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2013 Pre-Season Preview: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

2012 Record: 3-5 (5-7 in ACC)

Head Coach: Jim Grobe (73-74 at WF, 40-56 in ACC)

Four Year Trend: 4.75 wins and 7.5 losses 

Last Bowl Game: 2011 Music City Bowl: lost to Mississippi St 23-17

Stadium: BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, NC (capacity = 31,500)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 63rd out of 69 BCS teams

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Out of Conference: 8/29 vs Presbyterian, 9/14 vs ULM, 9/21 at Army, 11/30 at Vanderbilt

Most Likely Conference Wins: 9/6 at Boston College, 11/23 vs Duke

Swing Games: 10/19 vs Maryland, 11/2 at Syracuse

 

Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stats to Fear: converted on just 32.32% of third downs (10th in ACC), had just 34 plays of 20 or more yards (last in ACC)

Stats to Cheer: +0.67 turnover margin (1st in ACC), Scored TDs on 76% of red zone trips (1st in ACC)

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 102nd out of 124 teams

 

Personnel:

Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 7, Defense: 8, Special Teams: 2

Key Defensive Returnees: LB Justin Jackson (81 tackles, 4 sacks), LB Mike Olson (78 tackles), S AJ Marshall (76 tackles), CB Kevin Johnson (58 tackles, 3 INT), DT Nikita Whitlock (51 tackles, 3 sacks)

Key Offensive Returnees: QB Tanner Price (2300 yds pass, 55.6% completions, 12 TD, 7 INT), RB Josh Harris (608 yds rush, 4.44 ypc, 5 TD), WR Michael Campanaro (79 rec, 6 TD)

Top 2013 Recruits: S Michael Stevenson, DE Duke Ejiofor

 

Verdict: 

Last year I pegged Wake Forest at 6-6 and they just about lived up to that by going 5-7. Jim Grobe returns for his 13th season but he's still searching for that magic that he found from 2006 to 2008 when Wake had three of their five winning seasons under Grobe.

Tanner Price returns at QB for his senior season but he had a bit of a down year last season after a fantastic sophomore campaign. That tends to happen when you lose your top target and no one stepped up and took the spot that was left when Chris Givens went to the NFL. Michael Campanaro is a very steady receiver as he's had over 70 catches the last two years but his 9.66 yards per catch need a target on the opposite side of the field to help Price out. RB Josh Harris returns for his senior season but like Price, he's seen better days as he will look to relive his freshman year when he ran for a career high in yards, TDs and ypc. The offensive line returns just 44 starts and will make or break this offense. 

The Demon Deacons return their top three tacklers and they are all seniors. This looks like a solid defensive unit but not a spectacular one. The defensive line should be a strength if it can stay healthy and the LB corps should be steady.

With the exception of the win over UNC, it could be said that the Demon Deacons beat every team on the schedule that they were better than and lost to every team that they were worse than. I would expect a similar experience this year unless Harris and Price can return to the height of their previous performance and the OL comes together quickly.

Prediction: 5-7

 

Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:

Independent: ArmyIdahoNavyNew Mexico StOld Dominion
The American- HoustonMemphisRutgersSMUTempleUCFUConnUSF
Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, writer for Crystal Ball Run and founder of College Football Zealots

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