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WFU's Jim Grobe meets with the media to preview the East Carolina game

Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2005

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Tuesday Football Press Conference Quotes

Winston-Salem, NC - Wake Forest football head coach Jim Grobe and four student-athletes met with the media on Tuesday to review the Nebraska game and to look ahead to Saturday's East Carolina game.

Head coach Jim Grobe

On starting 0-2:
"I think the big thing for us is we just point out to our players what we've got to do to win, and we're not doing that right now. It's a pretty simple formula, not rocket science. You can't turn the ball over like we are offensively. Defensively, we played better on third down this week which was good. We gave up one big play which hurt us. We really played pretty good defense, and we continue to struggle some in the kicking game. We had two fumbled kickoffs that pinned us on the one and two-yardlines, and you just can't do those things and win."

On having chances to win close games:
"I think we're talented enough. That's one thing I keep getting back to. We're very young. The other day, I think we started 14 freshmen and sophomores against Nebraska. But even with young guys you ought to catch kickoffs, you shouldn't throw the ball in bad places; you shouldn't lose the ball when you are running with it and things like that. Those are things no matter how old you are, you should be able to take care of. I'm encouraged that we can be a good football team, we just have to play better."

On East Carolina:
"They have a lot of speed, a very talented and very mature team. I think they'll start 12 seniors and six juniors. These guys have been around a long time and have been playing Wake Forest a long time, there's no doubt they want to beat Wake Forest. They're really motivated as a team, and I'm really impressed with the way they are coached. They have really good team speed."

On the possibility of Cory Randolph playing quarterback:
"We feel like the good thing about having a young quarterback is that he'll learn by his mistakes. He's got to. A lot depends on how Ben (Mauk) develops. Right now, Ben Mauk is our quarterback."

On the importance of avoiding a 0-3 start:
"I thought a win last week was pretty important and we didn't get it. Any win for us right now is important. Every team we play here down the stretch, if we're going to have any kind of season at all, is important. Our players understand that."

On facing a tough atmosphere at Nebraska:
"It was a tough combination. The crowd was unbelievable. What a great place to go play football. It was really a cool place to go play a football game. I think our kids really enjoyed that type of atmosphere. But for the offense, it was very hard. It is so loud; it's hard to get the audibles. Ben actually got us in a lot of the right plays, but the problem is when you are going against such a good defense, the combination from the momentum of the crowd and the defense is tough."

On the Nebraska game:
"What we pointed out to them is that it's not a mental thing, it's not anything that is real complicated. You can't turn the ball over, and you can't turn it over for scores. I think our defense played our best game since I've been here. If you give a team like Nebraska only 234 yards of total offense, you are playing pretty good defense. Offensively, we had three turnovers for scores. You don't get three turnovers for scores in a season, two seasons, maybe a lifetime. That was just one of those nights where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. If we just take care of the football, we're in a horserace right down to the end."

Senior Punter Ryan Plackemeier

On how the team comes back after losses:
"These guys are anxious to win. We are all competitors out here. It's a great group of guys and we're really looking to bounce back.

On East Carolina:
"We've had great games against them for four years in a row, and we're looking for another great game. I think we're going to bounce back and have a good game."

On his leg being tired:
"Not yet, it's only two games in the season. Where I think I'll feel it, is 8, 9, 10 games in the season. So far, my leg is real fresh from summer and I feel good. I'm really trying to work on my inside twenty punt, that's where I really lack in my career, really focusing on that but also trying to change field position as well. I have the strongest leg as I've ever had and feel really good about it right now."

On inside the 20 punts:
"You've got to have guys that cover, and I got guys like Josh Gattis, Aaron Curry, Patrick Ghee, they get after the ball, they get down there and they have a nose for the ball. Having guys with that effort has been awesome. (The key is) also putting enough hang time. If I'm long driving it, I can't expect them to run a 3.9 40, so I just got to get enough hang time on it and not hit it in the end zone. I rely on their effort, give them a high five and buy them dinner if they get it."

On if there is any negativity surrounding the team:
"No, not really. We really concentrate on what we need to get done. We're just really focused on our team. We don't read what's in the media and we don't really care what anyone else thinks. We are down 31-3 and I see defensive guys still going after the ball, running after the ball with a lot of effort. We didn't give up. This season is not lost for us. We haven't lost an ACC game yet, so we're going to go out and give it our best effort and win some games this year."

Sophomore defensive end Matt Robinson

On the defense's improvement:
"(The) Vanderbilt (game) wasn't a very good defensive effort. They converted too many 3rd downs, and coming into Nebraska, they were inside the red zone. We stopped them on fourth and one and that was huge for our defense. We did good job knocking down the quarterback, we had 10 knockdowns on the quarterback, and not just knockdowns but we hit him pretty hard when we got back there. I think our overall effort on defense was a lot better.

On the defense:
"We needed a game like that. Going back to watch the film, everyone's flying at the ball, probably one of the best defensive efforts from what Coach Grobe said. It was really exciting to be out there and it was a lot of fun playing. The only thing we have to do defensively, we got three turnovers, and they got three turnovers for scores. Defensively, we have to step up and got to get more turnovers on our part and we had a lot of balls batted around, a ton of balls up in the air that we should have come away with and so those are things we got to do to give ourselves a chance to win.

On how the team fights the frustration of losing:
"We've got to keep on going out there and pounding the offense. We saw our offense struggling a little bit, and they had some turnovers, and instead of pointing fingers and getting disgusted the other side of the ball, those are the times we know we need to step it up as defense and force turnover and put points on the board. That's something we did last year against Florida State, when our offense struggled a little bit we put points on the board. Obviously, our defense has struggled some and our offense has stepped up in games and we just got to put it all together. I think this week against ECU, is going to be a great time for both sides of the ball to come together with special teams and put on a good show.

On East Carolina:
"Obviously, they're going to come in here flying high because we've beat them four years in a row, and they're just chomping at the bit to take one away from us. They are coming off of a win from Duke so they're looking forward to coming here and beating us. We have got to be on top of our game, and I don't think we're going to have any letdowns at practice. We have to come in prepared and get better this week at practice."

Sophomore defensive end Jeremy Thompson

On the Nebraska game:
"We didn't play really well, but you can't base your confidence on one game. We know we have a tough game coming up so we're just working hard getting ready for it

On team morale:
"It's definitely tough to bounce back from losses. We just have to bounce back and put that behind us and work hard next week and get ready for the next game."

On East Carolina:
"We play them every year. They have been pretty close games and some hard fought battles. We're going to be pretty motivated to play, and I guess they will be too."

Sophomore defensive tackle Zach Stukes

On the team's struggles:
"You could say that inexperience has a lot to do with it. But we're at a point where we have a lot of talent on the field and we can get the job done no matter what the age is."

On East Carolina:
"Their offense is a veteran offense. Their quarterback is back from last year. They've got some good athletes on the field who can make plays and put the ball in the end zone."

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WFU's Jim Grobe meets with the media to preview the East Carolina game
Wake Forest football head coach Jim Grobe,
photo by Gene Galin
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