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2007 Wake Forest Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 22, 2007


Preview 2007 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Offense

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 Wake Forest Preview | 2007 Wake Defense Preview
-
2007 Wake Forest Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Wake Forest Preview 

What you need to know: Wake Forest will never come out and outbomb anyone, but it'll run effectively behind a veteran offensive line, get the timely passes when needed, and won't screw up. The attack only averaged 21.6 points per game and was 96th in the nation in offense, but there were only 15 giveaways. QB Riley Skinner is back after helping the offense lead the ACC in passing efficiency, but everything will revolve around the ground game with several good runners and four starters returning up front. The receiving corps will be an issue needing to move 2006's leading rusher, Kenneth Moore, back to his natural receiver position.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Riley Skinner
171-260, 2,051 yds, 9 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Kenneth Moore
105 carries, 507 yds, 2 TD
Receiving: Kenneth Moore
32 catches, 314 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Senior RB Micah Andrews
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior WR Kevin Marion
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman RB Josh Adams
Best pro prospect: Senior C Steve Justice
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Justice, 2) Andrews, 3) WR Kenneth Moore
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, running back
Weakness of the offense:
Wide receiver, offensive line depth

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter: All sophomore Riley Skinner did was come in off the bench for an injured Ben Mauk and complete 66% of his passes for 2,051 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions while leading the team to the ACC championship. Fine, so he doesn't have the best arm around, and yeah, he's not exactly Vince Young when it comes to running the ball, but he's the epitome of quarterback who can (bad cliché time) manage a game. He doesn't make mistakes and he's great at keeping the chains moving and taking what the defense gives him. An afterthought as a recruit, now he'll be the face of the program for the next three years.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Brett Hodges is Skinner with 4.65 speed and mobility. He also has a live and active arm able to throw well on the move. While he doesn't have a shot of contending for the starting job, he'll be an interesting change-of-pace option to add a rushing element to the mix.

Redshirt freshman Zach MacDowall has good speed and a big-time arm. A top recruit for the program a few years ago, he hasn't had much of a chance to show what he can do suffering through a strained shoulder muscle this spring.
 
Watch Out For ... Hodges to get a little bit more work here and there. The season was saved when Skinner was able to come in cold and perform like a seasoned veteran, but hoping for lightning to strike twice won't be wise if the offense loses the starting quarterback two years in a row; Hodges needs game action.
Strength: Accuracy. There might not be any bombers on the roster, but everyone is smart (this is Wake Forest) and everyone is accurate. All the offense needs is someone who can make the right reads and not make big mistakes.
Weakness: Experienced depth and Skinner's lack of mobility. Grobe's offense usually utilizes a quarterback who can run, but that's not Skinner. Until Hodges and MacDowall get their chance to play a little bit, everyone will be holding their breath every time Skinner takes a shot.
Outlook: The optimal word here is serviceable. With the loss of Ben Mauk to injury, and then to the University of Cincinnati, any threat of a quarterback competition is gone; Skinner has the gig. He's able to come up with the occasional clutch deep throw and he's a gamer who makes plays even when the offense appears to have bogged down, but he's not going to have the same time to operate he had last year.
Rating: 6.5


Running Backs

Projected Starters: For now, 230-pound sophomore Kevin Harris will be the number one running back as long as he can hold up. He's very big, very fast with 4.5 speed, and ridiculously strong, he can be the type of runner the offense can revolve around. He played a big role early last year before being dinged up over the second half of the season only getting one big game, a 42-yard, two touchdown game against Maryland thanks to a knee problem and a concussion. He finished the year with 393 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns.

Fullback is set with the return of 259-pound junior Rich Belton, who ran for 227 yards and three touchdowns and caught 12 passes for 80 yards. While he's a hard short-yardage runner, his real worth is as a blocker.

Projected Top Reserves: While Harris is likely going to be the starter going into the season, that'll change once senior Micah Andrews is back from a knee injury that knocked him out in the third game of the year. Rushing skills aren't an issue with excellent speed and an elusiveness once he gets through the hole, but he hasn't stayed healthy getting banged up with an ankle injury two years ago. Even so, he ran for 256 yards and two touchdowns in limited work last year, tore off a 254-yard day in the 2005 opener against Vanderbilt, and ran for 142 yards against East Carolina.

The number two man in the mix until Andrews is 100% this fall will be redshirt freshman Josh Adams, who worked his way up the depth chart this spring thanks to his tremendous speed. Arguably the team's best athlete, he's a potential game-changer when he gets the ball in the open field.

239-pound senior DeAngelo Bryant has had his moments in the spotlight with four starters and 336 yards and three touchdowns last season. The issue is his weight; he needs to keep it down. With good speed and the powerful body, he has the tools to be a workhorse back if need be, but he might not be the type of runner to count on for a full season.

Redshirt freshman Lucas Caparelli is another speedy option with 4.4 speed and a tremendous high-school résumé. Has hasn't been able to break through and do much in practices yet, but he'll be a contributor sooner than later.

Backing up Belton at fullback will be 6-3, 260-pound sophomore Mike Rinfrette, who saw a little bit of action throughout last year and even caught an 18-yard pass in the ACC title game. Mostly a blocker because of his tremendous strength, he'll also see the ball come his way when he's in.
 
