October 16, 2007

Don't Forget

After wallowing in the basement of the ACC for most of Wake Forest's history, head coach Jim Grobe has resuscitated the program since taking over in 2001. One of Jim Grobe's strategic plans in the development of the Demon Deacon football program has been his unique redshirt system, in which nearly every player is redshirted as a true freshman. Often times, when the season begins and the Deacs are making headlines on the field, the true freshmen are pushed to the back of Wake Forest fans' minds because they are out of the spotlight. However, these young student-athletes are making contributions to the team that are worthy of acknowledgement. Deacons Illustrated caught up with one such player, Brandon Pendergrass, to see how his freshman year is going.

DI: How's your freshman year going?
BP: It's going well. I've finally adjusted to everything and how it works.

DI: Did you know you were going to be redshirted?
BP: They told me that they want to redshirt everybody, that's just the plan. But they told me if you show enough, that they'll have to consider playing you. The first three weeks of practice, I was over on the scout team just trying to work my hardest. Then, before I knew it, because of some moves and injuries, I was practicing with the first team. And now I'm traveling to games just in case. The coaches talked to me before the season and said that there's a chance that I might play, but with how Josh and Micah are playing right now they don't want to use up my redshirt. If I am going to play, they want me to get a lot of carries; they don't want me to just get a few carries here and there. But if one of them goes down, they say I'll have to step in and take a big role.

DI: Is it tough having to watch all of these guys play?
BP: It is tough. But I dress for every game, which is rare here, and I'm glad I'm in the position to be able to prepare and get ready for the game in case they call on me.

DI: Do you think the redshirt will be beneficial for you in the long run?
BP: The redshirt can't hurt you; it can only make you better and make you hungrier for next year.

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