Greensboro, NC - Jim Grobe is approaching the 2013 season with guarded optimism.
The 13-year Demon Deacon head coach knows the success of his team hinges largely on the quality of leadership his seniors provide this season.
Grobe spoke with most members of the media about that and more at the ACC Kickoff.
Your players talked about their eagerness going back to the Carrier Dome after what happened there a couple of years ago. Can you share your thoughts? Are you as eager to get back there? What about the Dome in comparison with other ACC venues will make it for teams to adjust to? "I'm not looking as forward to it as they are simply because I know they'll be good."
"It's a good football program, and they're going to have a good football team regardless of where we played them. Going on the road and playing Syracuse wouldn't be a picnic, but I think the Dome is something that will take some getting used to."
"Hopefully our guys that are seniors this year, maybe our juniors had an opportunity to play up there they've got a little bit more knowledge of what's going on when we go back up there. It's different."
"We played pretty good. We just kind of lost it there in the fourth quarter [in 2011] when Tanner [Price] got hurt. I thought we didn't play poorly. We didn't play great in the fourth quarter, but I thought we played okay. We had a chance to win."
"I think what they probably feel like is they need to redeem themselves a little bit. I think they feel like they had to win kind of almost in our grasp and let it go. My feeling is Syracuse took it, and that can be motivation too."
"It's a tough place to go play not just because it's the Carrier Dome, but because Syracuse is tough. It's just a different environment, and I'll tell what will really hurt teams coming in there if you got too many kids playing that will be a distraction. Older players got a chance to focus a little bit better, but I think that would be my biggest concern if I was a team going to Syracuse for the first time. Having your young guys go in there with a focus would probably the biggest challenge."
Your kids alluded to having to do a little in-house check themselves to get everybody on the same page last year. Is that over with? Where did it come from, and are you comfortable and confident with the cast you're bringing in this season? "I'm really kind of an old school guy. I'm really more of a Neanderthal, old block and tackle guy. Let's go get after it, but our seniors came to me after last season and I think there was a little panic going on, because I don't think wanted to see their senior year go the way last year went."
"To their credit they want more discipline. They want to have a bigger role in taking care of our football team, and it starts with being a good role model. I think they have to be the guys that are positive all the time that don't have any negative thoughts running through their head and especially coming out of their mouth and they've got to set an example in the weight room and in practice and in every way, their classroom behavior, their social behavior, all those type things, so I think our senior class right now is a little bit on a mission."
"I think they understand that as coaches we're going to be around our guys three hours a day, maybe four in August, but for the most part our players have to control the discipline of the football team. I'm not going to go back and live in the locker room with those guys, so if your seniors don't take care of business then there's only leadership going on for about four hours a day and the other 20 your team's got a chance to go in any direction. I think our seniors feel a great responsibility now to make sure that we're focused and staying on track."