Previewing Wake Forest

Wake Forest (2-5, 1-3) is looking to rebound from tough conference losses to Florida State and Boston College.


Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.

Enrollment: 3,857

Nickname: Demon Deacons

School Colors: Black & Gold

Stadium: Groves (31,500)

Conference: ACC



Head Coach: Jim Grobe

Record at WF: 22-25 (4 years)

2004 Record: 4-7 (1-7)

2004 Bowl: None

Starters Returning: 15 (9 offense, 6 defense)

2005 Record: 2-5 (1-3)

2005 AP Ranking: None

Wake Forest Injury Report

QB Cory Randolph (ankle)
OT Louis Frazier - (knee, season)
OG Brodie Overstreet - (eye, indefinitely)
Kevin Patterson - (appendectomy, 1-2 weeks)

TE John Tereshinski - (knee)

Wake Forest Game Notes

Deacons Own Best In-State Winning Percentage
Since Jim Grobe's arrival prior to the 2001 season, Wake Forest has the best winning percentage against in-state rivals among all Division I schools in North Carolina.

The Deacons have defeated every Division I opponent in the state, posting a 14-5 overall record that includes a 5-0 mark against East Carolina, 4-0 vs. Duke, 2-2 vs. North Carolina, 1-3 vs. NC State, plus victories against I-AA Appalachian State and North Carolina A&T.

During that same time period against in-state rivals, NC State is 10- 4, North Carolina is 10-5, Duke is 2-10 and East Carolina is 1-10.

Next week, Wake Forest plays another in-state rival, Duke.

Happy Days For The Fonz
Few freshmen around the ACC are making an impact in two phases of the game like Alphonso Smith. The redshirt freshman from Pahokee, Fla., is the ACC's leader in passes defended (10), pass break-ups (8) and blocked punts (2). Plus, Smith ranks among the team leaders in interceptions, forced fumbles, tackles, and even tackles for loss.

Against 14th-ranked Boston College, Smith had an interception, two pass break-ups, a blocked punt and six solo tackles.

Common Sense Goes Out The Window
Conventional football wisdom says when teams win the turnover and time of possession battles, they win the game. Against the Eagles, the Deacons were a plus-five in the turnover ratio, including a defensive touchdown by Josh Gattis. Plus, Wake Forest had almost 10 more minutes of possession time.

In the end, none of that mattered as Boston College scored the game's final 14 points to capture a 35-30 victory.

Wake Forest had only six takeaways in 2005 before last week's game.

Barclay Record Watch Continues
Chris Barclay is on pace to become the first player in the 53-year history of the ACC to lead the league in rushing during the regular season for a third straight year.

Barclay has the most total rushing yards (677), most average yards per game (112.8), most attempts (122), highest average per rush (5.5) among those with at least 100 carries and most touchdowns in a game this season (4).

Barclay is averaging 112.8 yards per game this season, 30 more yards than anyone else in the league. He has 677 rushing yards, 154 more than his nearest competitor, teammate Micah Andrews. Already the school's all-time leader in touchdowns (37), Barclay could become the school's alltime leading rusher this season. He stands 230 yards behind James McDougald.

He needs 118 yards to move into the ACC's all-time top 10.

At his current rate, Barclay would finish with about 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns for his career. Those marks would put him into the top five in ACC history in each category.

Our Flag Was Still There
Wake Forest committed an uncharacteristically high amount of penalties at Boston College. The Deacons were flagged 12 times for 110 yards, the third-most by a Deacon team since Jim Grobe came to Winston-Salem in 2001. Coming into last week's game, Wake Forest was in the middle of the ACC pack in penalties. Almost one-fourth of the Deacons' season penalty yards came last Saturday in Chestnut Hill.

Meanwhile, Deacon opponents have been flagged for a league-low 47 yards per game.

Feel Free To Miss One
Wake Forest opponents are a perfect 11-of-11 on field goal attempts. To put that into perspective, the national average is 72 percent. Sam Swank is 75 percent (12-of-16).

Maybe what comes around goes around as opposing kickers made just 56 percent of field goals last year (14-of-25).

Plackemeier: One Of The Best Ever
With his next punt, the 200th of his career, Ryan Plackemeier becomes eligible for the NCAA's career punting average list.

If his next kick goes 47 yards, the two-time All-ACC punter will have exactly the same career statistics as the legendary Ray Guy, for whom the national punter of the year award is named. If his next kick goes longer than 47, Plackemeier will establish himself as the secondleading punter in NCAA history.

