Noles News 10.06.11

Randy Spetman is one of the lowest paid athletic directors in the ACC. That seems right because he's one of the least qualified.

Miami has lost DT Marcus Forston for the season to a non-contact knee injury suffered in practice (likely an ACL). This is an enormous loss for the Canes. Forston was expected to leave after this year and be an early NFL pick. Now he'll have to come back in 2012, with questionable effectiveness. Or maybe he will rehab and turn pro anyway. In any case, Miami's defensive line is in trouble.

Here's the Seminole Headlines podcast. Excellent as always.

Five Good Minutes: Clemson Football Preview With Shakin The Southland - BC Interruption
A preview of this weekend's Boston College-Clemson football game with Shakin The Southland.

Exit Sandman: Virginia Tech Game Film Review - Shakin The Southland
Virginia Tech Game Film Review

2011 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. Miami - Gobbler Country
The Hokies will look to avoid third-and-long and stop Lamar Miller against Miami.

Seminole’s kicker Hopkins puts best foot forward - FSU -
Nice article by Patrick Nohe

FSU’s Bjoern Werner brings versatility to learning defensive line – Chopping Block – Seminoles Blog – Orlando Sentinel
Nice article by Coley Harvey. A bit of fluff, but Werner is really good.

Week Six F/+ Rankings - Football Study Hall FSU is 22nd. I wonder how much pre-season projection is still in this? Maybe Bill will come on here and answer.

More bad news for the embattled Boston College football team. BC coach Frank Spaziani announced... - BC Interruption

Wake Forest already getting pumped for Florida State |

The forecast is for clear skies with the temperatures in the 70s, the Dixie Classic Fair will be unfolding across Deacon Boulevard, and Wake Forest will finally unveil its 6,500 square feet video board atop Deacon Hill. ... The video board, which was largely constructed but not operational for Wake Forest's Sept. 17 game against Gardner-Webb, weighs 22 tons and has 1,512,000 total pixels and 2,625 LED modules. There are 190 JBL speakers in 30 cabinets weighing a total of 10,000 pounds and producing 110,000 watts of sound.

A look back on Merrill "Bud" Noel's interview with BSD - Blogger So Dear Excellent work by the boys at BSD

Report: Terps struggling with coaching transition - Some players are not buying in. Interesting and entirely expected with the new coaching staff. Mitchell: Gators Will Go 0-fer In October
CFN SEC Columnist Russ Mitchell breaks down the Gators' October, and it's not pretty. From July 20.

Miami Hurricanes undaunted by booing from fans - UM -
Coach Al Golden understands why fans were upset with his team's slow start Saturday, but says their boos won't affect what the Hurricanes do. Yeah, because there were only 20,000 fans at the game.

Chris Givens could shatter receiving records this year for Wake Forest - Blogger So Dear
He's very good. Very good.

Inside, I've posted the transcripts from Jimbo and Wake Forest HC Jim Grobe on the ACC Teleconference:

COACH FISHER: Good to be back in practice for game week this week. It was a well-received little rest we had. Got some guys healed up. Moving around much better. Feel very good. And look forward to playing a great Wake Forest team. Wake Forest is having a great year, playing very well. Doing a great job on all three phases; they always do. And we are going to have to prepare well, play well to have some success. Looking forward to the opportunity.

Q. What can you do better defensively coming off your last game against Clemson?

COACH FISHER: Well, I think we've got to be smarter, not give up big plays and not isolate ourselves. I know some of the big plays, be able to convert on the field. We have to get off the field on third down. Third down and long was a problem in the last game, whether it was a penalty or they converted, and we have to get better on third down defense. We need to play the run well, which we actually did in that game pretty well. But big plays on third down is the big thing we focused on.

Q. The pass defense, is that a big concern with Wake Forest?

COACH FISHER: Oh, yeah, Wake can throw the ball. They are throwing it very well and playing very well, and quarterback, receivers, do a great job. So it's definitely a concern, because Wake, that's one of their strengths.

Q. Could you just talk about Tanner Price and how much better he looks from last year? And do left-handed quarterbacks cause any different problems than going against right-handed quarterbacks?

COACH FISHER: Well, I just think when guys like to escape, used to playing a righty and guys usually try to escape to the right. And I think lefties, guys want to throw from your strong hand which is a big deal, whichever side you are, whichever hand you are, and I think from that standpoint, you have to be careful.

