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July 28, 2012Jim Grobe said Tanner Price is not Riley Skinner, but Wake Forest is now his team.
Like Skinner, Price was also thrown into the fire early and was forced to learn and grow under pressure.
However, as a redshirt freshman Skinner completed 171-260 passes for 2,051 yards and nine touchdowns to five interceptions as Wake won the ACC Championship and made an Orange Bowl appearance on its way to an 11-3 finish, while in nine starts as a true freshman Price completed 137-241 passes for 1,349 yards and seven touchdowns to eight interceptions as the Demon Deacons stumbled to a 3-9 (1-7 ACC) record for the worst season of the Grobe era.
"We should not have played him [Price] as a true freshman, but our two older guys got banged up," Grobe said. "In Tanner's case he's not going to get knocked around anymore than he did as a true freshman and if he makes the same improvements that he did from his freshman year to his sophomore year, then going from [his] sophomore year to [his] junior year I would expect he's going to play better for us."
"I think that was a tough transition that freshman year, but I think last year he got Riley behind him."
Price said he did have to follow in Skinner's footsteps, but does not feel any pressure. He added the journey has been fun.
After earning his stripes as a freshman Price broke out as a sophomore, completing 253-422 passes for 3,017 yards and 20 touchdowns to six interceptions as Wake finished 6-7 (5-3 ACC) with an appearance in the Music City Bowl.
"I think each year my confidence continues to grow," Price said. "I feel much more comfortable in our offense. I'm looking to continue to make strides and get better each season."
"The real big thing that I've learned is that it requires a lot of work and dedication if you want to be a successful player. You have to be willing to put in those extra hours and give up a little bit of your time to be successful."
Price's preparation and development as a quarterback began early in life under the tutelage of his father, Steve Price, who played quarterback at Division II Southwestern Oklahoma State and had a brief stint with the Denver Broncos as John Elway and Gary Kubiak's understudy before moving to wide receiver.
"The biggest thing with my dad he never pressured me to play football," Price said. "It was always a decision he wanted me to make on my own. Whenever I wanted to go play catch with him he was there for me. It's been a blessing having a father like that. The relationship we have is very special."
The elder Price was his son's coach all the way up till he entered high school at Westlake, where he led the Chaparrals to a 13-3 record and to the Texas State 5A Championship game.
Price's success can largely be attributed to a combination of having a father who taught him the fundamentals of the game, competing at a high level of competition at the prep level in football-crazed Texas along with the opportunity to play early at Wake Forest.
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