What you need to know ...
know what they're getting from the Demon Deacon offense, but
will they be able to stop it? Wake Forest will run the ball and
run some more with a veteran, talented offensive line paving the
way for Micah Andrews and the stable of big, fast backs, but the
offense has to put more points on the board and that will only
come with a more efficient passing game. Ben Mauk doesn't have
to throw for 3,000 yards, but he needs to push the ball deep and
has to complete around 60% of his throws for the offense to
work. Nate Morton returns to lead an experienced, but average
Passing: Ben Mauk
85-158, 845 yds, 1 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Micah Andews
110 carries, 621 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Nate Morton
39 catches, 482 yds, 2 TD
Star of the offense: Senior OT Steve Vallos
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior QB
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OG Matthew Brim
Best pro prospect: Vallos
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Vallos, 2) RB Micah
Andrews, 3) OT Arby Jones
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, running back
Weakness of the offense:
Quarterback, offensive line depth
Ben Mauk has been around long enough to be an effective
all-around quarterback, but he has to be better than he was at
the beginning of last year when he had a hard time moving the
offense. After getting pushed aside for Cory Randolph, who
immediately showed more in the passing game, Mauk had to sit and
learn for most of the rest of 2005. Now the job is all his and
he needs to be efficient at spreading the ball around and
pushing it deep to open things up for the ground game. Allan
Holland and Brett Hodges are promising, but they're very, very
The key to the unit: Make enough plays to make
defenses not pay their full attention to the running game.
Quarterback Rating: 6
- Ben Mauk, Jr. - 85-158, 845 yds, 53.8%, 1 TD, 6 INT, 64
carries, 42 yds, 2 TD
Mauk started the first four games of the season and threw
relatively well, but he got benched for Cory Randolph when the
team needed a spark. It's not fair to blame the 1-3 start on
Mauk, but his four interceptions didn't help. He has the
experience to be more effective, but he has to be more efficient
and he has to be a bit more of a runner than he was last year.
As the only quarterback on the roster with any appreciable
experience, the team will sink or swim with him.
- Brett Hodges, RFr.
Hodges is the fastest, most athletic quarterback in the mix, but
he needs plenty of practice time. He doesn't have a huge arm,
but he's speedy enough to be an effective runner and should be a
strong passer on the move.
- Allan Holland, Soph. - 0-1, 1 carry, 6 yds
Holland is an interesting backup option with a bit more speed
than Ben Mauk and a live arm in a 230-pound frame. He has to hit
the field early on for a few snaps here and there just to get
his feet wet, but he's not going to knock Mauk out of the
starting spot unless disaster strikes.
Chris Barclay and his 4,032
career rushing yards and 40 touchdowns might be gone, but there
are plenty of great backs in place to keep the ACC's leading
rushing attack rolling. Micah Andrews showed last year that he
can crank out big yards when he gets the opportunity, and now
he'll be the main man from day one and a sure bet to hit the
1,000-yard mark if he stays healthy. De'Angelo Bryant and Kevin
Harris are big backs with tremendous speed, but they don't have
much experience. The fullback situation is excellent with Damon
McWhite and Richard Belton each able to blow open huge holes.
The key to the unit: Getting the speed of De'Angelo
Bryant and Kevin Harris in the mix right away to keep Micah
Running Back Rating: 7.5
- Micah Andrews, Jr. - 110 carries, 621 yds, 5.6 ypc, 1
TD, 7 catches, 71 yds
With Chris Barclay out for the 2005 season opener, Andrews
showed off what he can do by ripping off 254 yards and a
touchdown in the loss to Vanderbilt. He followed it up with a
64-yard day against Nebraska and a 142-yard effort against East
Carolina, but then he was pushed out of the spotlight when
Barclay got back in the mix and finished his season up with an
ankle injury before the Miami game. Now the job is all his and
he should shine. He's not as fast as Barclay and doesn't have
the same receiving skills, but he's more powerful and should be
- Fullback Damon McWhite, Jr. - 9 carries, 54 yds., 9
catches, 54 yds
All concerns about McWhite's injured knee suffered in 2004
quickly dissipated as he once again turned in an impressive
season as a key blocker for the ground game. He isn't used much
as a runner, but the 255-pound senior can provide good power
- De'Angelo Bryant, Jr. - 22 carries, 89 yds, 4.0 ypc,
Bryant was third in the pecking order behind Chris Barclay and
Micah Andrews, so he spent most of the year making an impact on
special teams. Now he'll be a major factor with a stunning blend
of speed and power with 4.5 speed in a 245-pound body.
- Kevin Harris, RFr.
Harris is a very big, very strong, very fast tailback option
with 4.5 speed, a 430-pound bench press and 230 pounds to pound
away with. He was a Florida state high school weightlifting
champion and now will be a key reserve in the rushing attack.
- Fullback Richard Belton, Soph. - 17 carries, 60 yds, 1
TD, 13 catches, 85 yds, 2 TD
Belton started the first few games of the season until Damon
McWhite got back in the mix and he turned into a solid
all-around back. He's not the blocker McWhite is, but he's a
strong runner with better speed.