Watch Out For ... Andrews to take back the starting job the second he's ready, and then get hurt at some point in the season making Harris the main man.
Strength: Options. There are thumpers, speedsters, and backs who do a little of everything. It's not fair to say the tailback in the Wake Forest offense is simply a cog in the system, but for the most part, the tailback in the Wake Forest offense is a cog in the system. Several backs on the roster are capable of cranking out a 100-yard day if needed.
Weakness: Does the team have any one back it can truly count on? While it's great to have depth and several players who can shine, it would also be nice to have a back to count on week in and week out. Someone has to emerge from the pack if it's not going to be Andrews.
Outlook: Wake Forest will have few problems running the ball. The offense can succeed with Harris or Bryant if Andrews isn't back to his old self, but things can take a big turn forwards if Adams and Caparelli use their speed to turn into major factors. As a group they'll combine for over 2,000 yards.
Rating: 7

Receivers

Projected Starters: Last year's leading rusher, senior Kenneth Moore, has moved to wide receiver to take advantage of his size and speed after finishing third on the team with 32 catches for 314 yards and a touchdown coming mostly as a running back. He ran for 507 yards and two touchdowns after starting off the year as a receiver, and he also turned into a whale of a punt returner averaging 13 yards a try. Even when he was running 27 times for 165 yards and a score against Maryland, he was still being used as a receiver out of the backfield.

Senior Kevin Marion will take over the number two spot after catching ten passes for 117 yards while making his biggest mark as a kick returner averaging 22.3 yards a try. A great athlete with sub-4.4 speed, he needs to become a game-breaker right off the bat.

Senior tight end John Tereshinski is back after catching 16 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. A decent blocker, he has great hands to go along with enough speed to make him a bigger part of the passing game.

Projected Top Reserves: 5-11, 220-pound junior Demic Boldin is back after missing all of last year working on his studies. He should provide a big boost if he builds off his promising freshman season when he caught 15 passes for 224 yards averaging a team-high 14.9 yards per catch. He'll start off behind Marion.

6-1, 210-pound junior Chip Brinkman will get the backup job behind Moore, but he's untested with only one catch last season. He has the speed and the athleticism to make an impact right away; he'll need to.

At 6-2 and 220 pounds, senior Delon Lowe is the biggest receiver in the mix, but he's never been able to step out and do anything other than on special teams.

Behind Tereshinski at tight end is veteran Zac Selmon, a starter for most of last year catching 11 passes for 134 yards. He's the son of former Oklahoma star lineman Dewey Selmon. Lee Roy and Lucious Selmon are his uncles.
 
Watch Out For ... this to be a problem all season long. There aren't any proven gamebreakers, so it might take a full season to find steady starters who can crank out the big plays to open things up for the running game.
Strength: Tight end. Tereshinski and Selmon are more than just decent veterans, they could be the leaders of the passing attack as the main men on third downs. They have the ability to be far more involved on short to midrange patterns, which is what Riley Skinner is best at.
Weakness: A proven number two receiver. Once he's done with the hamstring problem from spring ball, Moore will a good number one target. Marion has the speed, but is he a true second receiver Skinner can consistently rely on? He hasn't been so far.
Outlook: Wake Forest will be at or near the bottom of the ACC in passing again, so it's about how effective everyone can be. Nate Morton and Willie Idlette were great when they had to be. It's not just about making catches for the newcomers, it's about making them in key moments. Morton and Idlette always seemed to make the big grab after disappearing from the offense for a while. If Moore isn't a star, there will be big problems.
Rating: 6

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters: The line is all set with the exception of replacing All-Everything tackle Steve Vallos, the key cog in the ACC champion attack. 6-3, 298-pound sophomore Jeff Griffin, who started half of the year on the right side when Vallos moved to the left to replace an injured Arby Jones. Griffin was terrific playing like a seasoned veteran and looking like the Vallos of the future.

On the left side will be 6-4, 315-pound Louis Frazier after spending all of last year at left guard after coming off a knee injury. He's the team's best run blocker, but he has to prove he can be consistent in pass protection.

Staying put at right guard will be massive 6-4, 362-pound junior Chris DeGeare, who's one of the team's strongest players and also one of the most durable. He's been an integral past of the line for the last two years and should be in the same spot for the next two; he's not quite mobile enough to move to tackle.

The one new starter to the line is Matthew Brim, a 6-4, 294-pound senior who saw time in every game as a top reserve and now will hold down the left guard spot. Originally expected to be a starter at the beginning of the year, he suffered a broken hand, which he was able to play through, but allowed Frazier to step in take over.

The star of the show is senior Steve Justice, a 6-4, 294-pound technician who'll be in the hunt for All-America honors as well as the Rimington Award. The perfect quarterback for the veteran line, he'll start to get the recognition Vallos earned last year.

Projected Top Reserves: Arguably the team's most talented lineman, all 6-4, 290-pound sophomore Joe Birdsong needs is a little bit more playing time. He stepped in when needed at tackle and on special teams, and now he'll be a key reserve behind Frazier on the left side before he takes over the job next year.

Getting work at left guard behind Brim will be sophomore Barrett McMillin after seeing more and more time as last season went on. He's not huge at 288 pounds, but he's tough and should be a starter next year.
 
Watch Out For ... the line to be the strength of the team once again, even without Vallos. No, Frazier won't be the same tackle, but he'll be decent, while Brim will shine at left guard.
Strength: Experience. With four starters returning and Brim like a starter, this should be one of the tightest, most cohesive lines in the ACC.
Weakness: Depth. There are several good prospects, and Birdsong and McMillin can certainly play, but there's not a whole bunch else to count on. That'll have to change quickly to get some quality returning experience before next year.
Outlook: The line wasn't always great in pass protection considering the offense only threw the ball 287 times, but it did enough to get by. Running the ball was never a problem, and it shouldn't be again with a big, veteran, talented line that should dominate at times. The loss of Vallos will be offset by the improvement everywhere else.
Rating: 8

  

Related Stories
2007 Wake Forest Preview
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 22, 2007
2007 Wake Forest Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 22, 2007
2007 Wake Forest Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 22, 2007








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