#81 Wake Forest Football Preview

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Overall Rank: #81
#12 Atlantic Coast Conference

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2010 Record: (3-9, 1-7)
2010 Bowl: None
Coach: Jim Grobe (62-60 at Wake Forest, 95-93-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steed Lobotzke
Defensive Coordinators: Tim Billings and Brian Knorr

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Josh Harris, RB, 720 yards
Passing: Tanner Price, QB, 1,349 yards
Receiving: Chris Givens, WR, 514 yards
Tackles: Cyhl Quarles, S, 71
Sacks: Kyle Wilber, DE, 6.0
Interceptions: Daniel Mack, S, 2; Kenny Okoro, CB, 2

Other Key Returnees: WR Devon Brown, WR Michael Campanaro, QB Skylar Jones, OT Dennis Godfrey, OT Doug Weaver, DL Nikita Whitlock, DE Tristan Dorty, K Jimmy Newman

Key Losses: RB Josh Adams, WR Marshall Williams, LB Hunter Haynes, LB Matt Woodlief, S Alex Frye

Two years removed from a run of three straight bowl games, Wake Forest was in full rebuilding mode in 2010. The Demon Deacons endured numerous blowout losses as they trudged through a difficult schedule. But in the process, several promising young players earned valuable playing time, which should help position Wake Forest for a more competitive effort in ’11.

Win or lose, you can always count on Coach Jim Grobe’s team to run the ball a lot. That should again be the case this season because of two key factors. First, Wake Forest returns all five starters to the offensive line, including four seniors. But a bigger factor could be running back Josh Harris, who burst upon the scene as a freshman last year with a 241-yard day against Virginia Tech. Harris now stands as the focal point of the Demon Deacons’ offense, and if he soars past the 1,000-yard mark then Wake Forest will be a much more formidable team. On the other side of the ball, the Deacons are woefully undersized, but they do boast athletic playmakers in defensive end Tristan Dorty and linebacker Kyle Wilber, both seniors.

You name it, it was probably an issue for Wake Forest in 2010. The running game, while solid, lacked consistency. The passing attack was virtually nonexistent, although quarterback Tanner Price did flash potential as a freshman. The biggest issues were on the defensive side, as the Demon Deacons finished near the bottom of the nation in both total defense and scoring defense. Several youngsters were thrown into the fire by Coach Grobe out of desperation, and the results were often ugly. In particular, freshman cornerbacks Kevin Johnson and A.J. Marshall were routinely picked on. Johnson was declared academically ineligible for the ’11 season, but talented Dominique Tate, who had to sit out last year because of grades, is poised to step in. Wake Forest is hoping that a switch to the 3-4 defense will help mask its weakness on the line, but stopping opposing offenses still figures to be a daunting challenge for the Deacons.

The Bottom Line:
It’s almost hard to believe that just five years ago Wake Forest won the ACC title and played in the Orange Bowl. Coach Grobe failed to capitalize on his program’s moment in the sun by drawing in quality recruits, and that shortcoming was obvious last year as the Demon Deacons were forced to play youngsters who probably were not ready for the big time. After enduring their lumps, those battle-hardened players should perform better this time around but not enough for Wake Forest to make a meaningful improvement on last year’s three-win mark.

Projected Bowl: None

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 158.50 (54th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 143.83 (114, 11)
Total Offense: 302.33 (108, 11)
Scoring Offense: 22.75 (91, 11)
Rushing Defense: 192.50 (99, 10)
Pass Defense: 238.17 (92, 11)
Total Defense: 430.67 (101, 11)
Scoring Defense: 35.83 (110, 12)
Turnover Margin: .00 (55, 7)
Sacks: 1.83 (75, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.17 (77, 8)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings
#50 Kyle Wilber

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