But he looks much better. He's throwing the ball with a lot of velocity, a lot of accuracy, good decisions, he plays alive with his feet, converting on third downs, understanding where things are. I've been very impressed with the film I've watched.

And the receivers I think have done a great job. They have got three guys, one guy, No. 2, [Chris Givens] he does a tremendous job of -- he's leading our league if I'm not mistaken in yardage per game. Makes great plays, scrambles well, coached well, getting holes, understands where the holes are, protect well.

But they do a really good job, I mean, they really do, and he's the key. Any time a quarterback can make those kind of decisions and those big-time throws just like did he last week on third and 15 to get them right back out of there, and the things he did; he's a playmaker.

Q. ACC has been a league dominated by defenses; do you see the worm kind of turning a little bit with your team and Clemson and Georgia Tech all putting together pretty good offenses?

COACH FISHER: Well, I think that comes and goes. I still think there's always going to be really good defenses because in the south, you're talking about defensive linemen. To me the key difference in the south is defensive linemen. This league has always had them, good corners. I think you'll always have that. But when you get experienced quarterbacks that can make plays, I think from that standpoint, it does -- that's when you can have your good years.

But I think defenses, they are always going to be a premium because you're always going to have great defensive players. A lot of that in my opinion kind of goes on how the quarterback does, and when you have a good one, it really makes a difference on offense.

Q. Can you talk to me about your offensive line in the sense that you're leading the league in passing, but your rushing offense is not that good, and your pass protection has been a problem; I think you're last in the league in sacks per pass. I just wonder, can you talk to me about the stability of that unit?

COACH FISHER: I think last week we pass-blocked very well. I think the first game, the sacks all came when Clint got in the game and recovered -- throwing away, took a couple. But last week I thought we pass-blocked very well until the last play in what we did. But I think they have pass-blocked really well, I really do.

Run blocking we just never had them. You have to understand, we never had Datko, Faircloth all spring, we only had him about a week of two a days, a week and a half of two-a-days and that's the first time they had played football. And they were all experienced guys, they had all been around, but they had not played because of injuries.

And where we were, then we put in a new center and new guard, and that continuity -- if you watch our tape, I mean, the runs are close. They are one guy. It's not like -- a couple of times we had missed assignments, but sometimes it's just one guy and that's how it goes. You have to continue to fight that fight until you can get that, and I think it does make a difference. But we have had an issue as far as that goes.

We have actually, I thought, pass-blocked well, I really do. Thing is, we have played two really good football teams the last two teams, too.

COACH GROBE: We had a good win up at Boston College this past weekend. Good for us to not only get a win against a good program that's had our number the past few years but also to get a win on the road. So it's going to be good to be back home.

But our biggest challenge to date is coming to town Saturday in Florida State, and we're going to have to play a little bit above our head, I think, to get this one. But I think our players are looking forward to it. Hopefully we can put a plan together and go out and play hard against the Noles.

Q. Are you surprised by the good start to your season, or did you see this coming?

COACH GROBE: Well, I said back at the ACC kickoff, I thought we were a much better football team than last year, so I really didn't have any thoughts about where we might be at this point. I felt like we were going to have a chance to win games this fall.

But we're 3-1, and that's a good thing for us right now. I would feel much better at 4-0. I wish we could have held on to the lead against Syracuse in the opener. But I think the main thing I'm happy about is our kids are playing hard right now. They're having fun and they're playing hard. We're getting about what we can out of these guys right now. I think, as a coach, that's what you look for.

Q. What is your assessment of your pass defense right now with Florida State looming?

COACH GROBE: It's an issue. These guys are so good. They've got such good skilkids, and Jimbo does such a good job coaching these guys. They've got two quarterbacks that are both very capable of beating anybody. So we've got our work cut out for us.

I think we've got to be smart and mix our coverages a little bit and try to at least keep them thinking a little bit when they're out there. But this is Florida State offense. Throwing the football is pretty impressive.

Q. In baseball they always say your momentum is today's starting pitcher. Do you have momentum right now? Is there momentum in football?

COACH GROBE: I don't think there's any question. I think probably momentum and confidence goes hand in hand. If you win, it makes everything better. Practice is easier and food tastes better, everything's better when you're winning.

I think we've got a little bit of momentum right now without question we've got our biggest challenge coming to town.

Q. Is confidence and experience the difference between the struggles you've had last year and what you've been able to accomplish so far this year?

COACH GROBE: Yeah, I think so. I think last year we got to the point where things had gone so badly that kids almost expect bad things to happen. When you're winning, you expect the opposite. You're going to make the plays and do things you need to do to win the game.