Wake Forest will never be a big-time passing
team under head coach Jim Grobe, but it has to throw effectively
to open things up for the ground attack. Efficiency was the main
issue last year partly due to the quarterbacks and partly due to
ineffective play from the receiving corps. Nate Morton is a
reliable number one target, but he's not exactly going to
challenge for All-ACC honors. New receiver coach Tim Billings
has to establish the pecking order for the number two receiver
with Willie Idlette, Kevin Marion and Kenneth Moore all speedy
enough to stretch the field more than they did last year.
The key to the unit: Getting more big plays after
averaging only 10.3 yards per catch with a mere seven touchdowns
Receiver Rating: 6
- Nate Morton, Sr. - 39 catches, 482 yds, 12.4 ypc, 2 TD
The team's leading receiver for the last two seasons can play
either receiver position and will start out on the outside at
the X position. He's steady, but not spectacular growing into a
reliable number one target. He has 79 career catches for 1,033
yards with a mere two touchdown grabs. At 6-3 he has the size to
pose matchup problems, and now he has to make more big plays to
add more pop to the passing game once he gets over the broken
hand he suffered this off-season.
- Willie Idlette, Sr. - 10 catches, 86 yds, 8.6 ypc
One of the team's best all-around players over the last few
seasons as a kick returner and a runner, he needs to use his
speed to be more of a playmaking receiver. He's a sprinter on
the Demon Deacon ACC champion relay team, but he hasn't been
used as much of a deep threat on the football field. He'll get
the start at the Z position where he should have few problems
getting open in the middle of the field.
- Tight end John Tereshinski, Jr. - 8 catches, 54 yds,
The 240-pound junior has been part of the mix for the last few
seasons with good hands, but his real worth so far has been as a
blocker. He has the speed to become a dangerous target and
should be used more as a downfield receiver.
- Kevin Marion, Jr. - 3 catches, 67 yds, 22.3 ypc, 1
Marion has to be a consistent home run hitter using his warp
speed to be a game-breaker. He has a career average of 14.9
yards per catch, but he only has 16 catches with a mere three
last year. He's back in the mix after being suspended over the
final three games of last year.
- Kenneth Moore, Jr. - 8 catches, 127 yds, 15.9 ypc, 1 TD
Moore became a factor over the second half of the season getting
the starting nod against Clemson catching a 74-yard touchdown
pass. He has the moves to be a playmaker in the open field
playing behind Nate Morton at the X.
- Tight end Zac Selmon, Jr. - 10 catches, 120 yds
A variety of injuries have held him down so far, but he has the
speed and athleticism to be a top receiver in the mix. He's the
son of former Oklahoma star lineman Dewey Selmon. Lee Roy and
Lucious Selmon are his uncles.
The starting five should be dominant. Four starters return
with the fifth the experienced, 360-pound guard Chris DeGeare. Tackle
Steve Vallos is the star of the show, but tackle Arby Jones and guard
Matthew Brim aren't far behind production-wise. The coaching staff would
love to come up with a consistent rotation of as many linemen as
possible, but that might be tough early on with all the top backups
The key to the unit: Quickly develop the promising
redshirt freshmen to create some reliable depth. Better overall pass
protection would be nice after allowing 26 sacks last year.
Offensive Line Rating: 7
- OT Arby Jones, Sr.
Able to play either guard or tackle, the 285-pound senior is a
versatile, experience blocker who has grown into one of the line's
steadiest players. He'll start on the left side and should be an even
better pass protector thanks to his experience.
- OG Matthew Brim, Jr.
Brim started off his career at tackle before moving inside to guard.
He's a dominant run blocker with good athleticism. The 295-pound junior
isn't going to earn All-ACC honors, but he's growing into something
- C Steve Justice, Jr.
Justice was one of last year's biggest surprises starting every game
after spending most of his first season on special teams. He's a
good-sized blocker at 6-4 and 280 pounds and was stunningly
- OG Chris DeGeare, Soph.
The massive true sophomore was solid from day one of his freshman
season. While not the most consistent lineman, that was to be expected
with no experience, he showed why he's going to be one of the stars of
the line with tremendous strength in a 6-4, 360-pound frame.
- OT Steve Vallos, Sr.
The team's best lineman, Vallos can play either guard or tackle an be in
the mix for All-ACC honors at either one. He's a dominant technician in
the running game with quick enough feet to be an effective pass
protector. He's the one the running game will work behind for the tough
- T Joe Birdsong, RFr.
One of the team's top recruits a few years ago, the 290-pound Birdsong
will be expected to play a key role in the rotation on the left side
behind Arby Jones.
- T Jeff Griffin, RFr.
The understudy on the right side behind Joe Vallos, Griffin is a very
strong, very talented prospect who'll be groomed to take over a starting
spot next year.
- G Boomer Peterson, RFr.
Besides just having a fantastic name, Peterson is a great-looking guard
prospect on the left side behind Matthew Brim. He's strong and athletic,
but he needs playing time.