I have waited 4 days to write an article on the Syracuse game because of how infuriated I was at not only the result, but how the game went down. Wake Forest was the better team for 3 1/2 quarters and lost, and we should not have EVER lost that game to Syracuse. We should have been up by way more than 15 points with 8 1/2 minutes left in the game, but we were not. This is not a "blame game" article, because there is plenty of blame to go around.
I will likely crank out a couple of opinion articles tonight to express my thoughts on the game.
After the articles today/tonight, I will never speak of the Syracuse game again, and will instead move on to the positives of the Syracuse game, and the N.C. State game, because I think we have an excellent chance to "upset" the Wolfpack.
I went camping this weekend and had time to think about all the facets of the game, and for the most part avoided public perception/friends influencing how I felt about the game. This article focuses solely on the Tanner Price
Click through to read my thoughts...
The Tanner Price Injury Situation
First of all, let me say that Tanner Price played a fantastic game on Thursday night. While he had 18 completions compared to 13 incompletions, I don't think that stat line captured how valuable Price was to Wake against Syracuse. Of his 13 incompletions, I think that only 1 or 2 gave a Syracuse defender any chance to intercept it, and that chance was extremely remote. Most were overthrows, or put in a spot where only a Wake Forest receiver could catch it. I was extremely impressed with him, and if it were not for Tanner Price, we would not have been close to winning the game.
With 12:09 left in the game, Tanner Price got hit by DE Chandler Jones as he was throwing a ball downfield to Terence Davis. Jones was lined up as the NT for the play, and went all the way around the left end to hit Price. To me it didn't look like holding on the play, and I can't really discern who the penalty was on. I am guessing Doug Weaver on the right side who blocked the end behind Price. It was a 3 man rush due to the game situation (3rd and 19 from the 21).
Price was down for about 3-5 minutes, and then walked to the sideline under his own power. The people that I was in the room with all agreed a knee bruise/sprain, but nothing that looked like ligament damage. Now of course, we are not at all doctors, and none of us want to be. We do all watch too many sporting events, and have seen our fair share of ACL/MCL/PCL injuries. I am aware that ACL injuries can be walked on, but that is not usually the case.
As we all know, Price was not put back in the game, and Ted Stachitas was the 2nd stringer. We now know that Tanner Price has a sprained knee and will probably be the starting QB on Saturday against N.C. State. What we apparently have conflicting reports of is what the medical staff told Tanner Price and Jim Grobe.
Price said the following after the game:
"I tried to get back in there," said Price, who had his helmet on and was running on the sideline in hopes of returning. "The doctors said I’d be all right, but the coaches said it’s a long season and there’s no point in further hurting yourself."
Grobe said the following after the game:
"I don’t know,’’ Grobe said. "It’s just something we can’t judge. When he came off the field, we were really worried. And then after we checked his knee, I think Dr.(David) Martin and everybody that looked at him thought `Hard to tell.’ But I think probably the feeling was that it may not be as bad as we thought initially out on the field. Hopefully that’s the case. We’ll have to get back home and do an MRI and all that stuff to know how seriously he’s hurt.’‘
and then this to Dan Collins in his My Take on Wake
"The kid’s a great kid,’’ Grobe said. "He wanted to go back in the game. We could have let him try but I didn’t think it was worth it.’‘
Sooooo Tanner thought he could go back in and wanted to go back in. According to Tanner, the doctors said he was ok, but according to Coach Grobe, the doctors were not sure. It is likely that the doctors told each of them different things, but that is not very likely either.
What it boils down to me is a bit of hypocrisy in Coach Grobe's philosophy. A TON of stuff has been made thi pres-season about our guys not being "tough" enough, and "needing to get back out there", even when they are banged up. Heck, Dan Collins wrote an article about this last week before the game in "My Take on Wake"
"We have a deal,’’ Grobe said. "The trainers and doctors take care of the players, and I make fun of them and push them to come back. That’s our deal. And the players know. I tell them. I say `My job is not to be nice, but we want you healthy and we want you taken care of.’.
"When one of our guys goes down, they don’t convince me they’re ready to go, they’ve got to go convince Don (Steelman) and Greg (Collins) and the doctors that they’re ready to come back. That’s totally up to them. As soon as they can come back and perform at a certain level, they’re going to let you go.
"It’s kind of a good situation. I like staying out of it. I like to make fun of them and kid them about being soft and not tough and those kinds of things. But in reality, we all want the same thing. We want the kids taken care of.’‘
Now I understand that there is a difference in having tight hamstrings, and having a knee injury. It is hard for me to fathom that Tanner Price was told that his knee is alright, he is ready to go back in, and then the same coach that has been harping on playing through injuries and showing toughness, refuses to put him back in the game.
What does that say to a kid the next time he gets injured? It will certainly make Coach Grobe's cry for player's to hurry back from injuries ring a little hollower next time he says something about it. I am not a doctor. I was not at the game, nor in the conversation to hear what the trainers had to say about the knee. I am also aware that a kid's health is much, much more important than winning any football game. It is just hard to come to terms with why this decision was made, and is also terribly frustrating.
Coach Grobe said yesterday that he expects Tanner Price to play on Saturday against N.C. State. Hopefully he will be able to play all 4 quarters and lead the Deacs to a victory against the Pack. We will update the injury situation as we hear news and keep everybody up-to-date.