In what has become a bit of an annual event, head coach Jim Grobe has called into question the toughness of somebody/a sector of his football team. This time it is the offensive line that has drawn the ire of Coach Grobe. This comes from Dan Collin's latest My Take on Wake article, published yesterday afternoon:
"He’s a tough guy, a tough guy,’’ Grobe said. "That’s what he brings to the offensive line. He’s not playing as good as he’s going to be playing, but he gets better every week. He’s got a good, tough, hard-nosed mentality to him. He’s a really great addition to that offensive line. That’s what our problem is with a couple of the other kids. They’re just not very tough. They’re kind of soft. Everything gets them—hangnails, chapped lips, diaper rash, all that stuff gets to them. They get paper cuts and they’re out for a week. That kind of stuff.
I figure that I'd throw my two cents into this discussion because everybody has an opinion about everything these days.
Click through the jump for my take on Jim Grobe's most recent comments.
Last year it was running back Josh Harris that drew Coach Grobe's criticism, but it is really becoming something that we hear once or twice a year from Grobie. There has been a fair amount of debate on Wake Forest message boards in the past about whether or not this kind of stuff is uncalled for or not.
On one hand it is football and when we recruit these guys we want them to be healthy and give it their all. On the other hand, the coaching staff recruits the players as well and if somebody has a legitimate injury and cannot play then they simply can't play.
I thought last year it was pretty unfair of Coach Grobe to call out Josh Harris for the injury that he sustained against Florida State. I know that JRoc has battled injuries for most of his career and is seemingly on the sideline as much as he is on the football field, but if you are a running back and speed is your greatest asset, a pulled hamstring can prove to be pretty problematic for a long time.
It is also one of those things where you can test it in practice and have it feel alright, but then when you get out in game speed you just can't give 100% out there mentally with the pain that's being felt.
This year the offensive line has had a myriad of injuries, from hand/thumb injuries, to a torn ACL/meniscus, to a strained calf. The torn ACL that Steven Chase suffered is obviously the most severe of these and is a legitimate injury rather than just dealing with some pain for a bit. I would hope that Coach Grobe is not calling Chase out because he is giving his all to try to be back on the field and play with his injury.
I seem to think of his comments this week as wood for the fire of the offensive linemen. They haven't been playing that well, especially in the run blocking game, and perhaps the coaching staff feels they lack the "nastiness" required to be an offensive lineman (this has also been an apparent issue for a while with the Deacs linemen).
When the Deacs went to the Orange Bowl we had a ton of injuries and had a ton of guys step up. I maintain that the reason we were so successful that year, and in subsequent years, is that we had players out there that wanted to play. These guys were 6-to-3 players, not 3-to-6 players as the late, great Skip Prosser would say. Right now, I think that Coach Grobe believes we have some 3-to-6 players that want the glory but don't want to put in the time and sacrifice to get there.
I want to go on record and say that I'm perfectly fine with the statements that Coach Grobe has made and what he is trying to do. He wants to motivate his players to get out there and prove him wrong. If they can't get hyped up on their own accords then maybe it takes some extra motivation to put them over the top.
If you look at his comments then it is clear that they could apply to nearly everybody on the offensive line with the exception of Frank Souza. He's not calling anybody out, but rather a collective group of players. Honestly, if you are a player that looks at these quotes and think "man he might be talking about me", then you are probably one of those players that needs to take a look in the mirror and see what more you can do to help the team. If you are doing your best and putting forth 100% at all times then you are going to keep doing that anyway.
As long has Coach Grobe doesn't call out individual players (like I thought he unfairly did with Josh Harris last year), I have absolutely no problem with statements like these. Especially if it yields a nastier, meaner offensive line, which is what the Deacs need going forward this weekend and the rest of the year.
The bottom line is that this is football. The players that man up and take this to heart will help out the football team going forward. The ones that get their feelings hurt and shell up and don't perform aren't the guys that need to be out there anyway. This is a good way to separate the men from the boys and get the guys out there that the Deacs need to be on the field.