This website is accessible to all versions of every browser. However, you are seeing this message because your browser does not support basic Web standards, and does not properly display the site's design details. Please consider upgrading to a more modern browser. (Learn More).

You are here: home > sports > football

Wake Forest weekly press conference quotes

Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006

e-mail E-mail this page   print Printer-friendly page

Winston-Salem, NC - Here are some quotes from this week's Wake Forest football press conference with head football coach Jim Grobe and players John Abbate, Riley Swanson, Steve Vallos.

Coach Jim Grobe

On whether he could have imagined this success…
“No, honestly I’d have to tell you no. I thought we’d be a pretty good football team. I didn’t know we were going to lose Ben and Micah, but losing them even makes it more incredible.”

On whether he expected this kind of success from Riley Skinner…
“People asked me if I had any idea; if I did, he would have been starting to begin with. We didn’t have any clue that he’d do as well as he has. If you remember, his first play, he sent the man in motion and snapped the ball into him. That was his first start in college football, so we were wondering where we were headed after that Syracuse game, but he’s far exceeded our expectations.”

On what part of the football team stepped up….
“I think our defense has probably been the key. I thought we’d be pretty good on defense, but I thought we’d give them a little more help offensively. The best thing our offense has done is take care of the football. We haven’t turned it over very much which has given us a chance to win, but we’ve probably put our defense on the field too many times. I really like the attitude of our defense. We’ve been really good in the red zone. We’ve had a very opportunistic defense.”

On going to the Orange Bowl…
“The good news is we’re in the Orange Bowl. The bad news is that we’ve got to play one of the best teams in the country in Louisville and we’ve talked to the players about it. It’s great to be in the Orange Bowl, we need to be really excited, we need to really enjoy it, but the key is not being in the Orange Bowl, but playing really well in the Orange Bowl, so that’s got to be our focus.”

On what makes the long break so difficult…
“I think the layoff. Everyone handles it differently. You don’t know what the best plan is. You do the best you can. We want the players to enjoy the bowl experience, but we want to work hard enough to play well in the game. When you’re off for a month, no one knows how the players and coaches are going to respond. You just do the best you can.”

On whether he’s sought advice from other coaches…
“I have. We’ve never been in a January bowl game before. I’ve been in a lot of bowl games, but typically you go a few days before the game. We’re in Miami a week with our football team. I’ve talked with some other coaches about playing in January bowl games and kind of gotten their thoughts.”

On Miami….
“I had a chance to go down for the Orange Bowl press conference. When I got off the plane it was about 80 degrees with a slight breeze and palm trees everywhere. What a great place not only to play a bowl game but I also think our fans are going to enjoy that bowl environment. The key for us will be to keep our feet on the ground and play well.”

On balancing coaching vs. recruiting right now…
“It’s a real problem. Thankfully, most of our scholarships are taken with early commitments. We only have about two or three scholarships left. It still takes a lot of more time and effort to keep the guys who have committed and to have a few good players at the end. At the same time, the preparations for the bowl are critical. We’ve got to have a good game plan. Our coaches are working overtime right now. There’s a lot of pressure on our coaches right now.”

On how recruiting will change…
“We’ve always been able to recruit to a great school like Wake Forest. We typically have never lost parents when we’re recruiting. The thing that we’ve had a bit of a tough time is trying to sell to the players that you can come to Wake Forest and do everything you dreamed about. I think going to the Orange Bowl tells our recruits that you can not only have a great degree and have a great experience at Wake Forest but you can also play some pretty good football.”

On having some time to heal…
“A key in practice is to work hard enough so we can play well but also to make sure we don’t bang up guys in practice. We’ve got some guys who have some pretty significant injuries at the end of the season. It’s nice to see them bouncing around now, as opposed to limping around at the end of the (regular) season.”

On Louisville…
“They’re pretty good on defense. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize. They’ve got a very athletic defense. So much has written about Brian Brohm, a great quarterback. A lot of people feel he could be the first pick in the draft, but he’s a got a great supporting cast. I think the key to Louisville, they’re explosive on offense. They’ve got a great kicker, but their defense is a little better than people think.”

On finishing close games…
“I think every coach likes to see teams that finish. In the past, we’ve been in a lot of games in the fourth quarter. We’ve won some, we lost our fair share. This was one of those years where we found a way late to win.”

