media Day 2008.

Michael Jennings: Coach, are you happy with the look of the team?
Jim Grobe: Yes, Ethan Reeve our strength coach, and the rest of our strength staff, do a great job with the kids and they have worked really hard in the offseason. We need to maintain that level of conditioning and maybe even improve it a little bit but we are a strong football team right now and in pretty good condition.

MJ: I talked to both Trey Bailey and Doug Weaver and they mentioned that pretty much everyone on the OL had lost some weight because you wanted them to become a little quicker on their feet.
JG: We have a couple of guys who still have too much weight on them right now but for the most part, we are a pretty athletic group. We are a young group there but athletic and we need to capitalize on that. I think the worst thing that could happen to us would be to be inexperienced and not be able to move our feet very well. Starting with the spring, we pushed our guys to get a little bit lighter and we will be working hard this month of August and hopefully by the time we go out we will have guys who can have some endurance. Our back-up group is so young and inexperienced right now that if that front group is not in really great shape, we may have to ask the young guys to play more snaps than we normally would do -- they will have to be able to carry that load.

MJ: I know it is very early, but what would be your quarterback rotation right now assuming that Riley is the starter, Hodges the back-up, who would be the third string?
JG: Well we really have high hopes for Sky Jones and Ted Stachitas the freshman that is here right now but who had shoulder surgery so he is not really throwing anything. Ryan McManus would also be in that mix but I don't think anybody looks beyond two quarterbacks. We will get everybody some reps here the first week or so but after that, Riley and Brett will get most of the snaps there. I feel really comfortable with Brett and think he would make a great quarterback for a lot of people and it is a shame we have him and Riley in the same class. We are trying to avoid that situation in the future and we are really only taking one quarterback in each class from here on out. Brett competes as if he is the guy and realizes that unless Riley gets hurt or screws it up, it will be hard for him to get a turn but he is a team guy and a special kid and I feel we could win with either one of them.

MJ: Have you thought about playing Skyler Jones at another position to get his speed on the field?
JG: Sky did not have a great spring because he had a hamstring problem but we just did not see enough of him to warrant trying him at a different position for a couple of years while Riley and Brett are here. We think he showed a few flashes and feel he has a future at quarterback but we need to see more of him to get a better feel. We don't feel we could win a game with him at quarterback right now but he want to be comfortable enough with him at QB that we could play him at other positions if needed.

MJ: Coming out of spring, we talked about the concerns you had at OL as far as depth goes but now you may be having those same issues at CB.
JG: Yes, we could have because Channing Schofield didn't make it academically and we had Marcus Williams penciled in as a guy who could help us and he broke his foot. So depth could be a problem but we feel we have some nice young guys but they are inexperienced and it scares you to death to have to many young guys out on the corners. Brandon Ghee and Phonz will have to play the lions share but we would like to get them a break every now and then so some of these young guys are going to have to step up.

MJ: Any other big question mark areas?
JG: Well long snapper is very much a question mark but we think we will find somebody to handle it and I feel okay with it.

MJ: You had several players who were true freshmen who were able to participate in spring practice. Did you like what you saw from them and do you see any of them being able to help you this season?
JG: The guy that looks like he has a chance is Joe Looney. That is the guy that has probably the best opportunity to get on the field right now but I don't look at guys who have been in classes and participated in spring as true freshmen anymore.

MJ: In years past, other teams were considered the ones with targets on their backs entering the season but now Wake Forest is one of those teams with a target on their backs.
JG: Well I think that changed a little bit last year. After we won a championship, I think we took everybody's best shot last year and I don't think anybody was asleep at the wheel when they played the Deacs. We talk about how we play and not just how many wins because if we play our game and have the talent, play hard, and coach good enough, we will do alright.

Editorial Note: You get the impression from talking to Coach Grobe that he is very pleased with his team but realizes there are also some areas that he has concerns with. Grobe seems confident that areas of concern will be addressed satisfactorily and the team is continuing to improve depth in all areas. He is excited about the changes Wake football has undergone and says that Ron Wellman has exceeded all his promises to him in all areas. Grobe also said most of the rumors about when, if, how much money, etc... about other positions were way off but it should be expected yearly as long as Wake keeps having success on the field. He said everyone is very happy in Winston-Salem and that the wives, Holly included, might revolt if they wanted to go elsewhere.

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