In 2005, Plackemeier is one of four punters nationally to rank in the top 10 in both net punting and average yards per punt.

He has always owned one of the strongest legs in the country. He has 15 punts of at least 60 yards in his career and one in each of his last five games.

Plackemeier had perhaps his best game of the season at Florida State. He hammered punts of 50, 51, 52, 59 and 61 yards. He set a new career-long against Clemson with a 74-yard moon shot in the first half. It went over the Clemson returner's head and barely rolled into the endzone for a touchback.

Plackemeier is also one of the most accurate punters in the country and he is turning in an All- America-type season. He leads the ACC in net punting at 39.7 yards per kick and ranks seventh nationally in that category. Only 22 of Plackemeier's 46 punts -- less than half -- have been returned, a key stat to the Ray Guy committee. Against Maryland, he had two punts downed at the two yard line and three inside the 20 yard line. Plackemeier is still kicking for distance, however. That hasn't changed. He ranks seventh nationally at 45.5 yards per punt.

Like The Energizer Bunny
Wake Forest has had 532 offensive snaps through seven games. All-ACC candidates Steve Justice, a sophomore center, and Steve Vallos, a junior tackle, have been on the field for all 532. When completely healthy, the Deacons rotate linemen at both guard spots and at left tackle, but offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke has leaned on Justice and Vallos to play each snap so far in 2005.

Vallos has started every game of his career. The Boston College game marked his 30th consecutive start.

Breaking Up Isn't Hard To Do
Wake Forest leads the ACC by a wide margin in passes defended (pass breakups plus interceptions). The Deacons have gotten their hands on 38 passes and intercepted eight. Cornerback Alphonso Smith leads the ACC with 10 PDs. Safety Josh Gattis is tied for third with eight.

Press Conference Quotables

Jim Grobe
We're playing better. I like the way we've played the last three weeks. The problem is we're playing pretty good football teams. When you play pretty good football teams, no lead is ever big enough and you try to keep stressing that to the guys. Sometimes they have to learn it the hard way. I like the way our team's playing right now, and hopefully over the next four weeks, we'll be a better team each week. On last two drives against Boston College: We were set to have our best defensive day in a long, long time. We had only given up, until about three minutes to go, about 250 yards, forced five turnovers and scored twice on defense for all intents and purposes – (Gattis') interception and Abbate's to the one, and had blocked a punt. That's a pretty good defensive day. Then we gave up a ton of yards and a couple scores late in the game, which kind of ruined a good defensive day. Offensively in first half, we had about 220 yards of total offense, which is a great half against a good defense. We didn't play very well in the entire second half, not just at the end of the game. I think both of the sides of the ball, we probably had a little bit of the feeling that we had won with 3:36 to go, and at the end not taking care of responsibilities like we should have.

On the team following the loss to Boston College: This is a football team that I've really grown to like and I don't get too upset with these guys. In our locker room after the game, if you could be in there and see our guys, everybody's upset, not just the coaches. The players were so upset; you don't need to say anything for them. I didn't hear a peep out of our football team from the time we got back to the locker room to the time we got back to campus. Everybody takes the loss hard on this football team.

On practice Monday night: There are always guys that bring us back up. Our practice last night was sharp and crisp. They made the coaches feel better. Usually the coaches have to pick the kids up, but this is a different group of guys. These guys came out last night with a lot of intensity and had a great first practice. This is a good football team. This is a team that is playing a really tough schedule right now, and we have a group of guys that like to play the game. It's fun for the coaches to have a group of players that you don't have to say much to to get going.

On Cory Randolph being injured: The first night, Benjamin (Mauk) took a majority of the reps. (Allan) Holland took some reps. They put you in that boot now, if you have any kind of foot or ankle injury you get the boot. It's pretty cool, looks like a ski boot and all the guys think it's pretty cool when you're walking around in a boot. We'll just see. Young guys heal in different paces. You never know how things are going to go. Cory played the entire second half with a sprained ankle and we'll see how it turns out.

On close losses: It piles up after a while. Every game that you lose close, there's a bounce here or a bounce there, and sometimes it's more luck than just playing good or playing bad. The thing that I think our guys need to understand is that we're a good football team. We're playing really, really good teams right now. If we're in a lot of other leagues, we would have a good record right now.

