Wake Forest is less than a week into its spring practice period, and the Demon Deacons are hard at work to put the memories of last season's 5-7 (3-5 ACC) finish out of their minds as they prepare for 2013.
Head coach Jim Grobe spoke exclusively with Deacons Illustrated about changes within the offense, injuries and more.
What have the first couple of days of spring ball been like for you all? "A little bit sloppy. I don't know that that's unusual for most people. First time back on the field since the fall and we've been working hard in the weight room and doing agility and things like that, but no football, so a little bit sloppy."
"We typically try to work on new stuff in the spring, and we may not carry it to the fall, but we feel like that's the time to work on it, so we've got some new stuff in for the guys. We're not real sharp with it right now, but we got good effort, good energy, good attitudes with these guys, so I'm kind of happy where we are after a couple of days."
I know one of the newer things you told me about toward the end of last season that you wanted to re-implement was the read option with the quarterback. Is that something you're talking about? "Yeah, whether it's an option or pre-determined quarterback run whether it's a draw play or dart or something where we're letting the quarterback carry the ball a little bit … I think the thing that we probably became was too one-dimensional."
"We really got spoiled with Riley [Skinner] throwing the football, and we know Tanner's [Price] got a really a good arm, but I think we put all of our eggs in one basket as far as throwing the football. When we got some injuries, especially to some offensive linemen we had some issues protecting."
"And then when we got some injuries to a lot of wide receivers, really I think all of them were injured at one time or another and missed playing time we just didn't throw the ball consistently enough to win enough games. We're just trying to get away from hanging our hat just on throwing the football."
Going back to the offensive line you're probably having to break in a whole lot of new guys up there right now, because … correct me if I'm wrong, but I know Colin's [Summers] out indefinitely. Are Steven [Chase] and Antonio [Ford] still out? "Yeah, Steven and Antonio won't go in the spring. We're hoping to get those guys back by August. Antonio's maybe a little further along than they anticipated, but still a long way to go."
"I think Steven Chase, typical nine-month recovery, he'll be getting ready here before too long, but he won't get any spring practice in for sure and then Colin Summers with the issue with blood clots is kind of on-going. It's one of those things we don't feel real good about, but at the same time there still may be a little bit of hope for him, but we'll see. That's going to be down the road somewhere before that decision's made."
I know it's hard to really get an idea of things until you start having contact, but in terms of what you've seen from guys with the way they've worked out this off-season, maybe how they've shown up in practice ready to work has anyone surprised you? "I don't know if anybody's been a huge surprise. We've only been out there a couple of days, but one of the guys that has really looked pretty good to us is Orville Reynolds."
"I think moving him to the slot last year was a good thing, and now with Mike Campanaro down for spring ball he's getting the lion share of the reps at the slot position. In the first couple of days he just really looks like he's settled down a little bit. He's catching the ball better. He's just doing some really, really good things for us right now, so I would say he's one that probably that has kind of jumped out here in the first couple of days."
"I don't know if we've got anybody really yet that's done enough to stand out. I think probably Orville's stood out a little bit, because we've just for the first couple of days gotten the ball to him a lot."
Now, is Matt James able to do much for you, or is he still kind of limited? "Yeah, he broke his foot back in the winter, and is still in a boot and won't make spring practice."
Is Duran Lowe a full go with you guys? "Yep, he's full-go. He's got to do all the right things. He's got a long time before we kick off, but he knows he's got to be on his best behavior, which he is. I think he learned a valuable lesson. I'm expecting him to do all the right things and take care of himself on and off the field and get back in the mix."