Wake Forest is a week into its fall training camp, and much has happened that will shape the Demon Deacons this season.
Deacons Illustrated discussed the first week of practice with some of Wake's coaching staff.
Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Brian Knorr
It's hard to get a look with just helmets and shorts. Shoulder pads makes it's a little easier, but what are some of your impressions of the defense in general? "A little disappointed … I think we're playing with great enthusiasm, flying around, but a little disappointed we haven't turned it over as much as we'd like to. That's something we hung our hat on last year is to be able to increase our turnovers now. We didn't get as many as we wanted, but a lot more than the year before. That's our challenge this year and so far we're close, but we haven't gotten the turnovers we needed."
So what needs to change for that to happen? "I think just understanding your opponent, understanding the defense a little bit better and just getting a little bit better break on the ball and that will come with time. Plus being able to actually get after and hit a quarterback."
Outside Linebackers Coach Derrick Jackson
What are your goals for the outside linebackers these next few days of practice, especially in the first scrimmage coming up? "I think they're all kind of short term and the first thing is always come back with I want to see our guys first and foremost in great stances. I want to see them with great technique in terms of footwork, hand-placement [and] eye-discipline. I want to see them when we get an opportunity to make plays to finish plays."
"We talk all the time about not missing a layup. [There is] nothing worse than when I got a shot to make a game-changing play [and] I'm in position and don't finish. So seeing those guys again get more negative yardage plays whether that's in the run-game and then definitely as we talk about pass-protection we have to be better at breaking down people, winning our one-on-one battles, getting more productivity out of that position, because I think we have guys who are very capable, but the stats haven't shown them producing. And again at the end of the day you can do everything right, but if you're not productive then we don't have the right guys on the football field."
Head Coach Jim Grobe
On Godspower Offor: "Ray [McCartney] tells me he thinks Godspower has improved a lot since spring practice. Godspower and everybody but Nikita [Whitlock] in there at the nose position is getting washed around too much, playing too high and that's a problem Nikita doesn't have."
Passing Game Co-Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Tom Elrod
What are some things that you think people could expect to see from Tanner Price this year in terms of something he didn't do last year, maybe running it a little more? "I don't know if we're going to wear him out as a runner, but I think just continuing for him to evolve. I think accuracy is something that where we were pretty good last year. We'd like to improve that even more, and then there's always wrinkles we're going to look at in the throw game whether it's play-actions and things like that to allow him some more time."
"And I think just us emphasizing running the football better, if we can run it better it's going to help him even more. In an ideal world we'd run the ball a little bit better."
Now, you've been around some really good quarterbacks. How's he different from a Riley Skinner? "The obvious one is size. He's a little bit bigger than Riley. He is very effortless with the way he throws the ball. A lot of guys have to put a lot of effort into it, use their core. He's just blessed with a very, very strong arm and he can make throws that other quarterbacks can't make. He does have the strongest arm I've ever coached. It's an elite level, NFL-type arm. That's a difference; not everybody's got that, so that's the main thing that sticks out."
"He's similar to Riley in that he's a great kid off the field, but likes the game of football and takes great pride in being good and really doesn't like to make mistakes. You can tell it's not just that Coach yells at me it's a man I can't believe I made that mistake when I knew I shouldn't have made that."