On late game situations: I think primarily we're not good enough. You hate to say that, but good teams play good down the stretch. Teams that win generally win close games late. You never know whether you played really tough for three and a half quarters and the good team just decided, hey it's time to win, we're the better team. I think we're a pretty good football team but we're playing really good teams. Anytime you get late in the fourth quarter, that's what we've always wanted, a chance to win. That's not enough, because we're there all the time; we're just not winning our share. I think it's a matter of maturing and, honestly, becoming a better football team.

On N.C. State: It doesn't take two seconds to realize they're a very talented football team. This is just one of those leagues that everybody is pretty good. There isn't anybody with no talent in this league. There are no gimmies. You have to play every Saturday; it's a really talented, well-coached football team that's coming to town this weekend. Like us, they've played a really tough schedule.

On playing close games with N.C. State and the rivalry: We seem to be doing that with a lot of people. State is one of them. A lot of the kids that play for them, our guys either competed against them in high school or played with them on the same team. Our kids know their kids and that always makes for a good rivalry.

On this week's game: For us, we just need to win. Bottom line. No talk about any pie in the sky or any great things down the road. Our football team is a team that works pretty hard and plays pretty hard on Saturday, and we're close to being a real good football team. I think we're a pretty good football team that's playing a really tough schedule. Hopefully before the end of the season, we're going to get our share of wins and feel like we've improved every week since we've been playing this season.

Wake Forest Players

Quarterback Cory Randolph
On the team's season:
We had a good win at Clemson, but we're still 2-5, we have another chance this weekend to restart our season against N.C. State.

On his ankle injury: I have a high ankle sprain which occurred in the last minutes of the third quarter. We're doing a lot of treatment right now, and I should be able to go by Saturday

On how the injury affects his play: I can still run, and I can still do my normal drop back and my normal throws. The only thing it (the high ankle sprain) has affected is my cuts.

On N.C. State: (N.C. State's) front seven is physical and fast. Their secondary has a lot of speed. We're going to go right at them and try to not let that speed affect us.

Free safety Josh Gattis
On the season:
This team is going through a struggling time of the season right now. We have got to come together right now, in all aspects of the game.

On playing N.C. State: This game means a lot. I have a passion to play N.C. State. We always have a big rivalry versus State. They're a competitive team, and they bring a lot to the table every week. It is going to be a dog fight. We're two teams who have both struggled, but we are two teams with bowl hopes for the future.

On the Boston College game: We played a great game Saturday until the last three minutes of the game. Once we got up by nine, everybody seemed to sit back on their heels. We had a lot of quarterback pressure and were getting our hands on the ball until the last three minutes. We need to learn from that. We have to play the whole game.

On how to do that: We need to continue to mature each week and not make the same mistakes each week. Once we mature, I think that will help answer the problems we have late in the games and with close games.

Defensive end Matt Robinson
On this week facing N.C. State:
It's kind of a desperate situation for both of us. Both teams have their backs up against the wall. Both teams have got to have this win to save their seasons. It's going to be a dogfight out there. I think the game is close to being sold out. It's going to be loud and there's going to be a lot of passion. We can't get too emotional or we'll lose our head. We have to limit our mental mistakes. We had some mental mistakes during the Boston College game especially during the end on defense and some players out of positions and things that we've done all season the right way. The thing this week is that we can't get so emotional that we lose our head and are not in position and I think if we do that and we play our position and have a lot of passion that we'll be really successful.

On midterm week: We've all have been through this before, this is my third year and it's midterm week and it's tough. You just have to take it one step at a time and balance it. You can't put football over school and you can't put school over football. You get in, you study and you watch film. It's long hours everyday and it's something you get used to. That's something you come to expect when you play college football.

On the Boston College game: Well, I really think that was a whole team loss. The defense played great and we turned them over until the last three and a half minutes and we really let it down. The offense they played great. They controlled the ball. We had some turnovers that we kicked field goals. So both sides of the ball did things well and both sides of the ball did things bad. It was a whole team loss. That's how we take it every week. We don't point fingers, nobody on the team calls people out. I think everyone has to take it personally to getting better this week in practice and worry about how they can get better themselves and I think that will make us better as a team.

On the close games hinging on critical plays: It seems like it's the same story every year, and it's just so close. When it comes to winning, it just comes down to making plays. We had opportunities in (the Boston College game). We really had a chance to get a good win and we didn't do it. We got to be in the right positions, everyone on the field, and when we get that chance we really got to capitalize. And it a tough lesson that we're learning right now. And eventually things are going to start turning our way, but we're running out of time real fast. So we got to make it happen this week.

