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2013 Wake Forest Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 22, 2013


CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Wake Forest Offense


Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Preview 2013 - Offense

- 2013 Wake Forest Preview | 2013 Wake Forest Offense
- 2013 Wake Forest Defense | 2013 Wake Forest Depth Chart
 
What You Need To Know: In an effort to address its woeful offense, which ranked 117th nationally last season, Wake Forest plans to pull out all the stops in order to ignite the running game. More option-based plays, fewer restrictions on the legs of veteran QB Tanner Price and expanding the job description of the wide receivers will all be in play. Heck, if senior RB Josh Harris could simply remain healthy enough to log 200 carries, the Demon Deacons might not have to become so inventive. But prior history indicates that the senior will miss time in the fall. With help from star slot receiver Michael Campanaro, Price wants to recapture his 2011 form, when he calmly flipped 20 touchdown passes to just six picks. Last season, though, he was inaccurate, in part because of an injury-tattered O-line that did not block at an ACC level. Unfortunately, all indications are that Wake will be every bit as overmatched in the trenches as it was last season.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Tanner Price
228-410, 2,300 yds, 12 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing: Josh Harris
137 carries, 608 yds, 5 TDs
Receiving: Michael Campanaro
79 catches, 763 yds, 6 TDs

Star of the offense: Senior WR Michael Campanaro
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore RT Dylan Intemann
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Deandre Martin
Best pro prospect: Campanaro
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Campanaro, 2) Senior RB Josh Harris, 3) Senior QB Tanner Price
Strength of the offense: Veteran starting quarterback, protecting the ball, red-zone efficiency
Weakness of the offense: Scoring, durability, chunk yards, third-down efficiency, the O-line, wide receiver depth

Quarterbacks

Yeah, the Demon Deacons absolutely need more from the quarterback position this season, but there’s a certain solace and comfort that comes with the return of long-time veteran behind center. Tanner Price begins his finale in Winston-Salem with 34 career starts and a chance to leave with a duffel bag of school passing records. However, he did regress a year ago, completing 228-of-410 throws for only 2,300 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven picks under constant duress. Just a year earlier, he’d thrown for 20 scores and more than 3,000 yards, with only six interceptions. The 6-2, 205-pound Price is a dinker and dunker, a poor man’s Kellen Moore, who flashes good mobility and poise, and does his best work on short and medium routes.

In the race to back up Price, 6-2, 210-pound junior Patrick Thompson holds a lead on 6-3, 230-pound Kevin Sousa. While Thompson has a good feel for the program and the offensive system, his experience is limited, going 5-of-6 for 21 yards a season ago. Sousa has a higher physical upside than Thompson, but just needs to play with more consistency. He was a three-star recruit in 2011, who’d originally committed to play for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan.

Watch Out For … Sousa to eventually pull away from Thompson, gaining an early edge in competition to supplant Price in 2014. The sophomore is a work in progress in Winston-Salem, but he has a better arm and more athletic ability than any of the Deacon reserves.
Strength: Experience. At the most important position on the field, Wake Forest will hand the ball to a quarterback with 34 career starts on the resume. Price is a veteran leader, who knows the offense leads by example and usually limits his bad decisions. He’s the proverbial coach in the huddle, a luxury for this program.
Weakness: Spreading the field. Price is at his best when he’s throwing darts on short and intermediate routes, carving up the defense. However, he doesn’t have a big arm, which means those defenses can press up to shorten the field. The Demon Deacons ranked 96th nationally in completion percentage and 122nd in yards per pass attempt.
Outlook: Wake Forest needs to see the Price who was a borderline All-ACC performer in 2011, rather than the one who was ineffective as a junior. As he goes, so goes the offense. The staff would also like to see Price run the ball a little more in 2013, something that dissipated once he started getting bounced around. The fate of the offense rests on the left shoulder of No. 10, a daunting challenge, but one he just might be up to.
Unit Rating: 7

Running Backs

The entire Wake Forest backfield needs to step up this season, including senior RB Josh Harris, the ACC’s leading active rusher. While he’s no doubt a talented runner, he’s only been able to show it in spurts throughout his up-and-down career. Is he the 5-11, 210-pound workhorse who went for 241 yards on Virginia Tech in 2010, 136 yards against Florida State in 2011 and 129 yards versus Army a year ago? Or is he the Demon Deacon who’s had a history of spending more time in the trainer’s room than in the huddle? At his peak, Harris is a tough and patient between-the-tackles runner who led the team on the ground with 608 yards and five scores on 137 carries a season ago.

