2008 CFN Wake Forest Preview
Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry
It's no fluke. Wake Forest really has a good football program and it might be even better than two years ago when it won the ACC title thanks to Aaron Curry and a fantastic defense. Will the college football world finally take the Demon Deacons seriously? Check out the CFN Wake Forest Preview.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
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2008 Wake Forest
2008 Wake Forest
2008 Wake Forest
2008 Wake Forest Depth
2007 CFN Wake Forest Preview
2006 CFN Wake Forest
Head coach: Jim Grobe
8th year: 46-39
14th year overall: 79-72-1
Off. 18, Def. 24, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 20
Best Wake Players
1. LB Aaron Curry, Sr.
2. CB Alphonso Smith, Sr.
3. PK/P Sam Swank, Sr.
4. SS Chip Vaughn, Sr.
5. RB Josh Adams, Soph.
6. QB Riley Skinner, Jr.
7. NG Boo Robinson, Jr.
8. LB Stanley Arnoux, Sr.
9. CB Brandon Ghee, Jr.
10. LT Joe Birdsong, Jr.
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2008 Results: 0-0
Aug. 30 at Baylor
Sept. 6 Ole Miss
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE
Sept. 20 at Florida State
Sept. 27 Navy
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 9 Clemson
Oct. 18 at Maryland
Oct. 25 at Miami
Nov. 1 Duke
Nov. 8 Virginia
Nov. 15 at NC State
Nov. 22 Boston College
Nov. 29 Vanderbilt
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2007 Results: 9-4
Sept. 1 at
Boston Coll L 38-28
Nebraska L 20-17
Maryland W 31-24 OT
Florida State W 24-21
Virginia L 17-16
Clemson L 44-10
Vanderbilt W 31-17
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Dec. 29 Connecticut W 24-10
The return of
head coach Jim Grobe, who once again turned away offers from
higher profile programs, was all that was needed to feel good
about the upcoming season.
2007 Fun Stats:
Now Wake Forest hasn’t just become a player in the ACC, but it
has become the model for every small, strong academic private
school trying to bust through in a big conference.
There’s hope for you yet, Baylor.
Keep on trucking, Duke.
You’ll get back there Stanford.
Yeah, Stanford got to a Rose Bowl within the last decade and
Northwestern has had success here and there, but Wake Forest has
found a way to get the job done without gimmicks and without any
fluke factor involved. It’s been simple: run the ball, get great
special teams, win the turnover battle, and let the other team
screw up. Grobe has it working.
To put this in perspective, the 20 wins over the last two years
are as many as the program came up with from 2002 to 2005. It’s
not like things were ever awful under Grobe, but the team wasn’t
The coaching staff’s knack for taking marginal high school
linemen and molding them into consistent producers will be
tested this fall as the Deacons lose four starters on the
offensive line and two on defense. But true to the recent
formula of success, there should be a steady running game,
efficient passing from Riley Skinner, and a vastly underrated
and athletic defensive back seven.
With so many starters returning and a favorable schedule that
has Clemson and Boston College visiting Groves Stadium, Wake
Forest is thinking ACC championship for the second time in three
years. And why not? The backfield returns intact and the defense
should be just as opportunistic as last year, when it led the
league with 35 takeaways.
As long as the Deacons can solidify the offensive line and find
a pass rushing replacement for DE Jeremy Thompson, Grobe will
again be on a bunch of AD’s short lists at the end of the
What to look for on offense: An
even greater reliance on the running game. The development of
young backs Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass, and the loss of
WR Kenneth Moore should mean less balance from the offense than
in the past. Wake will be content to pound away with its two
gifted runners, occasionally look for the backs and tight ends
on short routes, and let the defense do the rest. Knowing they
don’t have the weapons to beat defenses downfield, the Deacons
will be content to play to their strengths and limit mistakes.
What to look for on defense: Tons
of speed from the back seven. Grobe has been fixated with speed
during recent recruiting cycles, and it shows with this year’s
fleet-footed, ball-hawking defense. Wake is loaded at linebacker
and the secondary with experience athletes who’ll fly to the
ball and take it back the other way whenever possible. Led by
the dynamic duo of LB Aaron Curry and CB Alphonso Smith, the
Deacon D had eight touchdowns, which was more than the number of
touchdown receptions caught by the wide receivers.
The team will be far better if … the offensive
line survives the loss of four key starters, including the
headliner of the unit, C Steve Justice. If there’s any chance of
becoming more prolific than in recent seasons, the blockers,
such as LT Joe Birdsong and new C Trey Bailey, need to create
daylight for Josh Adams and Brandon
Pendergrass, and protect Skinner. With few gimmes on the
first-half schedule, the front wall won’t have much time to gel
as a cohesive unit.
The Schedule: The Demon Deacons couldn't
ask for much more than getting Clemson and Boston College at
home and Duke from the Coastal Division. On paper, going on the
road to play Florida State, Maryland, Miami and NC State might
appear daunting, but Grobe's club should be able to pull out two
of the four games. Playing three BCS teams in the non-conference
slate, at Baylor, Ole Miss, Navy and Vanderbilt, still doesn't
mean anything less than 4-0 will be expected. This might be a
tough schedule, but it's not unmanageable.
Best Offensive Player: Sophomore RB Josh Adams. One of
the big developments from a year ago, Adams went from being
buried on the depth chart to the offensive MVP as a rookie. A
nice blend of speed and cutting ability in a 6-0, 180-pound
frame, he took over in October and went on to lead the team in
rushing and finish second in receiving.
Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Aaron Curry. Based on
numbers and the occasional YouTube clip, you probably already
know Curry is one of the most explosive, complete linebackers in
the country. What you don’t know is that his football IQ is off
the charts, a combination that puts him in a position to make a
ton of game-changing plays and makes him an ideal coach on the
field. NFL scouts love his demeanor and his game, already
projecting him as a possible first-day selection.
Key player to a successful season: Junior C Trey Bailey.
No, the first-time starter won’t be expected to be Steve
Justice, but he does have to be the glue of an offensive line
undergoing a renovation. Under Grobe, Wake Forest has always had
a solid line that frustrates opposing defenses and helps make
the running game go. If that trend is going to continue, Bailey
needs to be the quarterback of the unit, while quickly breaking
ties with his inexperience.
The season will be a success if ... Wake Forest contends
for another ACC title and plays in a third straight bowl game.
There’s enough veteran talent on both sides of the ball to win
the league title, especially since the favorite, Clemson, must
visit Winston-Salem. Even if it falls short, eight or nine wins
would be another sturdy brick in the foundation for the future.
Key game: Oct. 9 vs. Clemson. With all due respect to
Florida State and Boston College, this game at BB&T Field could
be the year’s most important in the Atlantic Division race. For
years, Clemson has dominated this series, typified by last
November’s 44-10 blowout in Death Valley. The Tiger offense
versus the Demon Deacon defense alone will be worth paying
attention to this ACC showdown.
- Fourth quarter scoring: Wake Forest 82 – Opponents 58
- Time of possession: Wake Forest 32:22 – Opponents 27:38
- Broken up passes: Wake Forest 55 – Opponents 26