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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Likes and Dislikes

Five and Five: Wake Forest

What are five things I like about Wake Forest in 2010? What about five things I don’t? This list has all the answers.


1. I like the subtle change in offensive philosophy. While Wake has always placed a premium upon a healthy ground game, a change at quarterback will lead to an even more run-based option attack in 2010.

2. Three returning starters in the secondary. Yes, losing Brandon Ghee hurts. Wake Forest plans to address his departure by moving Josh Bush to cornerback from free safety, with past starter Alex Frye earning the nod opposite Cyhl Quarles at safety.

3. It’s almost unfortunate that Wake plans to somewhat deemphasize the passing game, as this team looks very good at receiver. The trio of Marshall Williams, Devon Brown and Chris Givens can get it done.

4. Depth at running back. Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass will do much of the heavy lifting, and in this new offense will easily combine for 1,000 yards on the year.

5. Jim Grobe. One of the finest coaches in the A.C.C., Grobe always gets a supreme effort out of his team. He’ll have his hands full in 2010, but he deserves the benefit of the doubt.


1. Losing Riley Skinner hurts. His replacement, Skylar Jones, has yet to take a snap on the college level. The quarterback position goes from being the most experienced in the A.C.C. to the, you guessed it, least experienced.

2. A similar story along the offensive line: three lost starters, some question marks. Senior Russell Nenon, who returns at center, will take on a leadership role for the Demon Deacons.

3. The interior of the defensive line is very young — not to mention largely unproven. Wake looks to supplant a pair of multiple-year starters with a rotation of freshmen and sophomores, with Ramon Booi and Frank Souza currently standing atop the depth chart.

4. As a whole, these Deacons are very young. Areas where Wake Forest need to improve — such as against the run, for instance — will remain concerns, at least until inexperienced contributors acclimate themselves to the college game.

5. A really tough schedule. I have nine F.B.S. teams — Presbyterian doesn’t count, of course — ranked ahead of Wake; only Maryland and Vanderbilt landed landed lower on the Countdown.

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