Gridiron Deacs Kickoff 2003 Season at Boston Colle

WAKE FOREST FOOTBALL
Game #1 August 30, 2003

Wake Forest (0-0) at Boston College (0-0)
Alumni Stadium (44,500)/Chestnut Hill, MA

Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. (EDT)

Television: No broadcast.

Radio: Broadcast by the Wake Forest ISP Sports Network, heard on 16 stations across North Carolina and in Virginia. Voice of the Deacons Stan Cotten calls the play-by-play with former WFU great Ed Bradley serving as color analyst.

On the Internet: With the purchase of a paid subscription, the radio broadcast can be heard live over the web via WFU's athletics homepage: www.WakeForestSports.com.

The Series: Saturday's game will be the 11th meeting between Boston College and Wake Forest, and the first in 50 years. The two teams last met in 1953. BC leads the series, 5-3-2. Nine of the 10 games have been played in Chestnut Hill.

Records: This is the season opener for both teams, both of which ended 2002 with bowl victories. WFU finished with a 7-6 record, while BC was 9-4 last season.

Rankings: Wake Forest is not ranked. Boston College is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls.

The Coaches: Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe enters his third season at WFU with a 13-11 mark in two years with the Deacs. Entering his ninth season as a head coach, Grobe's career record stands at 46-44-1. Boston College's Tom O'Brien enters his seventh year as a head coach - all with the Eagles - with a 40-31 record.

2003 WFU Football Campaign Begins in Boston The Wake Forest football team kicks off the 2003 season with a non-conference road game against Boston College on Saturday, Aug. 30. Kickoff for the non-televised game is set for 1:00 p.m. at Boston College's Alumni Stadium.

The 2003 opener in Boston marks the third straight year the Demon Deacons have traveled to raise the curtain on a season. WFU opened the 2001 campaign in Greenville, N.C., defeating East Carolina 21-19. Last year, Wake Forest went to overtime at Northern Illinois, but lost to the Huskies, 42-41, in DeKalb.

In fact, five of the last six season openers, dating back to 1998, have taken place on the road.

Boston College enters the 2003 campaign receiving votes in both the AP and coaches polls and is coming off a 9-4 record in 2002. The Eagles defeated Toledo in the Motor City Bowl to close out last season on a winning note and return 12 starters from that squad this fall. Saturday's game marks the first meeting between Wake Forest and Boston College since 1953. BC leads the series 5-3-2.

The 2003 campaign marks the 102nd season of Wake Forest football. WFU enters the year with a 366-553-34 all-time record.

Preseason Camp Recap
Wake Forest wrapped up preseason camp Saturday, Aug. 23 with a final scrimmage at Groves Stadium. Over the last three weeks, the coaching staff implemented a set of schemes on both offense and defense while trying to solidify their personnel at each position.

Numerous position changes took place during the month of August. On defense, highly-touted linebacker Bryan Andrews will see his first collegiate action at defensive end. Senior Jamaal Argrow, who began preseason camp on the line, returned to linebacker, where he recorded 28 tackles a year ago. Napoleon Sykes, who saw action at running back in the spring, practiced at the bandit position during camp.

On offense, senior Nick Burney solidified his starting role at fullback, a position he began to learn at the end of last season. Redshirt freshmen Daniel Orlebar, who came to WFU as a defensive lineman, moved to the OL midway through preseason camp and has moved up to second-string at right guard.

The injury bug did make an appearance during preseason camp, although no one suffered a season-ending injury. Among the hardest hit was the offensive line, as Mark Moroz, a returning starter at offensive tackle, injured the MCL in his right knee and could be out for 4-6 weeks. Guard Joe Salsich fractured a bone in his left hand but has been able to practice with a large cast in place. Linebacker Jason Pratt suffered a similar injury and is also wearing a cast, but practicing.

Numerous players have been held out here and there for various ailments but Moroz is the only player not expected to play at Boston College.

Looking For A Three-Peat
In 2003, the Demon Deacons will attempt to do something that has not been done at Wake Forest in over 50 years -- secure a third consecutive winning season. The Deacs have posted two straight successful campaigns (6-5 in 2001, 7-6 last year), marking the first set of back-to-back winning seasons since 1987-88.

