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November 21, 2012

Jim Grobe

JIM GROBE:  Thanks.  We really had a tough time this past weekend in South Bend.  Notre Dame is a pretty good football team, and I don't think we played our best football.  But we were very impressed with Notre Dame, and obviously one of the best if not the best team in the country right now.
Didn't play very well.¬† We really need to bounce back this week.¬† Important game for us.¬† We know that for us to be in a Bowl game we need to win Saturday, so I think we'll have a good effort out of our kids.¬† We've just got to play a lot better than we have been playing, a really talented and well‑coached Vanderbilt team.

Q.  Given your history with the ACC back to Virginia, I wanted to get your perspective on your reaction to Maryland going to the Big Ten.
JIM GROBE:¬† Well, it's disappointing for me.¬† I have total confidence in John Swofford to handle the situation, but going forward, you know, I played against Maryland when I was at Virginia, and we've played against them all the time since I've been at Wake Forest.¬† So it's going to‑‑ it's disappointing to me, but hopefully Maryland can benefit from the above.¬† Apparently they think that's going to be good for them, and I hope that all works out.
But being old school, you kind of get used to some of the status quo that doesn't exist much anymore.  The conferences are changing so much, and I think with Maryland leaving, for a guy that played against them back in the early '70s, I've been familiar with Maryland for a long, long time, so I'm sad to see them go.

Q.  Tom O'Brien said he'd like to see an old guys versus new guys league when they figure out who the replacement is going to be.  Do you think the realignment might be a good idea with old guys versus new guys?
JIM GROBE:¬† Well, it's fine with me.¬† You get comfortable with the old guys, people you know, and I think that's one of the things that will probably be a challenge for Maryland going into the Big Ten.¬† They're not going to be familiar with the people they're going against, and I think you do get a little bit‑‑ maybe not comfortable because everybody is pretty good, but you get a little familiar with everybody, and so I think that's probably a good idea on Tom's part.¬† I don't think that's going to be the overriding factor.

Q.  You said Daniel Mack's foot was still giving him problems.  Just curious to see how he did last night in practice, and also, have you heard from trainers and medical staff on Colin Summers and Josh Harris?
JIM GROBE:  Yeah, you know, with Daniel Mack, he's practicing.  I think he's still a little bit tender, his foot is, and so he's having to be careful.  We haven't practiced Colin Summers, we haven't practiced Josh.  I think in Colin's case, he's not cleared up yet, so that's a concern.  And in Josh's case, we really don't know much because he's been sick.  So the combination of being sick and not being really able to test him for his concussion has kept him out.
I really don't know what to tell you yet.  I think we'll have a better idea after practice tomorrow.  But right now Daniel Mack seems to be a little bit better.  Hopefully by Saturday he'll be full speed and ready to go, and the other two guys have not practiced, so we'll just kind of see how that goes over the next couple of days.

Q.  Also, depending on Josh's status, does that mean more action for Tyler Jackson?  I know you said you liked some of the things he did at Notre Dame.
JIM GROBE:  Yeah, he did a nice job.  We've always liked Tyler as far as his ability to get his shoulder pads squared up and head to the goal line.  He's a good football player, and right now we would be starting Deandre Martin, and Tyler is his backup, so I would expect that if Josh can't go, Tyler is going to get some snaps Saturday.

Q.¬† How have you ended up playing Vanderbilt in the last game, and what would be your preference along those lines, conference or non‑conference?
JIM GROBE:¬† You know, it's a little bit of a challenge honestly just to play anybody after Thanksgiving.¬† You know, it's a deal where all your students take off on Tuesday and you're keeping all your guys around‑‑ probably a little tougher on the freshmen, especially red shirt kids that aren't going to really get in the game but have to stick around to practice.
But I like it.  I think it's nice to get your conference schedule out of the way, and if you're going to play one after Thanksgiving, I think it's good to play one out of conference.  It's a little bit of a roll of the dice depending on how strong anybody is.  Vanderbilt, of course, this year is playing lights out and done great in the SEC and they're a really good football team.  Probably my biggest concern is just playing a good football team rather than who we're playing.

