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Wake Forest Preview Further Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 31, 2006


Wake Forest Demon Deacons Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – Winston Salem’s version of Thunder and Lightning – Perhaps the most underrated back in college football was Wake Forest’s three time thousand yard rusher Chris Barclay.  After a magnificent career as the leader of the Wake Forest offense, Barclay is out of eligibility, and the Demon Deacon running game is going to look a lot like the model the Men of Troy put on the field out in LA the last three years.  With LenDale White and Reggie Bush, the Trojans had Thunder and Lightning.  At Wake, the Deacs have DeAngelo Bryant and Micah Andrews.  Now, these two have a long way to go to truly emulate the former USC duo, but the similarities are interesting to note.  Andrews is the son of former Atlanta Falcon star running back William Andrews and has future star written all over him.  The 215 pounder is a solid blend of speed, quickness and vision, and should be the feature back as Bush was last season.  But, after you’ve chased Andrews all over the yard in the first quarter, ‘Thunder’ Bryant (okay, so he’s really nicknamed the Bus, but the Taxi and the Bus don’t work as well together) comes into the game.  The 245 pounder is the bruising back who is so different from Andrews or even Barclay that he’ll present a dichotomous, shall we say, ‘situation’ for ACC defenses.  Considering how difficult it already is to stop Wake’s ‘multiple’ offensive scheme, things just got a little tougher for defensive coordinators from Boston to Miami.

2nd and Seven – An Introduction is in order – There aren’t many football fans, casual or passionate, who know the name Jon Abbate.  The two year starter at linebacker has led the Deacs in tackles for the past two years (a total of 177 tackles for his first two years) and if he can stay healthy, he should be atop the tackle charts throughout this season for the Deacs.  At a rock hard 245 pounds, Abbate is a throwback who loves to put a hat on, and through, ACC ball carriers.  It’s alright if you didn’t know who he was, just remember you heard his name here first.

3rd and Three – The Foundation – As an offensive coordinator, especially one who doubles as the offensive line coach, Steed Lobotzke must sleep awfully well at night, knowing how ‘stocked’ his OL cupboard is for 2006.  Four starters return, including All-ACC candidate tackle Steve Vallos, which would make any coach happy, but there are six talented redshirt freshman who’ll push for playing time.  In Lobotzke’s offense, the OL ‘synergy’ is paramount to its success and with this offensive line, the Deacs have their Foundation in place.

4th and One – Final Four – Although most Wake fans would like to see the words ‘Final Four’ next to the words ‘basketball team’, the Final Four spoken of here is the Wake secondary, a group that, like the offensive line, is bolstered by its experience.  Safety Josh Gattis is one of the best safeties in the nation and should vie for first team All-ACC honors at safety along with Miami’s Brandon Meriweather, among others.  He’s a playmaking hitter who’ll knock you into next week or turn a fumble into six points.  Alphonso Smith, at one corner position, got better nearly every week and will be an even better corner this year…and he was a first team freshman All-American last season (trust me, you come from Pahokee, FL, you can play).  Patrick Ghee mans the other safety position, a guy who was third on the team in tackles with 65.  Riley Swanson and/or Kevin Patterson will hold down the other corner and both of them had plenty of playing time last season.  It’s like 1962 all over again with this final four.