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October 10, 2013

Jim Grobe Q-&-A

Wake Forest (3-3, 1-2 ACC) has an extra week to regroup and prepare following a 28-13 over NC State before it hosts Maryland (4-1, 0-1 ACC) Saturday, Oct. 19.

Jim Grobe discussed the Demon Deacons win over the Wolfpack, Wake's bye week and more with members of the media.

Opening statement: "We got a win this past Saturday, and that was big for us. We had struggled a little bit first part of the season, and it's probably the first game that we've played that I think we had a pretty consistent effort for four quarters, and that was nice to see. We're glad to get the win. It's a step in the right direction, but [there are] a lot of good teams left on the schedule."

I wanted to ask you a little bit about the line splits that you had in Saturday's game. They were some of the wider ones I've seen in a long time. How did you come about to use that and the possessions that you used them on, how effective did you think it worked? "Well, I think it helped us. I thought we were going to get a lot of movement out of NC State's defensive front, and we still did."

"They did a good job. They still gave us a lot of problems. But we felt like when things aren't clicking the way they need to, you just can't stay status quo. So we just felt like we needed to mix things up a little bit, and we felt like probably earlier in the season our line splits were too tight, and typically you get that with guys, especially young players that maybe aren't as confident as they need to be, the line splits get down to almost nothing."

"We worked last week on trying to develop that, get them a little bit bigger, and in some cases a lot bigger to try to help us in the running game, get a little bit better seams in the running game, and actually to help Tanner a little bit find lanes to throw the football in."

"I think it was good for us. I think it's probably a little bit of a novelty this past Saturday, but we've got to decide going forward how much we want to make out of that."

It also seemed to open up running lanes for Tanner, up the middle in particular, because he gained most of his yardage going right up the middle. "Yeah, it helped us. We'd have liked to have got a little bit more, honestly, out of our running backs this past Saturday, but Tanner had such a good game, running draws and predetermined quarterback stuff, scrambled a couple times really well because of the big splits, had a little bit more room for him to run. So I do think it helped our run game, and also the added benefit was it kind of opened things up for him so he was able to find throwing lanes I think a little bit better on Saturday."

I was just curious, we always ask about off weeks and when they come. It seemed to be a strong bounce-back performance. Are you happy to go into an off week or would you rather play again to build on what you did last week? "That's a good question. I'm not sure to be honest with you. I think the thing for most coaches, I think, you look for an off week if you're pretty banged up. We're a pretty healthy football team right now. We've really -- I think if we played this Saturday, we would have everybody ready to go. I guess from that standpoint, you'd kind of like to keep the momentum, keep the routine. But it'll probably be good for our guys mentally as much as anything. We've been really grinding our guys pretty hard for six weeks, and I think the - while physically I don't think we really need to rest as much, mentally it's probably a good time for us to take a break."

How hard do you work your team in the off week, and does that vary depending on where you are? Do you want contact? Do you want hard work? Or do you want to give them a rest? "We want to have a little bit of common sense in our approach. I think that it's a good time to work fundamentals and work on your pass rush and your blocking and all those kind of things, but I think the thing you don't want to do is beat your football team up in the open date, and so I think our trainers are a little bit more cautious. We've got some little things, sprained ankles and sore shoulders and all those kind of things that you get this time of year. I think probably from our trainer's perspective we'll be a little bit more cautious with a lot of our guys this week and use it as a week to get healthy."

"So with that in mind, we don't want to do so much in practice that we beat the guys up. We'll have a couple of really good practices, not quite as long as we normally go, and probably still be pretty physical, still work on fundamentals, but give them a weekend off to catch their breath and they can sit around and watch some games this weekend. It'll probably be good for them to see other people play a little bit. But I think from our standpoint the thing we worry about the most with open date is guys traveling. That's probably our biggest concern."

"The problem we've got at Wake Forest this weekend, it's fall break, so all the students are gone after Thursday classes, so I felt like if we made our guys stay this weekend, it would be kind of like child abuse. We let all our guys go home and hopefully travel safe and get them back here Sunday night and get back on a normal week."

It's interesting that Maryland has a situation this week that you had last week. They're coming off a terrible beating, which you received at Clemson. Could you tell during the week if your guys really had left that game behind and were going to move forward, or is it just kind of something you have to wait until Saturday's game to see who shows up? "Well, I think it's kind of a flip of the coin. Kids have fooled me before. I've been doing this for a while now, and I've had weeks where I thought the kids were really ready to play and we came out flat, and then I've had weeks where I thought we were really energized and ready to go and we were. But I thought after Clemson, I thought our guys - our coaches especially I thought did a nice job of saying, hey, we corrected all our mistakes, we didn't put our head in the sand and say that never happened. We came back, we watched the film, we showed them what we did wrong. But really quickly, I think our coaching staff was all over the next preparation for NC State, and we just didn't dwell on the Clemson thing."

"And I think we sensed that our players had put it behind them. Like I said, you never know, but I thought both coaches and players, our coaches did a good job of putting them son in the rear view mirror and not looking back. I think that's the key. You've really got 12 games, and at this level everybody has got good players, and you've really got 12 games in a season where you've got to play good football every week to win, and when you don't you're going to lose. If you do have a bad Saturday, you just can't dwell on it, you've got to move forward because you've got a bunch of good teams waiting on you, and I was happy our team was able to do that."

How big was it for your defense to bounce back? You only allowed one touchdown against State, held them to field goals a couple of times, which if they had scored touchdowns could have been a different game. How big of a bounce-back was it for them? "I thought it was huge. I was disappointed at Clemson that we got beat as badly as we did. But I really expected our defense to play better. I really didn't -- I mean, as talented as Clemson is, I really expected our defense to play better. We gave up a ton of big plays and at times we looked like we had never been coached and just kind of lost our composure and didn't play good fundamental football, all those kind of things."

"But I really felt like this weekend, the nice thing was I thought our defense bounced back and played better, but I really thought our offense helped them out. It's really the first time, other than the second half at Army, it's the first time really that our offense has helped the defense out much at all, and we had a good, balanced performance I thought both offensively and defensively. We didn't play great all the time, but we played good enough on both sides of the ball to give each side a chance. Our defense got off the field enough to let the offense have some opportunities and the offense controlled the ball enough to give the defense a chance to rest."

"It was a good team game. It's the first really good game that we've had this season where both the offense and the defense helped each other out the way they should."


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