On winning some awards…
“Honestly, I feel a little guilty about that. I’ve got such a great coaching staff and the most fun group of kids I’ve ever been with, a totally unselfish group of guys that go out and play hard every Saturday. For me, it’s been a pleasure to coach this football team this year. I’m proud of all the awards that I’ve gotten but I feel a little guilty cause it’s really more the assistant coaches and players that make that happen.”

On his assistants being considered for other head coaching jobs…
“I really like it. I want my guys to feel like if they want to be head coaches that being at Wake Forest will give them that opportunity. People out there are crazy if they don’t look at my guys. If they want to be head coaches, I’ll do everything including drive them to the next job if they want to go.”

On the Louisville offense…
“I think what’s happened to us in the year, we’ve played teams that are really solid running the football and we’ve played teams that throw it really well, and we’ve really been able to hone in on one or the other. The thing about Louisville is that they’re so balanced. They certainly get a lot of attention for throwing the football, but they also run it really well, and that’s what drives you crazy. They’ve got so much balance in their ability to run and throw the football and you can’t isolate on any one guy.”

On defending the Louisville offense…
“I think you’re best chance is to roll the dice a little bit. I think you’ve got to mix things up. I think you got to pick your spots to bring pressure and pick your spots to put more people in coverage. You also have to keep an eye on stopping the running game. There’s no science to it, it’s just kind of rolling the dice and mixing things up.”

On Louisville’s defense/special teams
“Typically, if you play good defense and you play good on special teams you have a chance to win I think Louisville’s defense is really talented. Obviously Brian Brohm commands much of their attention for their offense, but defensively, special teams, that’s where you win championships.”

On the postseason…
“I think most coaches would tell you that the postseason is really important. I think it helps you recruiting-wise as much as anything. One thing that’s helped us this year is that most of our kids have already committed for this class.”

On what he’s looking forward to…
“Just playing the game. We’re trying to enjoy the trip, but I think as much as anything, by the end of bowl week our guys will be looking forward to playing football and I think I will too.”

Junior Linebacker Jon Abbate

On the time off since the ACC Championship...
“It was good to have some time off and recover from the season. We got some injuries taken care of. Once we got back on Friday and started practicing again we had to hit it full swing and that’s what our team’s been doing. We’re real excited to be back.”

On the team’s emotions...
“If anything, I think our emotions are even higher than when we left. It gave us time to think about what we did and what we actually accomplished. I think it’s really set in where we’re at now, playing in the Bowl Championship Series and going to Miami and playing in the Orange Bowl.”

On being excited about the Orange Bowl...
“Coach Grobe told us in a meeting the other day that we can’t just be excited playing in the Orange Bowl. We have to play good in the Orange Bowl. If we play good, everything else will take care of itself. That’s what we’re trying to do right now -- prepare for the game and do the best we can.”

On any downside to having the time off...
“I think for any team it’s hard to take two weeks off and come back and hit it full swing. You’ve got to get used to the pads again and get the feel for it again. The first couple days for any team are probably rusty. You just have to bounce back from that and get the feel of things again.”

On not having to worry about classes right now...
“It’s easier to focus on one thing -- focusing on the Orange Bowl and not have to worry about tests and homework and papers.

Senior cornerback Riley Swanson

On starting up again after the break...
“We’re back at it again. The time off was great. It was great to spend time with family. We had the opportunity to rest up and let the body heal up a little bit. It feels good to be around the guys again and get back to work and start to focus on the Orange Bowl.”

On the community’s support of the team...
“It’s definitely a great feeling to have the support and love we get in the community right now. It really feels good to know the community is behind us and that we worked hard and accomplished something we dreamed about. It’s just a great time right now.”

On the recognition Coach Grobe has received...
“I’m very proud of Coach Grobe. Day one since I stepped on this campus I felt like Coach Grobe was a great coach. I’m proud of him. He’s planted a lot of great seeds in this program. Finally he’s reaping the harvest of what he’s installed in us and the program. It’s great to see Coach honored like that.”

On the expectations at the beginning of the season...
“In all honesty, coming into the beginning of the season I knew we had a good team and I was surrounded by a good group of fellas. But I never imagined going to the Orange Bowl. I knew we’d be competitive. It’s something all teams talk about at the beginning of the season. But just going out and actually doing it and being successful at it has completely blown me away. I’m still surprised a little bit.”

