2008 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Football Preview
Wake Forest's 2007 Record: (9-4, 5-3 ACC)
2007 Bowl: Meineke Bowl vs. Connecticut (W 24-10)
Wake Forest Head Coach: Jim Grobe (46-39 at Wake Forest, 79-72-1 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steed Lobotzke
Defensive Coordinator: Brad Lambert
Returning Leaders for Wake Forest:
Other Key Returnees: LB Stanley Arnoux, LB Aaron Curry, CB Brandon Ghee, OT Jeff Griffin, QB Brett Hodges, LB Chantz McClinic, G Barrett McMillin, S Kevin Patterson, DE Matt Robinson, K/P Sam Swank
Key Losses: OT Louis Frazier, C Steve Justic, WR Kenny Moore, TE Zac Selmon, DT Zac Stukes, TE John Tereshinski, DE Jeremy Thompson
Last season proved that Wake Forest’s 2006 success was no fluke and that the program will continue to be a contender in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The success was not as substantial, but still the Demon Deacons put together a nine win season and hung in the Atlantic division race. With a host of defensive players returning and a majority of the skill players on offense, Coach Jim Grobe will look to take the next big step this year.
Wake Forest's Strengths:
Nine starters return to a defense that only gave up 22.2 points per game. The front line needs a little retooling with the loss of end Jeremy Thompson and tackle Zac Stukes, but there is talent ready to replace those guys, most notably tackle John Russell who had plenty of experience playing off the bench last season. Stanley Arnoux and Aaron Curry will lead the group of linebackers and are a couple of the most experienced players in the conference. The secondary returns all four starters, including cornerback Alphonso Smith who had a tremendous junior campaign. The pass defense was not great last year, but it should be a strength this time around.
Wake Forest's Weaknesses:
The big losses are on the offensive line where just two starters return. Replacing Steve Justice at the center spot is the most pressing concern. Junior Trey Bailey will give it a shot, but nobody is simply going to replace the conference’s top blocker. The starting o-line should be fine, but there is a major lack of depth and, if injuries strike, the entire offense will have some issues. Quarterback is not much of a weakness after Riley Skinner led the NCAA with a 72.4 percent completion rate. The problem is Brett Hodges and Ryan McManus are ready to step in and take away Skinner’s starting job. Skinner does what the team needs him to do, but will not create a whole lot of offense on his own.
The Bottom Line for the Demon Deacons:
With Skinner’s efficient quarterback play and a quality tight end like Ben Wooster, the offense just needs a decent running back to be effective. Enter Josh Adams. As a freshman Adams rushed for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns and is expected to become one of the top backs in the conference now that he has a year of experience under his belt. For those times that the offense does not get into the endzone, the Demon Deacons boast one of the best kickers and punters in the nation with senior Sam Swank.
2007 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 143.23 (69th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 197.15 (84, 8)
Total Offense: 340.38 (93, 6)
Scoring Offense: 27.85 (58, 4)
Rushing Defense: 109.38 (15, 4)
Pass Defense: 231.00 (66, 9)
Total Defense: 340.38 (27, 6)
Scoring Defense: 22.23 (28, 7)
Turnover Margin: .69 (18, 3)
Sacks: 2.23 (49, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.15 (67, 5)
By Joel Welser
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