Wake Forest planning to start Price at QB
Wake Forest is making an early switch in its search for a successor to all-time passing leader Riley Skinner.
The Demon Deacons plan to start Tanner Price at quarterback for Saturday's game at No. 19 Stanford, relying on a freshman whose only real track record was playing well in relief of injured starter Ted Stachitas in the shootout win against Duke over the weekend.
''Obviously, he's a young guy and we're not trying to put too much pressure on him, but I think he's deserved that opportunity,'' coach Jim Grobe said Tuesday. ''It's a good thing. It's not like we had one guy play terrible and the other guy beat him out. I think we had two kids do some really good things (against Duke), but Tanner with his performance in the second half deserves the opportunity.''
Price completed 12 of 19 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns in the 54-48 win. He also ran for 56 yards and a score, with most of that production coming after Stachitas bruised his non-throwing hand in the first half.
Stachitas is scheduled to have another X-ray on his left hand this week. He is listed on the depth chart as Price's backup and Grobe said Stachitas might be able to play in some role against Stanford if needed, though the Demon Deacons (2-0) will learn more about his status as he goes through practice this week.
If Stachitas is out, redshirt freshman Brendan Cross would be the backup.
''He's very poised for a true freshman,'' flanker Devon Brown said of Price. ''He can go in and get the job done. ... He went out there and showed what he's capable of doing, that it's above and beyond what we all expected.''
The Demon Deacons knew it would be tough to replace Skinner, who led the Demon Deacons to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship as a redshirt freshman, then set nearly every school passing record before graduating last year. That meant Grobe's team would have to go back to its running routes this year, though Price's second-half performance against the Blue Devils inspired some confidence among his teammates.
''Tanner came in and it was almost like he was a fifth-year senior and he'd been there a long time,'' center Russell Nenon said. ''He was laughing, having a good time and encouraging people in the huddle. That's reassuring as an offensive line, because you know he's maturing.''