HEAD COACH: Jim Grobe 70-68 overall in 12 seasons; 37-35 in six seasons at Wake Forest.
RETURNING STARTERS: Offense: 8; Defense: 5.
KEY SIGNEES: OL Chance Raines, LB Kyle Jarrett, QB Skylar Jones, OL Doug Weaver, DB Cyhl Quarles, DE Uriah Grant, RB Brandon Pendergrass.
KEY LOSSES: LB Jon Abbate, S Josh Gattis, OT Steve Vallos, QB Benjamin Mauk, DT Jamil Smith, S Patrick Ghee, CB Riley Swanson, WR Nate Morton, WR Willie Idlette.
OFFENSE: The offense, which was pretty solid last year, should be even better this year. Quarterback Riley Skinner, who was thrust into action a year ago due to an injury to Ben Mauck, played like anything but a freshman. Now that he has a year of experience under his belt, he should have better command of the offense, which is solely his as Mauck has transferred to Cincinnati. However, also returning is senior running back Michah Andrews, who missed all but three games last year due to an ACL injury. Behind him are Josh Adams, Kevin Harris and De'Angelo Bryant, all of whom appear capable of handling the running duties. The success of the Demon Deacons will fall squarely on the shoulders of the offensive line, which lost two starters. Center Steve Justice is an All-American candidate and will be starting for the third straight year. Louis Frazier has been switched from left guard to left tackle, while Jeff Griffin starts at right tackle. Also, right guard Chris DeGeare is very steady. Receiver is a question with the top two for last season gone. Seniors Kevin Marion and Kenneth Moore need to step up, as do a couple of others who were reserves last season.
DEFENSE: The reason Wake Forest was able to win so many games last year was because the defense played well and kept the team in games, which the offense usually found a way to win in the end. The ACC Championship Game against Georgia Tech was living proof of that. The Demon Deacons lost three of the four starters in the secondary and cornerback Kevin Patterson and receiver Jonathan Jones have been moved to safety to help fill the void. Chip Vaughn will likely be the starter opposite of Patterson at safety. Alphonso Smith and Kerry Major look to be the starting corners. Up front, the Decs get back Matt Robinson, who was the team's top lineman in 2004 and 2005, before breaking his kneecap last year. The rest of the linemen are small and there's very little waiting in the wings, so staying away from injuries is a must.
Linebackers have two starters returning in Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnaux. However, much of the talk surrounds junior middle linebacker Eric Berry, who tipped the scales at close to 290 pounds during spring practice. Coaches want him to lose weight to increase his quickness, which could make him a real force to be dealt with.
BY THE NUMBERS: 10 – The number of guaranteed years in the new contract signed by coach Jim Grobe.
QB Riley Skinner
RB Micah Andrews