Quotes: Tommy Bowden and Jim Grobe
Head Coach Tommy Bowden: On Wake Forest's growing program under Head Coach Jim Grobe
"I think it is two things, the 85 limitation on scholarships and Jim Grobe. He's a good coach, and by that I mean he takes players and does things that give them a chance to be successful. Like their offense, there is a lot of misdirection and trickery with play-action passes deep. Defensively, he's hired a good staff. They play extremely hard. They are sound and challenge short throws and pressure you. They're well-coached and they have good players.
We recruited some of those players that wouldn't come here. He seems to be very humble. His team plays well. He is well respected in the coaching profession. I know our fans have finally accepted that because this is the first sellout ever (in a game against Wake Forest). Our fans have finally realized that this is a good team with a good coach. My respect for him came mostly when I went up there one year (2003) and got beat so bad and he could have put a lot more (points) on us, but he didn't."
On Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner
"He's a very productive player. He's one of those guys that went wasn't recruited that much. Charlie Whitehurst wasn't heavily recruited and neither was Cullen Harper. He (Skinner) is a little more mobile than both of those guys. He's throwing for 73%. He's a very accurate thrower. He has a lot of composure. He's productive and they put him in a position to make a lot of plays. He doesn't buckle under pressure at all."
On how Clemson will respond to the division title race
"I don't think our team sees it as pressure. We're going to try to put pressure on them at practice with a sense of urgency. Today's practice will be where we show new schemes and wrinkles going in on offense and defense. The pressure will be today. I would think most coaches would try to put pressure on their players on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. They have to play loose on Saturday. I think they understand the significance of a win on Saturday, but the pressure is on me and the staff."
On Wake Forest and its division title hopes
"They are the reigning (league) champions and you have an opportunity to repeat. So there are some advantages to that from an experience standpoint. They're very accustomed to close games and winning them. They play with an edge, and I think that is one of the reasons they're successful. The champions usually don't give the trophy back?you've got to take the trophy."
On Wake Forest's defense
"They challenge throws. They play us a little tighter in their coverage. You might be able to get some double cuts on them, but their rush is pretty intense. I think when you play hard you become opportunistic, because they're going to the ball. So, they get a lot of turnovers (ACC high 25 forced by the Wake Forest defense). The more guys you have around the ball, your opportunities increase, whether it's a fumble or a deflection."
On Wake Forest safety Chip Vaughn
"He's 6'2'', 220 pounds. He's like a linebacker, but plays safety. They put him in positions like NFL teams do and now many colleges are starting to do that. He's like Michael Hamlin in some ways. The safeties are glorified linebackers in certain defenses. It doesn't surprise me that he would be one of their top tacklers. He's a big, physical guy."
On Wake Forest kick returner Kevin Marion
"We're going to have a plan. We talked about him this morning and I talked to the team yesterday. You don't want to fear anybody, but you respect everybody. We had a tremendous amount of respect for Devin Hester when he was at Miami. We kicked away from him (in 2004) and we won the game. So we have a tremendous amount of respect for their punt returner and kick returner, and I think our coverage will give them respect. We have several things we plan on doing.
You have to have a little more courage when you're returning the ball. (Former Clemson kick returner) Justin Miller was fearless. Marion is fearless and has good vision."
On playing at noon
"I prefer the early game because of downtime. Sunday is a hard work day. It's a long season and you prefer your staff to be as fresh as possible. I think the crowd will be fairly electric because Wake Forest is the reigning champions. This is the first time that the Wake Forest game has been sold out (at Clemson)."
On Wake Forest's offense
"Their offensive coordinator does a really good job calling the plays. Both of their coordinators are really good. Coach Grobe has delegated authority to both of those guys. The fact that you really only see this kind of offense once a year, it's the execution and knowledge as well."
On the difference in Clemson wide receiver Aaron Kelly
"Experience has been the difference. He's a very conscientious guy and he's a serious player. He does have some talent, but again, he's a fourth-year junior, and I think experience has been the biggest thing. Cullen (Harper) is very accurate and has helped him."
