April 21, 2003
Spring 2003 OverviewThe PooP
On the surface, Jim Grobe is just another football coach, someone who loses almost as much as he wins. He went 13-11 in his first two campaigns at Wake Forest, and he's 46-44-1 in eight seasons (including six at Ohio) overall. If just one of his victories with the Demon Deacons had fallen the other way, he'd be the personification of the .500 coach. Educated observers know better, of course, and they appreciate Grobe for what he is the perfect fit for Wake football. The Deacs still don't overwhelm opponents with talent, but their unique schemes and tough, smart play have made them competitive against almost everyone. Thanks largely to poor recruiting at the end of the Jim Caldwell era, the 2003 season looks like a rebuilding year, but with Grobe on hand, who knows?
Probable 2003 Starters
* returning starter
+ injured/missed spring drills
Coming On Strong
The back eight in Wake's rare 3-3-5 defensive alignment returns seven starters, loads of experience (seniors and juniors everywhere), a handful of reliable second-teamers and a few promising youngsters. They'll need to be strong in the back as the brand-new line develops up front. Rock-solid returning starters: LB Kellen Brantley, RG Tyson Clabo, CB Eric King, LB Brad White, FS Quintin Williams. Also looking good: WR Jason Anderson, LB Bryan Andrews, RB Chris Barclay, RB Cornelius Birgs, WR Chris Davis, DB Patrick Ghee, WR Willie Idlette.
Cause For Concern?
The Wake coaches are masters at using scheme and technique to overcome deficiencies in size and strength, but this fall will bring their biggest test of all. There is not a single proven performer on the defensive line, and the offensive line an absolutely vital part of the Deacons' unique attack also has numerous question marks. Also: new offensive coordinator, new quarterback, depth along both lines, tight end, pass rush.
On The Sidelines
The following players missed all or most of spring drills: OL Dustin Abercrombie (shoulder), OL Craig Jones (suspension), OL Mark Moroz (knee), LB Chris Owen (knee), NT Jamil Smith (knee).
The following scholarship athletes left the program in the past 12-18 months with eligibility remaining: LB Trevor Harris, WR Maurice Moten (academics), DE Jacob Petty, DT Cardell Richardson, PK Chris Strappel, OL Ryan Tekampe, WR Derek Tharpe (academics), TE Josh Warren, LB Tyrek White, LB Garrett Young.