Meet the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest

In the eight seasons before Jim Grobe came to Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons had just one winning season. Entering his 8th season in Winston-Salem, Grobe has 4 winning seasons, 3 bowl births and the 2006 ACC Championship. Last Saturday, he beat Florida State for the third consecutive year.

Meet the Demon Deacons of
Wake Forest University
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Colors: Old Gold & Black
Former Demon Deacons: Brian Piccolo - Running Back - Chicago Bears (1966-1969), Ovie Mughelli - Fullback - Baltimore Ravens (2003-2006); Atlanta Falcons (2007-present), Desmond Clark - Tight End - Denver Broncos (1999-2001); Miami Dolphins (2002); Chicago Bears (2003-present), Calvin Pace - Defensive End - Arizona Cardinals (2003-2007); New York Jets (2008-present), Ricky Proehl - Wide Receiver - Arizona Cardinals (1990-1994); Seattle Seahawks (1995-1996); Chicago Bears (1997); St. Louis Rams (1997-2002); Carolina Panthers (2003-2005); Indianapolis Colts (2006), Norm Snead - Quarterback - Washington Redskins (1961-1963); Philadelphia Eagles (1964-1970); Minnesota Vikings (1971); New York Giants (1972-1974); San Francisco 49ers (1974-1975); New York Giants (1976), Michael McCrary - Defensive End - Seattle Seahawks (1993-1996); Baltimore Ravens (1997-2002) (non-football) Tim Duncan (Basketball), Arnold Palmer (Golf)

Fast Fact:  Wake Forest is one of the smallest schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) with an undergraduate enrollment of 4,412.

Coaching
In the eight seasons before Jim Grobe came to Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons had just one winning season.  Entering his 8th season in Winston-Salem, Grobe has 4 winning seasons, 3 bowl births and the 2006 ACC Championship.  Last Saturday, he beat Florida State for the third consecutive year.  Currently Wake Forest is ranked 15th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 16th in the Associated Press Poll.  Jim Grobe has built Wake Forest into a perennial contender with a philosophy based on a misdirection running game and red shirting as many freshmen as possible.  It is this red shirting philosophy that has lead to this year's Demon Deacons having 33 players who are in their fourth, fifth or sixth year in the program.  Wake Forest has experience in its coaching staff as well.  Recruiting coordinator and defensive tackles coach Ray McCartney, defensive ends coach Keith Henry, offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke, defensive coordinator Brad Lambert, and assistant head coach Billy Mitchell all enter their 8th seasons at Wake Forest.  Coach Mitchell is in his 23rd season working alongside Coach Grobe.

Offense
Quarterback Riley Skinner (#11) has attempted 131 consecutive passes without an interception.  Skinner (6-1, 205lb, R-Jr.) has completed 70.4% (76 of 108) for 704 yards and 5 touchdowns on the season.  On the road against nationally ranked Florida State he finished 17 of 29 for 217 yards.  Last season, Skinner led the nation completing 72.4% of his passes.  He showcased that accuracy in Annapolis with a 22 of 28 performance resulting in 213 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Skinner has 27 career starts and the Demon Deacons have gone an astonishing 21-6 in those games.  Skinner's back-up Brett Hodges (#6) started two games early last season.  Hodges (6-1, 197lb, R-Jr.) finished 2007 43 of 66 passing for 359 yards with a touchdown and 3 interceptions.

Last season in Annapolis, Josh Adams (#27) carried the ball 27 times for 131 yards and a touchdown.  Adams (6-0, 182lb, R-So.) also caught two passes for nine yards in the Wake Forest victory.  Expect him to be a key factor in this game as well.  Adams currently leads the Demon Deacons in rushing with 146 yards on 44 carries and a touchdown.  He also has 8 catches for 36 yards.  Spelling the reining ACC Rookie of the Year may be a candidate for this year's award.  Brandon Pendergrass (#22) scored a touchdown is each of his first two games.  Pendergrass (5-9, 200lb, R-Fr.) has 66 yards on 29 carries and the two aforementioned touchdowns.  Starting fullback Mike Rinfrette (#44) was a fullback in 2006, converted to linebacker during 2007 spring practice, and returned to fullback this spring.  Rinfrette (6-3, 265lb, R-Jr.) has 2 carries for 7 yards and 2 receptions for 18 yards on the season.

With Kenny Moore now in the NFL, experience at wide receiver was an area of concern for the Demon Deacons.  Chip Brinkman (#88) and D.J. Boldin (#4) with 27 and 26 career receptions respectively started the season by default.  Boldin (6-0, 220lb, R-Sr.) has earned his spot with 20 receptions for 160 yards in the first three games.  His older brother is Anquan Boldin, who plays wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals.  Brinkman (6-1, 195lb, R-Sr.) leads the team with 2 touchdowns but appears to have lost his starting spot to Marshall Williams (#8).  Williams (6-1 193 R-So.) has proven to be a bigger play threat with a 13.9 yards per catch average.  He has 9 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown on the season.  He had a 52 yard catch against Florida State.  Tight end Ben Wooster (#85) is second on the team with 13 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.  Wooster (6-5 235 R-Jr.) is also a deep threat.  He had a 43 yard touchdown reception in the season opener verses Baylor.

