Greensboro, NC - Michael Campanaro and Justin Jackson addressed some of the woes that led to a disappointing finish for Wake Forest (5-7, 3-5 ACC) in 2012 and expressed their excitement for the upcoming season in part I.
The seniors are optimistic about the Demon Deacons potential for a successful 2013 campaign.
We've heard about rifts in the locker room and just disagreements. Have you guys come together? Have you guys sorted that all out and kind of all agreed to get along and step it up? Campanaro: "Yeah, definitely I think toward the end of the season last year you saw some of the players like myself and Tanner [Price] and Nikita [Whitlock] speak out after the [Vanderbilt] game just because I think we were more unhappy with what was going on with players."
"We didn't feel guys were bought into the program. I think we were just setting the tone for this year, and I think you've seen it in the off-season. Everyone's bought in."
"We have Coach [Jim] Grobe and coaching staff and they've won an ACC Championship and been to an Orange Bowl. Guys got to be bought in and willing to do anything for the team."
"I think last year you saw that we were just unhappy with the way the season was going toward the end of the season. We were just kind of calling guys out, but they responded and everyone's bought in right now. I think Justin would agree."
Jackson: "Yeah, I think everybody's bought in and we're all focused. For example, like years in the past we've had seven-on-seven's in the off-season [and] we've seen a lot of people take a step back and walk into the locker room, but now it looks like everybody's seeming to come out and want to compete and get better."
Michael, you guys seemed to have rotating list of quarterbacks for a while. A lot of it was due to injury and then there was the competition. What do you think separated Tanner [Price] from everybody else? What do you think one of his biggest attributes as to why he's still your quarterback? "I think the thing about Tanner is he can make every throw. I think his arm is one of the strongest in the ACC, and he can make the speed out on the opposite hash if he has too."
"He's a great player. Last year he started getting hit from places he wasn't expecting to get hit from. I'm not a quarterback, but I can only imagine what that will do to you when you're back there, so I think the biggest thing for us is establishing the run game this year. I think it will help out the passing game and protect him back there, because we know what he can do when he's got time back there. He can lead us to some big wins over some big teams, which he's done in the past."
A couple of years ago you guys went up against Syracuse in a non-conference game. You have them in your division in the ACC, several adjustments for both of you. What do you think about having them with you here in the conference now? Jackson: "Well, Syracuse that was one of my first games. I liked it as far as the atmosphere at the stadium, so [I'm] excited that we're able to come back and play them as they join the ACC."
Campanaro: "Yeah, the Carrier Dome's awesome. It's also an awesome atmosphere. We're excited to have them in the ACC as well with Pitt and Louisville next year."
"I was so excited when it said we were going back to the Carrier Dome this year just because of the way we lost sophomore [year]. We lost in overtime. We had a big lead. We had a lot of guys playing as sophomores and they're still playing, so we're definitely anxious to get back up there and play those guys. It should be a lot of fun."
Michael, you're asked to wear a lot of hats, very versatile player. Is that more physically or mentally draining and demanding? "I think it's a little bit of both. I think when it's time to throw the ball I think that's a lot of fun. It's not physical or demanding."
"I think I do well with taking in the playbook. From week to week the game-plan changes. I do well with learning all the different things I have to do that week."
"When you get back there and take some carries sometimes that could be physically demanding on your body. It might take a toll on things like that, but why I've just been putting in some work in the off-season just to get ready for carrying the load and things like that."
"I have a lot of fun with it though, anything the coaches ask. I'm always itching to touch the ball more if I can. Coach Lobo does a great job designing plays and schemes going against defenses."
We touched on that football fortunes by comparison to years past have been down a little bit, and then when you factor in what's happened with the basketball program and how fractured the fan base is how much are you feeling to give the overall Deacon fan base a taste of something that they haven't had in a long, long time? Jackson: "In the past they've had Orange Bowl teams and for basketball we've had teams be ranked top five in the nation I feel like it's really important to fans that we get back to winning, so that the fans have something to look forward to seeing every weekend and look forward to having really good programs come out of Wake Forest."
Campanaro: "I completely agree. I think haven't had some good seasons these past years. Going to the Music City Bowl was a lot of fun for the team and myself and I think it was awesome for the fan base. We had tons of fans out there in Nashville."
"I love our fans. They're awesome and they deserve to be going to a bowl game every year and watching us win more games than we lose. I don't think we're feeling too much pressure, but I think we're just going to go out there and play. I think we got a really good team coming up."
"I think the fans know it too. I think there's a little buzz around Winston-Salem right now. I think we're going to have a good year."
You guys kind of have a funky start to your schedule. You open up on a Thursday night. Week two is a Friday night, and then Saturdays the rest of the way. Can you sort of compare and contrast the difference between playing on a Thursday or a Friday versus playing on a Saturday when most people are watching college football? Do you have a preference with the all Saturdays or does it matter? Jackson: "The thing about playing on Thursdays and Fridays is you know that it's the only game on and that's what people are going to watch, so you really want to prepare very well for those Thursday nights and Friday nights."
"Also, it's a little bit different, because we're playing at night versus like on Saturdays you could be playing at noon or earlier in the day. It's a little bit different, but it's good experience."
Campanaro: "I'm personally a huge fan of night games and Thursday and Friday night games I think it's a lot of fun. I know the Boston College game will be on ESPN, so that's more of a national stage, which is good for our team. I'm a huge college football fan also, so we'll get a practice in on a Saturday morning and we'll just get to sit back and watch a bunch of games all day and catch some more ACC games, SEC games. That's a lot of fun, having some guys over just watching some games all day."