Football Press Conference Quotes

Jim Grobe and the Deacons talk about their bowl bid

Dec. 3, 2007

Head Coach Jim Grobe

On going back to a bowl game...
"We're really excited about going to Charlotte. Going to back-to-back bowls is really big for Wake Forest. We've never done that before. That's pretty cool. I think Charlotte will be pretty good for our fans, so we're looking forward to it."

On comparing this year's team and last year's team...
"They're pretty close. This is a pretty good football team we've got this year. We lost a couple pretty close games. The Virginia game we could have won. The Nebraska game we could have won. But when you play a schedule like we do, it's really tough. Every week's a tough game."

On playing in Charlotte...
"I hope we have a great turnout. That's something that we're looking forward to. I'd like to think that our fans will turn out in Charlotte. That's one of the reasons we wanted to be in Charlotte. We think it'll be really convenient, and hopefully we'll have a lot of Deacon fans there."

On the upcoming schedule...
"We're going to try and let the guys have some time to go home for Christmas and maybe have them catch up with us on Charlotte on Christmas day."

On the turning point of the season...
"We beat Maryland. That was big. It was Riley's first game back, and we didn't play well for three quarters. Zo [Alphonso Smith] made a play at the end of the third quarter, returning the interception 100 yards for a touchdown, kind of got the team pumped up, and then Riley [Skinner] started playing pretty good and got us into overtime. So, I thought the Maryland game was probably the turning point in our season."

On momentum...
"It's very important. You can't get up for every game. Some games you just have to win on ability. We did that a couple times this year. The games that we needed to get up for, we did. The only disappointment I had was at Clemson. I thought we played poorly at Clemson, and that's not to take anything away from them. I thought they played really good, but that was probably the biggest disappointment. Certainly the close games against Virginia and Nebraska, we would have liked to come out on the right side of those games, but I think throughout the season our kids played as well as they could."

 

 

On what he is proudest about this season...
"How we bounced back after having a great year last year. Our guys wanted to prove that we weren't a one-hit wonder kind of team, and maybe we're starting to become a program rather that just a good team once in a while."

On the advantage of having extra practice...
"I think it helps the young guys. We might let the young guys scrimmage a little bit. One of the keys for us is to make sure we keep the old guys healthy. We want to have fun, but at the same time, I think you have the most fun if you play well in a bowl game. So, we have to get ready to play. More practices are good, even better for the young players. So we'll probably find some time for the young guys to play a little bit."

On the outlook for next year...
"A lot of guys (are) back next year, especially on defense. (We) should be good on special teams with Sam Swank back for another year. On offense, we'll have some young guys that we'll need to plug in. I like our football team. I think we're to the point now where we shouldn't really have to reload any year. I think we ought to come back and be really competitive now every year."

On how the success has helped with recruiting...
"It's helped us quite a bit. It's opened more doors for us. We have to be careful because the more doors that are open, the more chances you have to make mistakes. We've tried to continue to recruit the same type of kid we've had in the past. We're probably getting some kids with a few more stars now, but overall I think our recruiting has improved every year we've been here."

On parity across the nation...
"I think the ACC is a great example. Every week you have to play in this league, and our non-league schedule is pretty tough. You just have to have the mindset that nothing is going to be easy. You have to work hard to play every game. That's the way it is around the country. There's a lot of parity right now."

On the BCS Championship game pairing...
"It's tough. It's really hard to decide. I think you certainly have a lot of people who are involved in that decision. You probably would have a better feel after a lot of those BCS games are played. The way this season has gone, I think every week you'd probably have a different choice for the top team in the country. And I think that's good for college football. There's been a lot of discussion week in and week out, and to me, as a voter, your thoughts change every week."

On how he voted...
"I went Ohio State, LSU, and then Virginia Tech, based on their performance, was the third team. I think some of the team's that were idle got hurt a little bit. I think the teams that won their championship games were the most deserving."

On what happened with Les Miles, how difficult that must have been...
"I think the things that are said on the internet are sometimes said by people that don't have a lot of knowledge or insight, but it goes across the country as being gospel. So, it puts a lot of pressure on coaches. You have to be careful about the mindset of your team. In Coach Miles' case, he was playing for an SEC Championship and a chance to play for all the marbles. He knew that was a distraction, and I think he did the right thing in ending the speculation."

On UConn...
"They're a really good team, a much better team than last year. We were fortunate last year to go up there and win a game against those guys, but they've settled their quarterback situation. They're healthy. They've played great all season long, and we know we've got a great challenge to go to Charlotte and play a good team."

On being proud of his team...
"I am. This was a stressed-out football team this year. They wanted so badly to prove to people that we weren't just a good team last year, and I think we've done that. We could have won a couple of more games, but we could have lost a couple of more games. I think an 8-4 season is a pretty good year. I think our fans appreciate what we're doing right now. I think they appreciate our players and I'm proud of our coaching staff. Hopefully we can play good one more time."

On the crowd in Charlotte...
"It's very important for us to have a good crowd. I think one of the things we're trying to show, not just to Charlotte people in their bowl game, but I'd like to think that our football team will continue to go to bowl games. One thing we'd like to show all the bowls is that if you pick Wake Forest, we're going to travel well."

Defensive End Matt Robinson

On playing UConn...
"I haven't been able to see film on them yet, but I understand they're a very good football team from a very good conference. We're excited about that, and we're really excited to be playing in Charlotte. Hopefully we'll get a large crowd there and it'll be close for our fans. We've got a good team from a good conference in a good bowl game, so we're really excited right now."

