Wake Forest has its spring game at 1 p.m. on Saturday, so I caught up with coach Jim Grobe on Wednesday for an update on the Deacs' spring. Here are the highlights:
CONSISTENCY KEY: It's been a good spring for the defense, which he hasn't held back, and inconsistent for the offense. Grobe said he would like to see the offense close on Saturday with more consistency, particularly from the wide receivers. Grobe said the offense will make a good play and then follow with a busted blocking assignment, dropped pass or bad throw.
NAME YOUR PRICE: Tanner Price is the unquestioned starter, but Grobe said he liked what he saw from Ted Stachitas this spring. Stachitas eased Grobe's concerns about his durability, as he made every practice. Stachitas threw the ball better than Grobe expected he would after two shoulder surgeries on his throwing arm, and also showed he can run with it. Occasionally, Stachitas has to pull the ball down and get out of the pocket because of his size. Grobe said he's not looking for the quarterback situation to change, but option is part of the offense and would suit Stachitas better. Grobe said it wouldn’t be a problem to use Stachitas if he needed a spark for two or three series, but Price is the starter, and there's no doubt about it.
SOLID LINE: Grobe said the offensive line was "solid" this spring, and he liked what he saw from Brandon Pendergrass and Josh Harris, even though Harris missed a few practices with a hamstring injury.
SPEED ON D: One of the things Grobe was most pleased about was the energy on the defense. “That’s what’s been giving our offense problems, just the way the defense has been pursuing the football," Grobe said. "And they’re having fun. Sometimes they’re not going in the right direction, but they’re getting there in a hurry.”
KICKING CONCERNS: Punter/place-kicker Jimmy Newman sat out all spring with an injured hip, leaving the kicking game with an inconsistent walk-on. This is an issue that could extend into late summer for the Deacs. True freshman punter Alexander Kinal from Australia, and true freshman kicker Chad Hedlund from Texas could contribute as soon as they arrive on campus this summer. Grobe was told that rest this spring could be the answer, but there's no timetable for Newman's return.
LOOKING AHEAD: Grobe said he's not going to know what this team is truly capable of until Wake starts playing games. It's still a young group, but the players are all more comfortable with the system. Still, Grobe said he can tell from this spring that the Deacs are going to be a "much, much better football team."