Grobe: 2010 Deacs Are Deep, Talented

During Media Day, DeaconSports had a chance to visit with Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe about the upcoming season. Grobe was very excited about this team and its prospects despite the uniformity of negative predictions from the "experts."

Coach Grobe was genuinely enthusiastic about the ability of the young guys and sprinking of battle tested veterans to produce a competitive, winning team this Fall. "This may be the most purely talented team we have had here and certainly the one with the most depth," said Grobe, 59-51 in nine seasons at Wake Forest.

While the departure of quarterback Riley Skinner throws some uncertainty into the mix, he feels that the offense will go back to basics more with the inexperience at the QB slot. "Our plan is to get back to running the football like we did before Riley came along, and I think we can do it successfully with whoever the quarterback turns out to be."

While Wake will run more this Fall, Grobe made it clear that he does not want to be one dimensional on offense. "If a quarterback can't throw the ball, he can't be our quarterback," he noted. "We want to get the ball into the hands of players like [Chris] Givens, Yloo [Brown], Mike Campanaro, Josh Adams, Josh Harris, Quan Rucker and of course Marshall Williams. I think Marshall has the chance to be really special for us and I look forward to seeing what we can do with some of those guys running the ball on end arounds and the like."

While the skill positions look to be of a very high quality, the next logical questions are the lines, both offensively and defensively. Grobe really likes the offensive line because he believes the line is a little nasty as well as athletic. "We really like the toughness and depth on the offensive line. We think we have 7-8 guys who will play a lot for us and play well."

Defensively, Grobe thinks Wake Forest is deep as well and expects big years from Tristan Dorty and Kyle Wilber. He feels the younger defensive tackles will "be just fine" with their quickness and their strength. According to Grobe, this is the strongest and fastest team Wake has put on the field, giving credit to strength coach Ethan Reeve with increasing the strength of the players over the summer.

"This is the strongest group of guys I have had here and the high school programs have done a good job for the most part in having them stronger when they come in here than previously. Some of the guys who did not have the advantage of having good weight training programs have made great improvements in their strength levels since getting here."

Grobe seems convinced that he has the lines on both sides of the ball to get the job done and feels just as confident in the linebacker corps and the secondary. "We have a good group of linebackers and secondary people who we hope will make some big plays for us this season," Grobe noted.

While they have not started hitting with pads on yet, Grobe feels very good about the offensive and defensive lines calling the offensive line "special with kids who love to play football." As to the defensive line, Grobe loves the intensity the group brings. "I don't know if we have ever had a [defensive line] that plays with as much energy as this group does," he said.

The final point of emphasis Coach Grobe made was that the freshmen and redshirt freshmen classes will likely have a lot of impact on the team. "We have some young guys who will not be satisfied with not playing and are more ready than any class we have had to make a contribution. As you have heard me say several times, we don't want to burn a shirt just to have a kid play a couple of plays on special teams but want to get quality snaps every game from him. These young guys have the ability to play right away and I would not be surprised to see several do so this season."

Grobe stressed that we have not seen these guys in pads yet and that will go a long way in determining how tough and ready they are once the serious hitting starts. "We will know a lot more once they start popping each other in full pads but I think we have some really tough, good players who will make an impact. We will have a lot of guys competing for the starting positions and will be in a better situation depth wise than we have been here. We will update the depth chart every day this fall and some guys could lose, or gain, a starting spot based on only one day of practice because it will be that competitive which is a very nice situation for us."

Overall, Grobe is very upbeat about the 2010 Demon Deacons and places responsibility on the coaching staff to turn talent into wins. "If we can do a good coaching job, this team could be pretty good."

In 10 years of covering Coach Grobe at Wake Forest, he has never spoken as enthusiastically about the depth and talent on a team as he has this year. For a coach who is normally very reserved about his team, it is unusual to hear his upbeat assessment of the 2010 Deacon football team. If this team gets stable play and leadership at the quarterback position, this is a team with great potential to surprise the ACC this season.

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