2009 CFN Wake Forest Preview
Wake Forest RB Josh Adams
No longer a cute little story, Wake Forest has proved it's the real deal with staying power. Can good playmakers like RB Josh Adams get the Demon Deacons back into the ACC title hunt? Check out the 2009 CFN Wake Forest Preview and Breakdown.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
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2009 Wake Forest
2009 Wake Forest
2009 Wake Forest
2009 Wake Forest
2007 WF Preview
At the end of April, two Wake Forest defenders,
LB Aaron Curry and CB Alphonso Smith, were selected in the first
two rounds of the NFL Draft. It was tangible proof of how far
this program has come under Jim Grobe…and how far it’ll have to
go to remain there in 2009.
Head coach: Jim Grobe
9th year: 54-44
Off. 26, Def. 17, ST 2
Ten Best Wake Players
1. QB Riley
2. NG Boo Robinson, Sr.
3. CB Brandon Ghee,
4. DT John Russell, Sr.
5. RB Josh Adams, Jr.
OT Chris DeGeare, Sr.
7. C Russell Nenon, Jr.
8. TE Ben
9. RB Brandon Pendergrass, Soph.
Kyle Wilber, Soph.
2009 Results: 0-0
9/26 at Boston College
10/3 NC State
10/17 at Clemson
10/24 at Navy
11/7 at Georgia Tech
11/14 Florida State
11/21 OPEN DATE
11/28 at Duke
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2008 Results: 8-5
8/30 at Baylor W 41-13
9/6 Ole Miss W 30-28
9/13 OPEN DATE
9/20 at Florida St W 12-3
9/27 Navy L 24-17
10/4 OPEN DATE
10/9 Clemson W 12-7
10/18 at Maryland L 26-0
10/25 at Miami L 16-10
11/1 Duke W 33-30 OT
11/8 Virginia W 28-17
11/15 at NC St L
11/22 Boston Coll
11/29 Vanderbilt W
12/20 Navy W 29-19
In the midst of their best
run in school history, the Demon Deacons simply want to maintain
a level of success that’s becoming customary in Winston-Salem.
To do that, they’ll need more help from the offense and some
duct tape for a defense that’s missing seven of last season’s
On offense, steady QB Riley Skinner and the
rest of his teammates need to evolve after averaging just 21
points and 308 yards a game in 2008. While Wake Forest is never
going to be confused with Texas Tech, it should be more potent,
considering the quarterback is a fourth-year starter and the
backfield goes three-deep. Success will depend on the play of an
offensive line that underachieved a year ago, but has enough
returning veterans to turn the corner.
Deacons are going to lean heavily on the front four as the back
seven adapts to six new starters and a very inexperienced
two-deep. The unit will still be tough and stingier than most,
but it’s unlikely to be taking over as many games as it did in
Maintain. That’s the operative word around
the program heading into the 2009 season. Even without two of
the best to ever play for the school, Wake feels it has the
right mix of underrated talent and coaches to return to the
postseason and even contend in the ACC Atlantic.
What to look for on offense: The offensive line. This is ground zero for the fortunes of Wake Forest
in 2009. If the unit can’t rebound from last year’s horrible
performance, the Deacons might struggle to make it into the
postseason. If, however, it gels, you never know what Jim Grobe
and his staff are capable of concocting. The encouraging news is
that everyone returns from a year and the group consists
predominantly of upperclassmen. The line should be improved. The
line has to be improved.
What to look for on defense:
Fewer takeaways. In the past, the Demon Deacons were built on
disruption and big plays, but that’s about to change as the back
seven gets a more youthful look. It’s not that the replacements
don’t have upside because they do. LB Hunter Haynes and safeties
Alex Frye and Chyl Quarles, in particular, are going to be good
ones in time. However, inconsistency and instability are pretty
much built into the equation when all three linebackers and
three-quarters of the secondary are first-time starters.
The team will be far better if
… the offense can do some heavy lifting for a change. For years, the
defense and special teams have been the catalysts of this
program’s rise to notoriety. However, both units are undergoing
makeovers, so it’s time for the offense to step out of its
comfort zone. At a bare minimum, the Demon Deacons need to
improve in the running game and in time of possession in order
to give that rebuilt defense longer breaks on the sidelines.
Wake Forest appears to be addicted to playing against
smart schools with Baylor, Stanford, and Navy in non-conference play, to
go along with a tune-up against Elon. The key to the season will be
holding up with the week off not coming until November 21st. Along the
way, there's a nasty run of three road trips in four weeks going to
Clemson, Navy, and Georgia Tech, with the home game not exactly a
breather against Miami. If that wasn't a tough enough stretch, it's
followed up by a game against Florida State before finally getting the
week off. The time off comes before the regular-season finale at Duke.
Best Offensive Player: Senior QB
Riley Skinner. To understand and appreciate Skinner, you’ve got
to throw out the numbers, which will never be Heisman-caliber.
He’s the poster-child for Wake Forest football, playing
fundamentally sound and putting his team in the best possible
position to win. An outstanding leader with a contagious
work-ethic, he owns a 26-11 career mark as a starter, the best
measure of his importance to the program.
Best Defensive Player: Senior NG
Boo Robinson. Senior CB Brandon Ghee may be better by NFL
standards, but Robinson is going to be the tone-setter up front.
A rarity among 300-pound interior linemen, he can stuff the run
as well as rush the passer, leading last year’s team with six
sacks. The push he generates up front tends to make everyone
behind him a little better.
Key player to a successful season:
Senior LT Chris DeGeare. In the big picture, Wake Forest has to
take a quantum leap from last year’s disastrous play of the
offensive line. Holding the key to that turnaround is DeGeare,
who sat out 2008 for academic reasons. If he can provide
stability to the left tackle spot, it’ll have a 335-pound ripple
effect that allows other linemen to shift to more natural
positions. As the defense transitions, the offense simply can’t
average less than three yards a carry for a second straight
year. And DeGeare is a man on a mission, determined to honor the
memory of his mother, who died of breast cancer in March of
2007, while getting noticed by NFL scouts.
season will be a success if ... Wake Forest
extends its school record of eight-win bowl seasons to a fourth
consecutive year. In a year when so many key players need to be
replaced on defense and special teams, the Demon Deacons getting
to the postseason would be a sign of strength and long-term
stability. Heck, if Wake can endure after losing the likes of
Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith, it’d be almost as telling as the
2006 ACC championship season.
Nov. 14 vs. Florida State. Not only will this game have
some impact on the Atlantic Division race, but it’s become an
interesting little rivalry, with the Deacons winning the last
three meetings. Florida State simply can’t stomach losing to
such a small school, which makes it doubly delicious for Wake
Forest. Another win over the ‘Noles would be further evidence of
how far the once mighty have fallen.
- Red zone scores: Opponents 32-of-34 (94%) - Wake Forest
- Punt return average: Wake Forest 6.3 yards -
Opponents 0.8 yards
- Interceptions: Wake Forest 18 - Opponents 7