The last time WFU had three straight winning seasons was 1950-52 (6-1-2 in 1950, 6-4-0 in 1951 and 5-4-1 in 1952). D.C. "Peahead" Walker was the last coach to guide a WFU team to a streak of at least three winning seasons, posting five straight from 1944-48.

Randolph Takes The Helm at QB
Sophomore signal caller Cory Randolph solidified his hold on the starting quarterback position during preseason camp. Randolph, who saw limited action behind senior James MacPherson last season, will get his first career starting nod at Boston College this weekend.

Wake Forest is the only school in the ACC that does not return its starting quarterback from 2002.

In one season of action, Randolph completed 24-of-48 passes for 333 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. His 78-yard strike to Jax Landfried at Maryland last year is the longest non-scoring pass in school history, and third-longest pass overall.

Backing up Randolph will be redshirt freshman Zac Taylor and sophomore Anders Larson. The highly-touted freshmen duo of Ben Mauk and Bruce Hall looked impressive in the preseason, but coaches hope to redshirt both in 2003.

Tough Schedule Includes Eight Bowl Teams Wake Forest will face a tough schedule in 2003. Five of its opponents are ranked in the preseason Top 25, with a sixth opponent -- Boston College -- receiving votes in both polls. Eight opponents on the 2003 slate participated in post-season bowl games last fall, compiling a 5-3 record. According to NationalChamps.net, Wake Forest's schedule ranks as the nation's 28th-toughest this fall.

In fact, five 2002 bowl teams -- NC State, Purdue, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Maryland -- will pay a visit to Groves Stadium this fall. In an unofficial survey, the Deacs ranked tied for second nationally with the most bowl opponents on its home schedule.

Seven-Game Slate at Groves This Fall In addition to playing a 12-game regular season schedule for the second straight year, Wake Forest will host seven home games in 2003 -- the largest home slate in the history of Groves Stadium. The Deacs also had seven home games scheduled in 1996, but moved its matchup with Florida State to Orlando.

The 2003 season will mark the third time in school history WFU has played at least a 12-game schedule. The Deacs posted a 6-5-1 record in 1929. Including the Seattle Bowl, WFU's 13-game season in 2002 was the longest on record.

Bouncing Back
Wake Forest will carry an interesting streak into the 2003 season. Following their previous nine losses (dating back to the 2001 season) the Demon Deacons have bounced back to win the very next game.

Five of those eight rebound victories have come on the road, including 2002 wins over Purdue, Georgia Tech and the victory over Oregon in Seattle.

The Deacs have not dropped more than two games in a row since a three-game skid versus Maryland, FSU and NC State early in the 2001 campaign.

New Faces On Offense
Among the nine ACC schools, Wake Forest returns the fewest number of starters on offense this fall. The Deacs have just three returners, all of whom are among the line -- OG Tyson Clabo, C Blake Lingruen and OT Mark Moroz. With Moroz's preseason knee injury, just two returning starters will take the field at Boston College.

Florida State has the second-fewest number of returning starters (4) in the ACC, while the rest of the league brings back six or more on offense this fall.
While there will be new starters for WFU at the offensive skill positions, many of them are already familiar faces who have seen significant action during their career. Quarterback Cory Randolph saw action in nine games last year; running back Chris Barclay gained 703 yards and nine touchdowns playing behind senior Tarence Williams; and receiver Jason Anderson has already logged lots of playing time with 1,007 yards on 51 career catches.

New starters can be found at receiver (Willie Idlette), tight end (Josh Warren), the tackle spots (Wesley Bryant, Greg Adkins) and at right guard (Steve Vallos).

Who's Up, Who's Down
Following the departure of offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun in the spring, Grobe reshuffled the offensive coaching assignments and brought a familiar face, Tom Elrod, back to the fold. Offensive line coach Steed Lobotzke has added offensive coordinator duties to his title, while Jeff Mullen now oversees the quarterbacks. Elrod is coaching the fullbacks and tight ends while Kevin Sherman continues to oversee the receivers and Billy Mitchell coaches the running backs. The defensive assignments remained the same.

