By Ashley Denny.
On the ACC Teleconference April 21st, Wake Forest’s Head Coach Jim Grobe spoke on the progress that he feels the Demon Deacons have made during spring practice this season and how he believes the Deacon’s win over Vanderbuilt at the end of last season has carried over into the spring.
“I really feel like our spring practices went well,”Grobe said. “We avoided any serious injuries and our kids are having fun at practice which is important. Also, they seem to be a lot more focused this spring and I think that a lot of it had to do with our win against Vanderbuilt at the end of the season, it really boosted the players’ confidence.”
According to Grobe, some of the younger players who had a chance to start last season are now more experienced and mature and have realized throughout the off season that they will be key role players on Wake’s squad in the 2011 season and therefore came to spring practices ready to work and improve.
As for the Deacon’s starting quarterback Tanner Price?
“Tanner has improved in every way for us this spring,” Grobe said. “He’s improved mentally, physically, and now has a spring practice under his belt which is something he was lacking last season being a true freshman. By the end of the spring though, I could tell that he felt even more comfortable controlling the offense and looks more like a veteran quarterback now instead of a wide eyed rookie.”
Other than Tanner who holds the starting spot going into summer workouts, Grobe has also been impressed with Ted Stachitas, a redshirt sophomore quarterback.
“I’ve been very impressed with Ted this spring,” Grobe said. “He has no arm problems and runs the option very well for us. He’s worked himself into a position this spring where I feel like he could go in and help us win a football game. I see him and Tanner separating themselves from the rest of the pack who are fighting for the third spot.”
As for the kicking situation, Grobe is not sure when the Deacon’s starting kicker Jimmy Newman will return.
“The players are about to go into their summer workouts where we will not be able to contact them so hopefully when we resume practicing in the fall he’ll be ready to go,” Grobe said. “The best thing for Jimmy right now is rest, with a hip problem there’s real no way to fix it.”
Grobe who had to make coordinator changes at the defensive side of the ball during the off season is very pleased with the changes made on the defense this spring.
“We were very thin at linebacker last season,” Grobe said. “Because of that we had to go into a three man front and five of our top six guys at the position were freshman so we were very young and thin up front. “
However, now Grobe feels confident in his defense after moving Brian Knorr over to the defensive side of the ball who has helped the young defensive starters mature and improve at their positions. With both Knorr and veteran coordinator Tim Billings as co-defensive coordinators, Grobe believes with their experience in running 3-4 defenses will help the Deacons become a more fundamentally sound football team.