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November 19, 2011
Wake-MD: Postgame Q and A's
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--- Following Wake Forest's 31-10 victory over Maryland Saturday afternoon in BB&T Field---which makes the Demon Deacons eligible for a postseason bowl berth---both head coaches and several players spoke to reporters.
Wake concludes its regular season schedule next Saturday with a non-conference home game against Vanderbilt, and then they'll wait several days before finding out its postseason destination and opponent on Sunday, December 4.
Wake Forest Head Coach Jim Grobe
On the victory...
"Other than our defense on that last possession in the first half, we played pretty well all night. All in all, it's a big win for us. We felt like Maryland would come in here and fight us, and I was really impressed with their kids. I thought they played with great energy and they had some great coaching tonight as well."
On the botched punt...
"I was really proud of our defense after that happened. I wish that Alex [Wulfeck] could've gone ahead and gotten the ball off quickly, but I think he was thinking about being a running back in that situation. It was a low snap and it hit the ground, but he's fielded a lot of those so I'm a little disappointed that it happened."
On the overturned calls throughout the game...
"I have to remind my coaches all the time that you can't get too upset about a call or a replay or something like that. I get steamed up once in a while, but you've got to keep playing when that happens. I was really confused about the one on our sideline when Zack Allen recovered the fumble. They ruled it an incomplete pass and that seemed confusing to me, but that happens sometimes. On the deep pass to Chris [Givens], we couldn't get a good angle on what happened.You've just got to keep playing."
On Chris Givens stellar performance...
"The great example about him is that he was sick tonight. He had a lot of congestion and he was having a lot of problems breathing. He really just had to tough it out; he was not physically one hundred percent tonight. In the past we might not have gotten that gritty kind of play out of him. In the first quarter, he was having some real problems, so it was really fun to watch him overcome being pretty sick like that."
On Maryland's defense...
"In the first half they were giving us a lot of what we call `nine-technique,' a player that lines up outside the tight end, and we weren't counting on a lot of that. Maryland had a good plan for us, and they were kind of forcing us back inside. As we got into the second half, we changed plays. We were trying to run some power early and they kept bringing an outside linebacker down to blow that up, so we started running some zone plays to get cuts back underneath. It was just a matter of choosing a different set of plays to go to in the second half based on what they had shown us."
Wide Receiver Chris Givens
On playing with an illness...
"I felt pretty bad. I had a headache this morning that kept me up all night last night. I couldn't sleep. Coach Galloway just told me that we don't have time for you to be sick, so I just blocked it out of my head and played."
On being bowl eligible...
"It's a great feeling. We had a 3-9 season last year. With all of the work that we put in since January, to reach this goal is amazing, especially for these seniors because they worked so hard. They didn't deserve anything less than this, so it was great to get the win for them."
Quarterback Tanner Price
On the play of Chris Givens...
"He did a great job today. The past couple weeks teams have been double-teaming him, and today they kind of eased off and there were some man matchups and we has able to play his game. He had a really great day as a result."
On being bowl eligible...
"It's great. It's the goal that we set for ourselves at the beginning of the season, and to be able to accomplish it is really exciting. We can't wait for the bowl game."
Running Back Brandon Pendergrass
On being bowl eligible...
"We are just very blessed by this opportunity. We have guys on this team that wouldn't accept having another year like last year so we stepped up. We had a lot of talks in the offseason about what we wanted and approached this spring and camp as an opportunity to change and worked extremely hard. We wouldn't accept anything but being bowl eligible this year. That's what we fought for and that's what we were able to accomplish tonight."
On turning the game around and jumpstarting the running game in second half...
"Despite how they have played against teams in the past, they're still a good team. We just knew as an offense that we had to come out and continue to execute our running and passing game. We weren't playing our best football at the start, but we were able to come out into the second half and execute runs.
The offensive line did a great job at on both run and pass protection, you cannot give those guys enough credit. Tanner Price also did a great job getting the ball out of his hand, throwing the ball, and getting the ball to his receivers. We just clicked in the second half."
Cornerback Merrill Noel
On what happened at half time to rejuvenate the team...
"We just came into the locker room, got together, and let each other know that we have each other's backs in every way and reminded each other how we wanted to finish this season. We didn't want to finish this season like we did last year. Last year we watched as everyone else played in their bowl games and we didn't. We want to be a part of one this year so that's what we put in our minds and came back strong."
On Chris Givens...
"Chris is an amazing, amazing player. He just knows how to step his game up in tough situations and put the team on his back. It's just a blessing to go against him every day in practice and get better through playing against with him. I know he is going to have an amazing future, he is a great teammate and individual player."
Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall
"It's very simple when you are 4-of-15 on third down and 0-for-4 in the red zone. When you have scoring opportunities and you don't take advantage of them, and you have a touchdown called back because of a penalty that puts you up, it makes it very, very difficult to win. Defensively we played very, very well in the first half, and in parts of the second half we gave up some big plays that hurt us. We had too many missed opportunities in order to win the ball game."
On the defense tiring in the second half...
"We didn't have as many guys rotating up front, and they were on the field quite a bit. I thought they played hard and did everything that they possibly could, but they might have got a little bit worn down."
On the team's inability to convert after the blocked punt...
"That's another example. We had two missed field goals. We had a touchdown called back, and then we missed the field goal after that which would have made it 14-13. I think that took a little steam out of us even though we didn't want it to, you just want to battle back even more, but then again, we couldn't punch it in. It's kind of like there at the end of the game. We had the dropped pass in the endzone. That was an exclamation point on what took place."
On the decision to punt from near midfield in the fourth quarter...
"It was still 14 points at that time. What we did was punted and them stopped them three-and-out, so we got the ball back. I just felt at that point in time we were still playing ok on defense and I didn't want to put the defense out there on a short field. I felt if we could pin them down that we would be able to get the ball back, and we did that. We got it back with time to be able to score, so I wouldn't have done anything different."
On the play of Quarterback C.J. Brown...
"I think C.J. did some good things out there. We had some dropped balls. The one thing that he is going to have to do is when he sees something open up, he's got to go and take out. Sometimes I thought he hung in the pocket just a little bit too long today. Overall, I thought he did some good things. He threw the ball pretty well, at times, and we had a chance to be able to make some plays down the field, but an inch here or an inch there away from catching them."