The battering ram behind Harris on the depth chart is 6-2, 235-pound sophomore Deandre Martin. He’s a tough and physical one-cut runner, with the strong base to drag tacklers for additional yards. As a fine complement in the running game last year, he rushed for 484 yards and six scores on 128 yards. Martin also caught 16 balls for 135 yards, and completed 3-of-4 passing attempts.

For a different look, especially on third downs, the staff might turn to 5-9, 190-pound redshirt freshman Josh Wilhite. He’s quick and explosive, providing a timely alternative to Harris and Martin.

Replacing long-time veteran FB Tommy Bohanon, a New York Jets draft pick, will be 5-10, 235-pound junior Jordan Garside, a stocky, no-nonsense letterman appearing in eight games in 2012.

Watch Out For … the health of Harris’ hammies. New year, same worry. The senior is one of the ACC’s better every-down backs when he’s healthy. Of course, he’s only healthy on a sporadic basis. His nagging hamstring problems are a big reason why he’s carried the ball more than 20 times in a game on just three occasions over the last three years.
Strength: Depth. In Harris and Martin, the Demon Deacons boast a pair of tough inside yards who are good enough to start. Both are at least 210 pounds, with 100-yard rushing games on the 2012 brag sheet. Sure, Harris has lacked durability, but Martin is becoming increasingly comfortable in an expanded role.
Weakness: Consistency. At their best, Harris and Martin give Wake a formidable and assertive one-two punch between the tackles. Unfortunately, both are at their best only occasionally. This is a hit-or-miss unit being held back by durability issues, a lack of long runs and poor blocking.
Outlook: Wake Forest is going to do whatever it takes to run the ball better in 2013, including taking the reins off the quarterback. While Harris has an All-ACC ceiling, it’s time for him to begin showing it on a weekly basis. If he can finish strong, and Martin can serve as a 1A out of the backfield, the Deacons are capable of finally matching production with potential.
Unit Rating: 7

Receivers

In WR Michael Campanaro, the Deacons house one of the most underrated offensive threats in the ACC. Now all the program has to do is surround him with more support. The senior is an exciting playmaker, which every opponent on the schedule knows. Still, Campanaro is just so difficult to contain from the slot, finding a soft spot in the zone, and then making defenders miss with a sharp plant and cut. While only 5-11 and 190 pounds, the All-ACC Second Team selection is not bashful about crossing the middle, has strong hands and will pack on extra yards with slippery open-field moves. Despite missing all or part of three games last fall, he still caught a team-high 79 balls for 763 yards and six scores, adding a touchdown run and a touchdown pass.

Junior Orville Reynolds plays the same position as Campanaro, flanker, yet will need to find a way on to the field. Voted the most improved player of the spring, he routinely brought a spark to the passing game as the starter rested an injury. While very quick and elusive at 5-9 and 185 pounds, he had a difficult time earning touches, a situation about to change in 2013.

The program has some large options at the other wide receiver spot, like 6-5, 205-pound junior Brandon Terry and 6-5, 220-pound junior Matt James, but none with much relevant experience. Terry is the favorite after starting seven games and catching 15 balls for 290 yards, most of which came in the first half of the year. James has only four career grabs for 18 yards.

Sophomore Sherman Ragland III, a starter in seven games last year, was held out of spring practices for disciplinary reasons. The program is hoping to have his jets and solid 6-2, 195-pound frame back on the field in the summer. He was third on the team in 2012 with 23 receptions for 247 yards.

The program is looking for more from tight end after senior Spencer Bishop had more starts, four, than receptions, three. The 6-2, 240-pound former walk-on is a tireless worker and a quality blocker. However, he remains ripe to be overtaken by 6-3, 245-pound junior Daniel Vogelsang or one of the three-star recruits from 2012, strong> Anthony Rook or Zach Gordon.