Right tackle Jeff Griffin (#64) is by far to most experienced offensive lineman Wake Forest has returning.  Griffin (6-3, 292lb, R-Jr.) has 19 career starts.  Though he only started 5 games in 2007, his 628 snaps were the second most among offensive linemen behind consensus All-American center Steve Justice.  With Justice lost to graduation, Trey Bailey (#67) takes over at center.  Bailey (6-2, 290lb, R-Jr.) had his playing time limited due to the skill of Justice, but graded out at 94% for the 7 games he played in last season.  Right guard Barrett McMillin (#61) has started 9 consecutive games, 3 at left guard, and 6 at right guard.  McMillin (6-3, 285lb R-Jr.) is strong, with a team high 475 pound bench press.  Left guard Russell Nenon (#72) was recruited as a center.  Nenon (6-4, 285lb, R-So.) was rated as the seventh-best center prospect nationally by

ESPN.com.  He also serves as the short snapper for the Demon Deacons field goal/PAT teams.  In 2007, Joe Birdsong (#76) started six of the first nine games at right tackle, before missing the next three contests with an ankle injury.  This season, Birdsong (6-4, 290lb, R-Jr.) takes over at left tackle.  He graded out at 86.8% which was third-best on the team.

Defense
The Wake Forest defensive line is lead by 6th year senior defensive end Matt Robinson (#42).  Robinson (6-2, 248lb, Grad.) was granted a 6th year of eligibility by the NCAA due to the fact that a broken kneecap suffered in the 2005 season finale caused him to miss the entire 2006 season.  The injury required him to undergo three surgeries in order to return.  Robinson leads the team with 1 sack.  He is tied for second on the defense with 32 career starts.  The other end position is manned by Anthony Davis (#93).  Davis (6-5, 251lb, R-Sr.) has been a top reserve of the Demon Deacons.  He as appeared in all 41 games in his career with 8 starts.  Nose guard Boo Robinson (#96) leads the line with 8 tackles on the season.  Robinson (6-2, 325lb, R-Jr.) is an accomplished run stopper with 70 career tackles including 10.5 tackles for loss.  Defensive tackle John Russell (#51) rounds out the starting front.  Russell (6-4, 283lb, R-Jr.) has 7 career starts and 61 career tackles.  Russell is questionable with a shoulder injury.  If he can not play, Ted Randolph (#87) will get his first career start.  Randolph (6-4, 278lb, R-Jr.) was a tight end who switched to defensive end during last season.

Wake Forest has a trio of talented linebackers, led by strong side backer Aaron Curry (#59).  Curry (6-3, 247lb, R-Sr.) leads the team with 20 tackles on the season.  Last season he was named second team All-ACC and led the nation in interception return yards.  Curry is currently on the Preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott Trophy.  He recorded 8 tackles and had an interception and a fumble recovery last Saturday against Florida State.  Curry has 39 career stars.  Middle linebacker Stanley Arnoux (#43) has made 32 career starts.  Arnoux (6-1, 240lb, R-Sr.) is tied for second on the team with 15 tackles.  He has started 19 consecutive games in the middle of the Demon Deacons defense.  Chantz McClinic (#39) is on a streak of 11 straight starts.  McClinic (5-11, 225lb, R-Sr.) is tied with Arnoux in tackles.  Last season he had a career high 8 tackles against the Midshipmen.

Cornerback Alphonso Smith (#2) is one of the premier playmakers in the country.  Smith (5-9, 190lb, R-Sr.) has 16 career interceptions to prove that.  He is also on the Preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year.  His 8 interceptions in 2007 are a single season school record.  Smith returned three of those picks for touchdowns.  On the season, he has 12 tackles and a team high 6 pass break-ups to go with 2 interceptions.  At the other corner, Brandon Ghee (#17) is no slouch.  Ghee (6-0, 191lb, R-Jr.) has started 14 consecutive games to Smith's 16.  He recorded his first career interception against Ole Miss and has forced a fumble in back to back games.  Strong safety Kevin Patterson (#10) is coming off a monster game.  Against Florida State, Patterson (5-10, 191lb, R-Sr.) had 2 picks and a forced fumble.  He leads the team with 3 interceptions on the season.  In 2007, Chip Vaughn (#9) led the Demon Deacons with 105 tackles.  So far this season, Vaughn (6-2, 215lb, R-Sr.) has recorded 10 tackles and an interception.

Special Teams
Sam Swank (#38) is one of the best kickers in college football.  Swank (6-2, 201lb, R-Sr.) is already Wake Forest's all-time leading scorer with 321 points.  He has connected on 69 of 88 field goal attempts and all 114 PAT attempts in his career.  Swank also serves as the Deacons' punter.  He has 14 punts on the season for a 37.9 yard average.

Superstar corner Alphonso Smith is Wake Forest's primary return man.  Smith has 7 punt returns for an 8.7 yard average and 4 kick returns for a 19 yard average.  Reserve wide receiver Devon Brown (#3) may also return kicks.  Brown (5-9, 185lb, R-Fr.) has returned 2 kicks this season for an 8.5 yard average.

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