Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Wake Forest not taking Elon lightly
By Heather Dinich
Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
Wake Forest redshirt freshman receiver Chris Givens had been unfamiliar with the truly angry side of coach Jim Grobe -- at least, that is, until halftime last week.
Grobe, whose calm sideline demeanor more often than not reflects a patience not many FBS coaches have, caught his team's attention quickly last Saturday when the Deacs entered their locker room trailing Stanford 17-3 at the half.
"It was something I have never seen before and I liked it,” Givens said. “I liked how we responded to it as a team and that second half is something we can really build off of. I think the second half is what he was looking for out of the team because he knows we are capable of doing better than what we did in the first half. We really felt like we let him down and that's a hard feeling for an athlete when you feel like you let your coach down. So we had to come out in second half and prove that we were a better team."
As one of the older players on the team, redshirt senior offensive guard Jeff Griffin knew Grobe meant business.
"It's been awhile since I've seen him like that,” Griffin said. “He wasn't as mad as he was when we played Vanderbilt back in 2005 and Jay Cutler beat us up a little bit. But he was pretty upset. I think it was good, it got us fired up. We came back and beat Stanford so I'm sure he was excited about that."
The Deacs came out and scored 21 unanswered points in the second half against Stanford, and they're looking to sustain that effort level against Elon, an FCS team from the Southern Conference that entered this season ranked No. 11 in the FCS Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 poll. The Phoenix finished 8-4 last year, and are off to a 2-0 start this season.
Considering Maryland almost lost to JMU at home this past weekend, Florida State got a scare from Jacksonville State, and both Virginia and Duke lost to FCS teams in Week 1, Grobe and the Deacs aren’t taking this game lightly. It’s their last nonconference game before starting ACC play at Boston College on Sept. 26 -- the start of four straight weeks of Atlantic Division opponents.
“We've pointed out about 15 games this season already where I-AA teams have either beaten I-A teams or been within a field goal or a touchdown,” Grobe said. “Everyone made a big deal out of Appalachian State beating Michigan a couple of years ago, but I think we've gotten to the point now where a I-AA beating a I-A team is not an upset anymore. It's something that's almost become expected. Our guys need to understand that this is an 11th-ranked Elon team that is very talented and would like to come in here to beat us."