On Clemson's offensive line
"Their knockdowns and cut blocks have increased dramatically. Thomas Austin had the most the last two weeks with 12 or 12.5, which is a lot. A lot of it has to do with experience and the comfort zone with the offense, making calls, and knowing who you are blocking with no hesitation or indecision. A lot of it comes with the addition of Thomas Austin at center. Barry Humphries is doing a good job at right guard. And Barry Richardson has played like an All-American the last two weeks."
Head Coach Jim Grobe:
On how the team practiced yesterday?
?Really pretty good. Kids usually bounce back a little quicker than the coaches do. We had good meetings yesterday, went over some of the mistakes that we made and had a good practice last night.?
On getting the loss out of the system quickly?
?Coaches can?t. You go back and look at all the calls that you made over the game, the opportunities that you had and maybe if you?d made a different call there or had a different thought there, maybe it would have turned out differently. So you?re really not only real, real critical of yourself, but you typically beat yourself up a little bit.?
On if the message board offensive coordinators bother him?
?People have good points. You look back, it?s always easy to do in hindsight, but when you?re on the sideline making decisions, you have to try to make decisions that give your kids a chance to win, and that?s what we try to do. We try to never make decisions that might please anybody but our players. We want to give our kids a chance to win, and every decision we make is with that in mind.?
On why Wake usually plays Clemson well?
?I hope we continue to play them well. We just haven?t won our share. We?ve beaten them. We just tend to play pretty well against Clemson. Maybe they scored 82 on us one time. I don?t know. Maybe something like that?s still lingering. We?re just a pretty competitive football team with everyone. It?s not just Clemson. Our kids compete really hard and never take anyone for granted. And for whatever reason, we?ve had really good efforts against Clemson, and I hope we continue that on Saturday.?
On Florida State knocking off Boston College?
?It kind of keeps the door open a little bit, but it?s also very discouraging because we had a great opportunity up at Virginia. We?d be in a great position right now if we?d won up in Charlottesville. It?s a tough league. Every Saturday, it?s really tough. We?re not playing anybody that isn?t capable of beating us, and we?re capable of beating them. It?s a real gut-check.?
On Clemson?s offense?
?Their quarterback is playing better than last year. He?s doing a good job. He?s completing a high percentage of his passes, a good quarterback rating. But the running game?s the thing that really concerns you. The thing defensively that you don?t want to have happen is for people to be balanced and have them run and throw on you. The throwing game scares you to death. But the thing that scares you in a hurry is the running game. As a defense, you have to start with the running game and then hope you can react to the throws. But they?ve had games this year where they?ve thrown the ball 60 times so they?re not afraid to throw it.?
On not scoring that many points against Virginia?
?It?s a concern because we play a lot of good defenses. Clemson?s a really good defense. The problem that most people have, when you lose a football game, you don?t really respect the football team. And Virginia?s a really good football team. I don?t think we?ll play a better defensive player than Chris Long. Their whole front was very athletic, a really good football team. And Clemson?s the same way. They?re very athletic, got some big guys up front. They play pretty good defense against everybody this year. And that?s what you tend to forget sometimes. You have to look at your offensive production, but you also have to realize who you?re playing against.?
On how far the program has come when people are upset about being 6-3?
?We had a great chance to win. There?s no one more ticked off than the coaches and the players. I know our fans expect to win. That?s a good thing. It?s good when you have expectations from the fans. And no one feels worse than we do, and we especially feel worse for our players. If our fans feel bad about a loss and they?re upset for our players, we?re ten times most upset for our players. We?ve got good kids. We want to give them a chance to win. And so when we don?t get it done, we don?t just blame the players. We look at our coaching staff probably harder than we do the players.?
On playing at Clemson?
?It?s a great atmosphere. I don?t know that it gets any better. I thought Virginia?s atmosphere was dynamite on Saturday. I think our kids enjoyed playing at Virginia; we just didn?t like the outcome. And Clemson?s going to be very similar. It?s very fun to play there, but it?s not a lot of fun if you come off the field without a win. We have to go enjoy that environment. It?s really tough, really loud, all those things. It?s an exciting place to play, it?s just a tough place to win.?
On Wake Forest's growing program under Head Coach Jim Grobe