WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Deacs (1-0) get a big test and a chance to prove that last week’s seven-point offensive production against Tulane was a fluke, as they travel to Durham tomorrow to face the Duke Blue Devils (1-0).
Wake had 13 freshmen make their debut in the season-opener against Tulane: Cade Carney, Scotty Washington, Dom Maggio, Steven Claude, Jessie Bates, Rocky Reid, Essang Bassey, Justin Strnad, Nate Mays, Paris Black, Elontae Bateman, Nathan Gilliam and Jack Freudenthal.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe said after the Blue Devils win over North Carolina Central Saturday that this game was one that Wake had “circled.” Wake junior tight end Cam Serigne didn’t disagree.
“It’s a fair assessment,” Serigne said. “I think all of us look forward to this game every year. They’ve been getting more of the hype and the publicity, but it’s time we take it back.”
The Blue Devils have won four-straight over the Deacs, with Wake last winning 24-23 on Oct. 22, 2011. The Deacs finished 6-7 that season after a Music City Bowl loss to Mississippi State. That was the last of 12-straight victories for Wake over Duke. Duke leads the all-time series 57-37-2.
Wake redshirt senior defensive lineman Josh Banks grew up in Cary, N.C., but has no loyalty to the Blue Devils, but it’s not the same for everyone in his family.
“My mom grew up a Duke fan, so between me and her it’s personal,” Banks said. “It sticks out enough (the four game losing streak) that last night I had a dream we beat Duke. Hopefully I can run with that one right there.”
Wake Forest is 6-1 all time on September 10, which is also Demon Deacon great Arnold Palmer’s birthday (1929), according to Wake media relations.
Wake Forest tight end and All-ACC candidate Cam Serigne has bulked up to 245-250 pounds after arriving in Winston-Salem as a 215-pass catcher who played a variety of positions in his high school career.
“It was nice for me to have (strength and conditioning) coach (Brandon) Hourigan, who’s one of the best in the business. I was able to put on 10 pounds a year. I owe a lot to his strength program and coach Hourigan,” Serigne said. “If it wasn’t for him I don’t think I’d be able to carry this weight and run like I do. I’m very thankful for him.”
Serigne said he was able to add the muscle and strength with a rigorous and consistent lift and nutrition schedule.
“Our lifting program is very intense. We’re in there constantly, going heavy and running at the same time. That’s a balance that coach Hourigan has with me and everyone on the team that’s very successful,” he said. “We have a nutritionist, and it’s about eating the right things and a lot of them. When I was a sophomore, it was overwhelming to constantly have to think about what I had to eat on top of the practice and scheme. Now I’m at the point where I can just maintain.”
The added weight has helped Serigne become a more-valuable addition on the line from a blocking perspective.
“It’s huge. When you have a little bit more weight on you, it helps maintain that push in the trenches,” Serigne said. “You’re more the same size as the guys you’re going against, or just slightly less. That really helps, with strength and confidence in your blocks. Confidence is a big part of blocking. That weight give you that edge. I’m turning into more of a complete tight end.”
It’s Hall of Fame and Scout day for Duke Saturday as they host the Deacs. Friday night, the Blue Devils will induct seven into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame: Shane Battier, Dan Brooks, Mary Dinkins, Grant Hill, Ed Meadows, Vorada Nirapathpongporn and Kelly Walber Cage. That group will be honored at halftime of the game as well.
Serigne is serving as a useful mentor to young wide receivers Thomas Cole and Jack Freudenthal, both of whom had similar high school careers in that they come to Wake and undersized tight ends who were prolific pass catchers.
“Thomas and Jack are both guys that played a lot of receiver in high school. They’re undersized tight ends, but they’re both working in the weight program right now,” Serigne said. “They’re gaining the weight and gaining the strength. The tight end room is going to be deep for some time.”
Serigne said the game Saturday against Duke may come down to winning some one-on-one battles on the perimeter.
“Outside, we just have to win,” he said. “If they give you one-on-one, there’s nothing else about it — you just have to win. Depending on what you get, you just execute the game plan. The coaches will get us in the right play and just go with it.”