On going to Charlotte...
"I think we have really great fans, and that's the thing about Charlotte. We have the opportunity to bring a lot of people down there. We just have to remember that our goal is to go win. We've got to practice hard these next couple of weeks to go play a really good football team, and that has to be our focus and everything else will take care of itself."

On going to another bowl game...
"I think it's the first back-to-back bowl games in Wake Forest history. That's huge, and that's something that we talked about going into the season and coming down the stretch these last few weeks. We had to beat N.C. State to really make sure that we'd get into a bowl, and then we played really well at Vanderbilt. That was really important for us and for this program- to make sure we're consistently getting better, and we proved this year that this isn't just a fluke. We're going to be a good football team here every year."

On how the bowl game also helps to prepare for next year...
"I think the best thing that the bowl game does is keep the team morale a lot higher. I've been here when we weren't going bowling, and you're sitting at home on Christmas watching everything. Going to a bowl game and having a successful season is only going to help going into the spring. People will work harder, and the attitude's a lot better on campus. There's nothing bad about this extra month of practice. You want everyone to stay healthy. We're just really excited to get to play a little bit longer."

On his expectations when he arrived to Wake Forest as a freshman...
"I really thought, when I came in, we were really young and there was a good group of us. A lot of us started as freshman and we had a young football team. We were competing really well, we just weren't winning. I knew that, eventually, we were going to start winning those games. When we got older, Coach Grobe's redshirting philosophy really helped us gain experience. Now that we've gotten older, you look on the field and it's a ton of juniors and seniors. That's a credit to Coach Grobe's system, and that's really helping us now. Guys have been in the wars before so they know how to win football games when it comes down to it."

On receiving the Piccolo Award in Jacksonville...
"That was a great experience, probably one of the best experiences I've had in football. There were some great football players there. I was honored, being from Wake Forest and Brian Piccolo's from Wake Forest. If anything, it was just a total credit to the guys who work so hard, the strength staff here, Don Stillman and Chris Ina in the training room. It's a credit to them, how hard they've worked with me in trying to get me back on the field. They always worked hard and never gave up on me. It was great. I kind of shared it with them, and it was just a really great experience."

On comparing this season to last season...
"For me, it's much different because I'm a little different from the other guys. I'm real excited because I'm going to be practicing. Last season when bowl season started, I went home because I couldn't practice and couldn't be in the bowl. So, I'm as excited as I've ever been. I'm going to stay here on campus and get to practice. It's great. Everyone's really excited. We think this a great opportunity to keep building our program. We just need to really focus in practice these next couple weeks, taking care of ourselves, knocking the rust off a little bit, and getting ready to face a really good football team."

Safety Chip Vaughn

On going to a bowl...
"After starting off 0-2 and coming back strong, our team's really excited to be in this bowl game."

On how the bowl helps to better prepare the team for the future...
"I think the bowl game is going to springboard us into spring ball, and then transition into next year's camp. Right now, our team's young; a bunch of sophomores and juniors. Practice is going to be really good."

On having a home field advantage in Charlotte...
"It's great. I think from last year's game to this year's game, that all the Wake fans, the whole city and state can come and show us love. I can't wait for it."

On handling the rumors surrounding Coach Grobe...
"The only talk I heard was just the stuff on ESPN, but as far as stuff being heard inside camp, no [it doesn't bother us at all]. I think Coach Grobe's going to stay here for a while, so I'm not really worried about it."

On how practice changes these next few weeks...
"These next three weeks of practice are going to be just like fall camp was to us. It's going to be back to two-a-day practices and lifting. It's going to be real strenuous work for us. So, it's not like any time of just fun, bowl-game stuff. We're out there to win it. Not just win it, but win convincingly. There's not going to be any lackadaisical practices, just going through the motions. It's going to be some hard stuff."

On UConn...
"UConn is very athletic, fast. They play in a great conference. They're co-champions of the Big East. It's not going to be an easy game. They're a good team. I saw them play against Louisville. I saw them against Virginia. I saw them a few times. I've seen some film. They're a really solid team. Their special teams are great. They have a really good kickoff return man, and their punt-return man is really great. The defense is tough. They have a really good defense. Offensively, they've got a tailback, [Donald] Brown. He's probably the best player on the team. It's going to be a good game."

On the secret to the success the last two years...
"I think the secret to our success is just a good team. I think having a good team is going to trump a talented team that is just a bunch of individuals. I think when you have 11 guys on the same page playing, I think that's going to beat anyone in the country."

Cornerback Alphonso Smith

On going to a bowl game...
"We feel really good about it. It's the first time in history that Wake Forest has gone to consecutive bowl games. We're happy to be a part of that change, and we're just happy to have a postseason game."

On having an extra month to practice...
"It'll just give us that extra boost of confidence. Knowing how it feels to be home at this time, we're really appreciative of the opportunity. For helping us for next year, it'll give the young guys an opportunity to practice with the vets. It's a pre-spring practice."

On UConn...
"I saw them play against Louisville. We played against them last year and it was a pretty tough game for us. We were fortunate to come out with a win. I expect them to come and play really hard and try to win. We expect them to bring it, and give us there all, and we'll try to do the same thing."

On going to Charlotte...
"Knowing that we have a bowl game that's [really close] and an hour away from home, it'll give our fans a chance to come and see us play. If we were in Florida or San Francisco or Nashville, they may have been reluctant to come. Being in Charlotte is just like a home game and we're really excited about it."

On the secret to success this season...
"I just think that our confidence, and believing [that we can beat good teams]. We practice hard during the week and it translates onto the football field on Saturday."

Safety Chip Vaughn

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