Q.¬† Obviously the most important thing for you is the Bowl eligibility of this game.¬† Now, it's one of four ACC/SEC match‑ups this week.¬† Does that kind of thing even cross your mind at all, that hey, if we win this not only are we Bowl eligible, we've beaten a pretty good SEC team and kind of a plus for the ACC?¬† Does that factor in at all?
JIM GROBE:  Well, I think so.  I think that our first priority is to take care of the Deacs and try to win a football game against a really, really good football team.  Vanderbilt has done a great job not only playing in the SEC but outside the league, and it's a really good football team.  So that's our No.1 concern.  But I think any time you go out of conference, whether it's the SEC or any conference, you'd like to represent the ACC well.
So I think that's a factor, but I don't think that's the number one factor for us right now.  We know our backs are against the wall, and we need to get a win.  So we know Vanderbilt is a great team, SEC, all those kind of things.  But bottom line is we've got to find a way to get a win, and that involves taking care of our own football team more than who we're playing.

Q.  They wore you out pretty good last year.
JIM GROBE:  Oh, man.

Q.¬† Are they even better than that team or‑‑
JIM GROBE:  Yeah, you know, I think they've got nine starters back on the offensive side of the ball and seven starters back on defense, and the thing that's so remarkable about this football team is I think Coach Franklin and his staff are doing a really good job coaching these guys, but on defense they have a 11 juniors and seniors starting for them on defense, and eight juniors and seniors starting on the offensive side of the ball.  So this is not only a talented team, but most of these guys are back from last year, and you can see it against the teams that they've played, this is a much improved Vanderbilt football team, a very veteran football team, and typically when you've got older guys, when you've got juniors and seniors out there playing you, you not only have experience but you have toughness, and that's what we see in this football team.  And their punter and kicker are back that did a good job last year, a couple of better specialists in the SEC.
So this is just not only a well‑coached football team, but this is a veteran, tough, hard‑nosed football team.¬† They're better than they were last year, there's no question.

Q.¬† I understand you'd much prefer to get Bowl eligible by winning this Saturday and getting a sixth win, but have you been following the situation that you guys because of your APR may be eligible at a 5‑7 record?¬† Are you aware of that, and if so, what's your reaction to that?
JIM GROBE:  Well, you know, one of the guys yesterday in our press conference mentioned that.  I am not aware of that, and I have not really followed that.  I do think that we're not a bad football team.  We've played three top ten teams, we may have just played the No.1 team in the country at the end of the season, at least now they are for sure.  So we've played a really rugged schedule.  We've played Bowl teams, we've played three top ten teams.  But I think more than anything else, we're just focused on trying to win Saturday.  I don't think we ever focus on anything else.
I think our players are going to come out and play as hard as they can.¬† We know we're playing a really talented well‑coached Vanderbilt team.¬† But I don't think that's a factor for us right now.¬† I think our number one thought is trying to win Saturday.

Q.  I'm obviously not informed as to how good a chance it would be or not be, but in the sense that you might be in this position because your APR has been so good, is that a positive for the football team?
JIM GROBE:¬† Well, I don't think there's any question.¬† You know, we're proud of being an academic school that's playing in a big‑time conference.¬† I think that's something that we feel is important.¬† Wake Forest is tough academically.¬† The classes are tough.¬† So it sounds‑‑ you assume that an academic school should have a good APR, but in fact it's harder to have a good APR at the tougher schools because the classes are tougher.
So I think we're proud that we've got a good APR, but right now we're about playing football.¬† We're looking forward to Saturday, and we know it's going to be an uphill climb.¬† We're playing a heck of a team, well‑coached team, but I think the thing that our players are focused on right now which is good is we're not focused these next couple days on our APR, we're focused on playing football.

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