Kicker Sam Swank
On the season and how it's lived up to expectations:
In my first year playing collegiate football, the environment is what I expected - the big stadiums, and definitely the players are a lot bigger. Other than that it has been pretty good.

On making a pressure kick at Boston College: I knew it was going to come down to that. So I tried to relax on the sideline, and once I stepped on the field I felt really good. Plackemeier said, 'alright Swank, we're going to make this and we're going to win this game.' I trusted him and I knew he was going to give me the snap down and I just went through it and it split the uprights. Unfortunately, it didn't give us what we needed in the end.

On Ryan Plackemeier and if kickers are really separate from the rest of the team: We kind of are. We have no one else to hang out with during practice. But I really got to know Ryan this year. He's a great guy, a great punter, as you all know. He's really dependable on field goal and holding. I really trust him.

On realizing the importance of the kicker in close games: I was trying to prepare mentally during the summer. Last year, we had a huge number of close games, and I knew that was going to be a factor during this season. So I just tried to prepare mentally and physically as well as I could. Right now I'm just trying to do what I can for this team.

Wake Forest Two-Deep Depth Chart


QB 17 Cory Randolph 6-0 196 R-Sr.

8 Benjamin Mauk 6-1 200 R-So.

TB 28 Chris Barclay 5-10 180 Sr.

3 Micah Andrews 5-10 205 R-So.

FB 49 Damon McWhite 6-1 264 R-Jr.

35 Richard Belton 6-1 240 R-Fr.

WR 86 Demir Boldin 5-11 215 R-Fr.

14 Kevin Marion 5-10 160 R-So.

WR 83 Nate Morton 6-3 202 R-Jr.

21 Kenneth Moore 6-0 195 R-So.

TE 84 Zac Selmon 6-5 237 R-So.

97 Dan Callahan 6-3 266 R-Jr.

LT 72 Wesley Bryant 6-4 300 R-Sr.

66 Greg Adkins 6-3 292 R-Sr.

LG 61 Arby Jones 6-3 277 R-Jr.

79 Matthew Brim 6-4 288 R-So.

C 74 Steve Justice 6-4 275 R-So.

66 Greg Adkins 6-3 292 R-Sr.

RG 79 Matthew Brim 6-4 288 R-So.

70 Chris DeGeare 6-4 345 Fr.

RT 75 Steve Vallos 6-3 297 R-Jr.

71 Eric Gaskins 6-2 295 R-Fr.


DE 42 Matt Robinson 6-2 230 R-So.

48 Bryan Andrews 6-5 263 R-Jr.

DT 55 Jyles Tucker 6-3 268 Jr.

95 Zach Stukes 6-2 260 R-So.

DT 57 Goryal Scales 6-0 273 R-Sr.

90 Jamil Smith 6-2 290 R-Jr.

DE 98 Jeremy Thompson 6-5 250 So.

93 Anthony Davis 6-5 240 R-Fr.

OLB 51 Pierre Easley 6-0 245 R-Jr.

43 Stanley Arnoux 6-0 235 R-Fr.

MLB 40 Jon Abbate 5-11 245 R-So.

41 Eric Berry 6-1 245 R-Fr.

OLB 59 Aaron Curry 6-3 240 R-Fr.

46 James Adams 6-3 235 R-Jr.

or 44 Jason Pratt 6-0 230 R-Sr.

CB 7 Riley Swanson 5-11 188 R-Jr.

29 Kerry Major 5-11 175 R-Fr.

CB 11 Alphonso Smith 5-9 185 R-Fr.

5 Johnny Edwards 5-10 188 R-So.

SS 30 Patrick Ghee 6-0 202 R-Jr.

32 Aaron Mason 5-9 200 R-So.

FS 22 Josh Gattis 6-1 212 R-Jr.

20 Chip Vaughn 6-2 205 R-Fr.


P 81 Ryan Plackemeier 6-4 235 Sr.

38 Sam Swank 6-1 180 R-Fr.

PK 38 Sam Swank 6-1 180 R-Fr.

81 Ryan Plackemeier 6-4 235 Sr.

LS 92 Nick Jarvis 6-3 240 So.

89 John Tereshinski 6-3 230 R-So.

H 81 Ryan Plackemeier 6-4 235 Sr.

83 Nate Morton 6-3 202 R-Jr.

KR 14 Kevin Marion 5-10 160 R-So.

28 Chris Barclay 5-10 180 Sr.

PR 82 Willie Idlette 5-10 175 R-Jr.

28 Chris Barclay 5-10 180 Sr.

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