Losing to Duke in football is a tough pill for an ACC head coach to swallow. While the Blue Devils are improved in recent seasons, there is still a stigma attached to dropping a game to the perennial ACC bottom feeders.
As Wake Forest fans hang their heads this week after a tough loss to Duke on Saturday, Demon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe took the blame for the loss in his weekly press conference.
“I thought I was making a good decision when we took the holding penalty and moved them out of field-goal range,’’ Grobe said. “But in hindsight I was stupid, because really all they need’s a 10-yard dink and they’re right back where they were. I should have gone ahead and declined it and let them kick the field goal and we go in with the lead at halftime. I think part of you as a coach wants to be aggressive and you say `No points. Let’s take them out of field-goal range and now make the punt instead of kick the field goal. But even if they don’t get the first-down there, and go in and get the touchdown, they’re going to hit one for 10 and kick from the same spot. So I wasn’t very smart in doing that.
“And at the end of the first-half we’ve got a little over a minute to go and you think `OK, let’s get going.’ But you know we tried to do that last year with Virginia Tech and turned it over and they scored a touchdown and go up seven going into half. And we’d just turned the ball over with (Terence Davis) getting hit, and they scored off that. So trying to decide when to be really aggressive and when to be overly conservative is, again, that’s not science either. You want to try to put your kids in position to win.’
Unfortunately for Wake, Grobe and the coaches put them in a position to lose last weekend.
Some coaches won’t admit the strategy was wrong, but rather focus on the result coming up short on a given week. At least Grobe saw the error in his ways.