Watch Out For … the wide receivers to get more involved with the running game. The flankers, Campanaro and Reynolds, in particular, will be asked to take some direct handoffs and occasionally handle the ball on fly sweeps. Both players can bring pop to a ground attack sorely lacking it.
Strength: The flankers. Campanaro is head and shoulders above the rest of his teammates at the position, making good things happen whenever he’s around the ball. He’s an NFL talent surrounded by mediocrity on the offensive side of the ball. Reynolds is an emerging threat off the bench, another of the team’s undersized playmakers.
Weakness: A dearth of talent. Campanaro is special, but look at what happened after he suffered an injury last fall. The passing game crawled up into the fetal position. Reynolds is going to help, but the rest of the wide receivers and the tight ends will allow defenses to gang up on the flankers.
Outlook: Campanaro is an all-star, with 100-catch potential on a different team. But he needs more help in Winston-Salem. Wake Forest has to make opposing defenses pay for giving too much attention to No. 3. Whether it’s Ragland or Reynolds or Terry, one of the Wake Forest wide receivers needs to emerge into the kind of 50-catch, five-touchdown weapon that helps unclog some of the congestion for Campanaro.
Unit Rating: 6.5

Offensive Line

The O-line was a menagerie of youth, injuries and inconsistency in 2012. Changing last season’s dismal trend will be no small chore for second-year assistant coach Jonathan Himebauch. Wake Forest must first address the void at center now that Garrick Williams has graduated. Senior Whit Barnes is shifting inside to his natural position after starting 10 games at left guard and one at right guard in 2011. The 6-3, 300-pounder did his best last fall, but is eager to return to the pivot.

Filling Barnes’ void at left guard will be 6-4, 310-pound junior Antonio Ford, who started six games in 2012, four at left tackle and two at left guard. He’s done rehabbing a broken leg, a powerful blocker at his best when he can maul opponents in confined spaces.

No Wake Forest offensive lineman has started more games than Frank Souza, an 11-game regular at right guard in 2012. The 6-4, 310-pound senior is back at his familiar spot, determined to bring both leadership and competent blocking to the interior of the Deacon front wall.

At tackle, there’s cautious optimism that senior Steven Chase is healthy enough to man the left side. He’s recovering from a torn ACL, an injury he endured as a three-game starter last fall. At 6-6 and 315 pounds, he has good size and arm length, but will need to shake off a thick layer of rust in the summer.

Over at right tackle, the blindside of southpaw QB Tanner Price, 6-5, 310-pound sophomore Dylan Intemann is set to take his game to a higher level in 2013. The former three-star prospect started the final four games of last season, gradually improving as the campaign came to a close.

Sophomore OT Hunter Goodwin started last year’s finale against Vanderbilt on the right side, and will serve as a valuable reserve on both sides of the line. The raw 6-6, 300-pounder wants to use 2013 as a chance to increase his snaps and laid the foundation for a starting gig next year.

Watch Out For … the fate of OT Colin Summers. The talented 6-5, 315-pound junior started 11 games in 2012, but his career is in serious jeopardy. He’s having problems with blood clots in his lungs, a situation that transcends football for the Demon Deacon.
Strength: Front line experience. The only good thing that came out of all of last year’s injuries is that they forced inexperienced players, such as Intemann, off the sidelines. As the starting lineup currently stands, each of the projected regulars started at least three games in 2012.
Weakness: Winning the line of scrimmage. Wake Forest ranked 113th in rushing and 81st in sacks allowed, a direct and undeniable indictment of the offensive line. The Demon Deacons have far more scars than stars up front, a mediocre group being held together by trainer’s tape and bandages.
Outlook: Wake Forest’s quest to evolve on offense could get derailed by this ensemble, a sketchy bunch of blockers that isn’t even healthy to achieve any sustained continuity. Worse than being blue-collar, without the luxury of a true anchor, the unit is also fragile and inexperienced beyond the starting five. The Deacons will again struggle to open holes and protect the pocket for Price.
Unit Rating: 6

- 2013 Wake Forest Preview | 2013 Wake Forest Offense
- 2013 Wake Forest Defense | 2013 Wake Forest Depth Chart