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Wake Forest University

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

August 25, 2003 The Big Picture Wake Forest finally made a big commitment to football when it signed coach Jim Grobe to a 10-year deal, then followed a very well-deserved champagne toast with a lot of serious talk about facilities improvements. Athletic director Ron Wellman knows Grobe, a proven winner and motivator who has spent his whole career figuring out how to win with less, is as close to perfect as it gets for the Deacons. So far, Grobe has wowed many — including rival coaches — just by going 13-11 in two years, 6-10 in the ACC. But can he get long-time doormat Wake to take the next step and become a factor in the league's upper echelon, while increasing fan excitement along the way? It won't be easy. The PooP Despite Grobe's rare ability to get his team to overachieve on a consistent basis, don't be surprised if 2003 turns out to be a speed bump on his road to success. The Deacons suffered heavy losses, and their schedule is tough. Unless Wake gets some shocking performances from players who haven't seen much action, this team probably doesn't have the talent or — perhaps more importantly — the depth to go to a bowl game. But expect better things around the corner. Most players will return in 2004, and Grobe's solid recruiting classes will be that much further along on the all-important maturity curve. Building Blocks Wide receiver Jason Anderson averaged 23.3 yards per catch last fall, and he finally may have a strong-armed QB to get the ball to him deep. Tailback Chris Barclay, if he can get some blocking, could shock the league with his talent. Offensive guard Tyson Clabo, a mobile mountain signed during the Jim Caldwell era, has NFL potential. Linebacker Brad White led the team in tackles in 2002. Free safety Quintin Williams, an All-ACC candidate, has become an important team leader on and off the field. Coming On Strong Nose tackle Goryal Scales, a small but quick battler in the trenches, will be the leader of a completely revamped defensive line. Bandit Caron Bracy reads plays extremely well. Grobe expects big things from speedsters Chris Davis and Willie Idlette in Fabian Davis' old role, which involves lots of movement, carrying and catching. If he gets his head straight, watch out for backup tailback Cornelius Birgs. In time, young defensive ends Bryan Andrews and Jyles Tucker could become big-impact players. Done For Me Lately  

Year

ACC

Overall

Postseason

1993

1-7 (9)

2-9

None

1994

1-7 (8)

3-8

None

1995

0-8 (9)

1-10

None

1996

1-7 (8)

3-8

None

1997

3-5 (6)

5-6

None

1998

2-6 (7)

3-8

None

1999

3-5 (5)

7-5

Aloha Bowl (W)

2000

1-7 (8)

2-9

None

2001

3-5 (7)

6-5

None

2002

3-5 (7)

7-6

Seattle Bowl (W)

ACC: 18-62 (.225); No. 8 in ACC
Overall: 39-74 (.345); No. 8 in ACC Cause For Concern? Wake's traditional problem has been its inability to compete along the lines. But Grobe has had some talent on both sides lately, and his offensive scheme takes advantage of depth (rotating to keep fresh) and motion (moving to get better blocking angles). Both lines are extremely suspect this season, though. All three defensive starters are gone, with only Scales a known commodity among the returnees. Three new players (four including the tight end) will start on the offensive line until steady tackle Mark Moroz returns from injury, and no backups have seen any significant action. Another spot to watch is turnover margin. The Deacons were plus-18 last year, partly thanks to 16 — a school-record low — on offense. With an inexperienced QB and eight other new starters, the offense isn't likely to be as sure-handed this fall. The Whole Truth “We've never been seen seriously as a football school. I think that's changing, but it's not an overnight thing.”

— Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe CHART BY: THE WAKE INSIDER