Wake to Brethren: Thanks for Nothing!
Wednesday, August 29, 2001
By Ron Cherubini
Deac Lineman and his Coach Give Props to
WINSTON-SALEM—In the verbal
tempest that followed a pair of careless July comments by North Carolina
State coach Chuck Amato and North Carolina's Ryan Sims, there is at least
one group of ACC football players who might well be be muttering to their
conference brethren a
collective, “Thanks a lot, guys!”
doesn’t have the luxury that Amato had when he complained that East
Carolina's practice of selectively admitting a handful of non-qualifiers
creates a so-called unlevel playing field versus the Pirates.
Amato, the Wolfpack doesn't face ECU again until a 2004 match-up in
The Demon Deacons
don't have the time UNC's Sims has, either. The Heels' defensive
lineman, who made unflattering remarks about the stature of the Pirate
football program, doesn't have to take the field to back up his words until
October 6, when his team hosts ECU in Chapel Hill.
Conversely, Wake must travel
to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to open its season on Saturday and its personnel
can't afford to play fast and loose with words.
approaching, the Deacon coaches and players are expressing nothing but
respect for the Pirates and excitement for the opportunity to test their new
system against a top-25-calibre team.
For the Deacs, ECU represents one of the strongest teams they will face
this year and a chance to see, right away, if they will have the mettle
to compete in the ACC.
“Right now, everything we are doing… everything we think
about… everything is
focused on that game at East Carolina,” senior offensive guard Mike Moosbrugger said
in an interview a few weeks ago. “To open against ECU, a team ranked 23rd in the
country (Sporting News) at a very tough place to play is all you can
ask for when you are a college football player.
"That game will
set the tone. In the past, I think a lot of guys had a tendency to look
ahead in the schedule (to the ACC games). But not for this game. ECU is our
Moosbrugger was a red-shirt freshman the last time these teams met—in a
25-24 Pirate victory that saw ECU needing a late Dan Gonzalez to Scott
Harley touchdown play to rally for the win.
So, obviously, the
'focus only on ECU' talk is not just rhetoric.
Take Moosbrugger for example. During his first three seasons, he played at
320 pounds in an offense that was predicated on straight-ahead power. That
was in the Jim Caldwell era.
Itself After Pirates?
In the new Jim Grobe regime, things are changing at Wake.
Like his mates on
the offensive line, Moosbrugger’s rallying cry is “leaner, stronger, and
faster.” The mammoth 6-7 O-lineman is down to 290 pounds and he is the fastest he
has ever been. Gone are the bench press numbers, giving way to the power
clean and squats.
Wake’s program is heading in a new direction and it’s one that might look
pretty familiar to the Pirate faithful.
One of Grobe’s first changes was to redefine the entire strength and
The new program focus is on fourth-quarter conditioning. Bench press numbers are not as important as squats and power cleans.
Speed development is at the top of the list. “We won’t lose games in the
fourth quarter.” Sound familiar?
Grobe’s Ohio teams were known for being rushing powerhouses. In fact,
Grobe’s Ohio club finished second to Nebraska last year in rushing offense,
using the option to tear up opposing defenses.
But at Wake, it
will be different. A more balanced attack is in the works, sometimes
employing a no huddle offense, designed for speed.
tackles. Quarterbacks run by design. Receivers are tall and powerful.
Running backs can hit the seam. Ever seen that before?
And the defense,
well, the defense at Wake is changing, too.
The Zone Blitz is
in. Linebackers become ends. Safeties become linebackers. No reading and
reacting, but rather, the dogs will be turned loose to get to the ball.
Though they won’t say that they are modeling their program after their
neighbors to the East, offensive line coach Steed Lobotzke did reveal one
thing: He was glued to the television watching the Pirates dismantle Texas
Tech in the GalleryFurniture.com Bowl.
“I watched that bowl game against Texas Tech,” Lobotzke
said. “That defense was incredible. The way they beat up Texas Tech was
"(ECU) is about as
tough an opponent to prepare for in a first game that there is. Scheme-wise,
they do a lot on defense. Their guys are never in the same place, they are
always moving. They make you try and put a body on moving targets. I’d
prefer an opponent that would line up and hold still for us.”
New Deac Staff
Didn't Inherit Empty Cupboard
Though Lobotzke had great things to say about the Pirate offense and David
Garrard, he had a tendency to keep taking the conversation back to the
“Against ECU, we are going to try and keep the offense simple,"
he said. "To run North
and South and see if our guys can get their guys tied up.
"If we can, we
should be able to run the ball straight ahead and pick the seams. If we
can’t get on those guys... right away we’ll know what it’s going to be like
Lobotzke and Moosbrugger
visualize the ECU game as an
opportunity to launch their season with a major statement.
“We sure could use a win against (ECU),” Lobotzke said. “Beating a ranked
team would give us a great deal of confidence heading into N.C. State and
Moosbrugger is anticipating the game as much as any in his career.
“We have a chance to make a statement,” he said. “A win at ECU will let us
know that we are going to be a good team. We want to be able to play with
the Florida States, the Georgia Techs and the Clemsons.”
noted that one thing Wake has going for it in
preparation for this game is its new-look defense. It's about 75
percent the same as the Pirates, he said, but he acknowledged that at this
early stage, the Deacons are not likely to be replicating ECU's efficiency and skill level.
That being said, Lobotzke
is not selling the calibre of Wake's players short.
“This team is not 2-9 talent,” he said referring to last season’s
disappointing campaign. “We should win a few more games than that this
Right now, they are zeroing in on the Pirates and only the Pirates.
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02/23/2007 02:07:26 PM