On when he realized this team had a shot at the ACC Championship...
“I would say after the Florida State game. After the Florida State game we started to realize and say, ‘hey, we have an opportunity to compete for the ACC Championship and once we compete in the ACC Championship, the winner goes to the Orange Bowl.’ That became the talk in the locker room. We just became hungry and just went out there and did it.”

On which area of the team stepped up this season...
“I feel like every phase on our team stepped up. That’s what makes this team special. We are a team. When plays were needed to be made to win games, somebody came up with the play. It was a different guy every week, which makes it even sweeter. It was a collective team effort.”

Senior offensive tackle Steve Vallos

On whether he expected to go to the Orange Bowl…
“I didn’t really expect it. There was a possibility, but in my wildest dreams. We’re here though.”

On when he started to think about an ACC Championship….
“I’d say the Boston College game. We just had a great crowd. We were ranked. They were ranked. But still everyone doubted us throughout the week. I don’t know if anyone picked us to win that game, but we went out there and we won. That was a big point in our season when we knew we had a chance.”

On what part of the team stepped up…
“The whole team has stepped up their play from previous years. Different parts of the defense, different parts of the offense. But I think Riley Skinner’s done a great job in the position he’s been put in. To be a freshman quarterback and step up and start 12 games so far, he’s done a great job. Kenny Moore filling in at running back, he’s done a great job too.”

On playing with nothing to lose…
“More of a feeling that we wanted to prove people wrong, to show people that we were better then what they thought. We knew we could overcome those things that went wrong, and we definitely did that.”

On the difference of going home this year vs. past years…
“It was a great feeling. We got to go home finally. I hadn’t been home since July. Just to go home see my family, and relax and to know that I didn’t have to sit at home for a month and watch bowl games with teams we had played. Last couple of years, we had beaten teams that had gone to bowl games and we had been left out, so it was a good feeling knowing we were going to come back here and play in the Orange Bowl.”

On leaving the program in its current state…
“It was a great feeling. I think all of our seniors will take a lot of pride with all we accomplished this year, especially the ACC Championship, that’s something we’ll never forget. It’s going be great looking back on what we’ve done this season.”

On Louisville’s defense…
“They’ve got a real good defense, probably as good as any defense we played. They’re real similar to Virginia Tech and they got a lot of big, physical guys on the D-Line and a lot of fast linebackers. We’re going to have to prepare well. We’re going practice a lot this week. We’re going practice in Miami. I think we can do well if we do what we’re coached to do.”

On what he learned from the too losses…
“No lead is too big. One play can change a game. We learned that against Duke and against Clemson. And against Virginia Tech, we just turned the ball over, and we can’t do that. These are things that we can’t do if we want to win games.”

On Coach Grobe getting recognition….
“He’s finally getting some recognition that he deserves. He’s put so much time and effort into this program and it’s finally paying off.”

On recovering from injuries…
“We had a lot of guys that were living in the training room towards that extra game against Georgia Tech. We had a lot of guys that needed the rest and I think it’s definitely going help us and get the legs back under people and heal up some bruises.”

On being the “toast of the town”…
“It’s nice. We haven’t been in this position since I’ve been here to be playing in a January bowl game. We’re going enjoy it as long as we can.”

On staying hungry after the ACC Championship…
“We’re happy to be where we are but we’re definitely not satisfied. We’re never satisfied. Louisville’s a great team, they’re probably one play away from being in the national championship game. We’re going be on national TV and we want to go out there and show them what Wake Forest football is all about.”

 
e-mail E-mail this page
print Printer-friendly page
 
 
 
Wake Forest weekly press conference quotes
WFU head football coach Jim Grobe.
photo by Gene Galin
Latest articles in Football
 
Rosters set for Wolfpack Alumni Classic
 
NCHSAA football playoff pairings
 
Clemson vs. Wake Forest football game notes
 
ACC football by the numbers after week 3
 
ACC football by the numbers
 
ACC announces game times & TV for September 20
 
 
 
Sports

Chatham Journal sponsored
ACC Football Photos
ACC Football News
ACC Basketball Photos




Subscribe now: RSS news feed, plus FREE headlines for your site