On game day, coaches Lobotzke, Sherman, Ray McCartney and Keith Henry will be upstairs in the booth. Defensive coordinator Dean Hood, Elrod, Mitchell, Mullen and Brad Lambert will be on the sideline.

Anderson Among Nation's Top Returning Receivers Although he wasn't a starter in 2002, junior Jason Anderson is one of the nation's top returning wide receivers, in terms of yards per catch. Anderson averaged 23.3 yards per reception, a figure that ranks second nationally behind Houston senior Brandon Middleton (24.1 ypc).

Anderson, who caught six of WFU's eight receiving touchdowns last season, also reached an impressive milestone in the Seattle Bowl. He recorded his 1,000th career receiving yard in just his 51st reception.

Clabo Invited to East-West Shrine Game Wake Forest senior offensive guard Tyson Clabo has already accepted an invitation to participate in the 79th annual Shrine East-West Football Game. The all-star contest takes place January 10, 2004 at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, CA.

Clabo will be the 15th Demon Deacon to play in the East-West game, and the first since Bryan Ray in 2000.

Kicking Game a Strength
After getting off to a shaky start in 2002, the Wake Forest kicking game should be a strength of the Deacon squad this fall. Sophomore placekicker Matt Wisnosky appears on the preseason watch list for the Lou Groza Award after scoring 84 points last year, the third-highest single season total in school history. Wisnosky, a former walk-on, missed two of his first three field goal attempts last season (and the third was blocked), but bounced back to make 16 of his final 20 attempts, including a career-long 43-yarder in the Seattle Bowl.

Punter Ryan Plackemeier was thrown into action as a true freshman in 2002, and showed steady improvement over the course of the season. His punting average of 43.2 yards would have ranked first in the ACC had he attempted just a few more punts to meet the minimum qualifying standards. Regardless, Lindy's magazine named him a first-team preseason All-ACC selection.

Eyeing the Record Book
Keep an eye on these Demon Deacons this season as they appear or move up the charts in the WFU record book this season.

* Though just a junior, Jason Anderson may start to appear in several of the career receiving categories this fall, including receptions, receiving touchdowns and average per reception. Anderson has already recorded three 100-yard receiving games, a feat matched by only 13 other Deacs throughout the years.
* Senior free safety Quintin Williams already ranks 10th on WFU's career passes broken up chart with 19.
* Placekicker Matt Wisnosky has three more seasons to make his mark on the career kicking records after setting WFU single-season marks in field goals made and attempted in 2002.

Making the Grade, Part I
In 2002, the Wake Forest football team had the highest graduation rate of schools participating in bowl games. WFU, Penn State, Oregon and Virginia all tied for first among bowl teams with a graduation rate of 88 percent (for student-athletes entering in the fall of 1995 and graduating within six years).

When the American Football Coaches Association released its Academic Achievement Award winners over the summer, Wake Forest was again recognized as having one of nation's top graduation rates. The Demon Deacons were one of six teams to receive honorable mention with a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher (based on the freshman class of 1997-98). Interestingly, WFU's opponent this week, Boston College, was also lauded for its graduation rate of 90 percent or higher.

Making the Grade, Part II
Ten members of the Demon Deacon football team, including six returning players in 2003, were named to the ACC Honor Roll for the 2002-03 academic year. Returning honorees include Obi Chukwumah (his third appearance), Patrick Ghee, Steve Hale (his second), Anders Larson, Matt Lopatka, and Brad White. Other Deacs appearing on the list were Tim Bennett (fifth appearance), Connor Breen, James MacPherson and Andrew Shelton.

To be named to the ACC Honor Roll, student-athletes must post a GPA of 3.0 or better for the entire academic year. A total of 16 Demon Deacons were named to the WFU Dean's List at least one semester during the 2002-03 school year.

Coming Up Next
After returning from Boston College, the Deacs will enjoy a three-week homestand, hosting NC State on Sept. 6, Purdue on Sept. 13 and East Carolina on Sept. 20. Both the NC State and Purdue games will be televised (NC State on ABC, Purdue on ESPN) and both will kickoff at 12 noon. Game time is still TBA for ECU.


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