That's kind of where we are right now. We just made some plays to win some games that we didn't make last year. But, again, our players and coaches understand that we've got a fantastic football team coming to town in Florida State this weekend. So the challenge will be a lot greater.

Q. I know you've been high on Tanner Price. But are you even a little taken aback at how much he's progressed and grown since his freshman season?

COACH GROBE: Yeah, I have been a little bit shocked at how much he's matured. I think he got beat up so badly last year that we really saw some growth in him, but it was just so hard to determine because his supporting cast was not playing very well.

Of course, being a true freshman and getting thrown in the fire against nine bowl teams that we played last year, it's just really hard on him. Thought he went through the season really great because he didn't point any fingers. He took all the responsibility, and as much as he was being criticized, he never took the time to criticize any of his teammates.

Then we felt like he had a pretty good spring. Went into August and felt pretty good about him. But until you go against outside competition, you're never sure. Just the way he's handled himself he's spending a lot of time studying in the film room and being prepared for Saturday.

Then on Saturday to see the growth that he's made, especially from the standpoint of managing the game and being calmer. Just seems like the game has really slowed down. I know you hear that a lot, but it does seem like he's very comfortable back there right now. And probably getting slapped around as much as he did last year has helped him as much as anything.

Q. I know you're a guy that likes the power game and the ground game, but given what you've had with Riley Skinner and Tanner Price, do you think you'll become like a June Jones, Mike (Indiscernible)?

COACH GROBE: I don't know about that. I will tell you that Riley threw our whole plan upside down. We've always been a run-first, throw-second team. We flipped that now. We did it with Riley, and I didn't know that we'd ever find one that could throw it like Riley. I'm not saying Tanner's there yet.

But right now what's been best for us in the first four games is throwing the football. We'd like to run it better, but every Saturday when we go out, we go out with the idea to run and throw but if the throw game is what's been best for us, then that's what we're going to hang our hat on. I think that's the kind of team we've got coming in in Florida State.

I know Jimbo would like to run the football against us and we're no different. But if the throwing game is what's clicking, that's what you're going to hang your hat on.

Q. You mentioned Syracuse. I imagine that could have gone one of two ways. I imagine that could be difficult for the players' confidence. How were you able to bounce back from that game as well as you have? What was said in the locker room to make sure you put that out of your minds and moved forward?

COACH GROBE: We had a couple of those last year that kind of put our season in a tail spin. We had very close losses to Navy and to Georgia Tech last year, and our kids did not handle that very well. Of course, we were playing great teams every week, but we kind of spiralled down and kind of regrouped at the end of the year with the win over Vanderbilt.

But I think in the locker room after the Syracuse game there wasn't any panic going on. There wasn't a lot of yelling and screaming going on. We just pointed out the things that we were disappointed in.

We're very disappointed that our defense didn't continue to play. We really didn't need any offensive production when Tanner Price got hurt with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, all we needed to do is play good defense and we win the game. So it was just a kind of a team fold at the end of the game. We just didn't handle adversity very well. But that's all we talked to the kids about.

Then they bounced back the next week, and got a good win against N.C. State after. We did that by making plays in the fourth quarter, which we didn't make at Syracuse. So I think probably as much as anything it was just maturity. Our kids are a year older and just a little more mature and realize that losing a game wasn't the end of the world. We just needed to bounce back.

Q. What adjustments, if any, do you have to make if you have a left-handed quarterback? Are there any advances to having a left-handed quarterback?

COACH GROBE: Well, I don't know that there are any adjustments that we had. I think the biggest problem we had is Tanner throws the ball with some velocity. Our receivers last year were whining because they thought the spin of the laces was different and was causing them problems catching the football. But I had to laugh. I think the biggest problem is he just brings some heat when he throws the football, and you've got to getused to that.

Our kids aren't complaining right now. They're not complaining about the spin. They've just gotten used to knowing that the ball's going to be there in a hurry. They've got to focus and catch it.

But I don't think that we've done anything different with Tanner than we would with a right-handed quarterback. It's just that it's a little new. I think one of the things that happens with the strong arm that he's got is that once in a while when he decides to go back to his right throwing the football the kids don't get to see the ball as well as they do from a right-handed quarterback.

That would be the opposite problem of the kids on the left side with Riley, when he comes back to them, the ball's going to be on you pretty quick. So I think that was probably a little bit of a new thing for our kids. But I think we haven't game planned differently because Tanner's left-handed.

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