Ask A Blogger Series: BloggerSoDear Talks Wake Forest Spring Football

We keep going with @HokieGuru’s series and today we are looking at Wake Forest. The Deacs are that team you can’t ever underestimate.

Good evening from @HokieGuru.  I’m here today to discuss the ACC spring football practice with each bloggers from each of the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference teams.  What follows is our interview with Jake Sloan from @BloggerSoDear.   Here’s his bio:  Jake is a 2009 and 2010 alumnus of Wake Forest University and is currently a CPA in the NC Triad area.  He also manages the Wake Forest athletics blog, Blogger So Dear, Twitter Account.  He is here to discuss Wake Forest football.  Our interview is below:

@HokieGuru:  Tell us about your spring game – how was the turnout?  Was the team well received?

@BloggerSoDear:  While the Wake Forest Spring Game is never going to generate a huge turnout like some of our ACC counterparts, the turnout was pretty solid by WFU standards.  Although the end of the season did not go as planned, last year was a big bounce back year after a rough campaign in 2010.  I feel that the fanbase was energized by making a bowl and has pretty high expectations with the return of several key players.

@HokieGuru: What are some of the major strengths coming out of spring practice?

@BloggerSoDear: Obviously, it is always nice to feel secure with the QB position.  Tanner Price put up good numbers last season and should be ready to make another jump in his junior year.  The other two areas that I feel best about are the secondary and WR corps.  CB Merrill “Bud” Noel was a freshman All-American last season and Kevin Johnson, AJ Marshall and Dominique Tate should be solid as well.  Junior safeties Daniel Mack and Duran Lowe will need to step up and take over the leadership roles that Cyhl Quarles and Josh Bush left behind, which they are more than capable of doing.  With the depth at corner, I also would not be surprised if Marshall or Kenny Okoro make the move to safety.

With the departure of WR Chris Givens to the NFL, the door is open for Michael Campanaro to step into the limelight.  Campanaro had some spectacular moments last year and I’m certain that the coaching staff will figure out numerous ways to get the shifty slot receiver the ball as often as possible next season.  It will be interesting to see who steps up and becomes the clear #2 and #3 receivers behind Camp. Matt James and Brandon Terry are prime candidates, both standing at 6’5”, but neither have a lot of ACC experience.  My money for the #2 spot is on Terence Davis, who returned last season after missing the previous one with an ACL tear.  Other candidates include senior Quan Rucker and promising redshirt freshman Sherman Ragland.  There is plenty of depth here, it is just a matter of one or two of them separating themselves from the pack to try to replace some of Givens’ amazing production last season.  

@HokieGuru: What are some of the major weaknesses coming out of spring practice?  In other words, what do you think Wake Forest will be working on in August before the first game?  What are the questions that you think have to be resolved?

@BloggerSoDear:  As always it seems with WF football, the biggest questions are on the lines.  Wake lost four offensive lineman to graduation, including 49ers draftee Joe Looney, so for much of the Spring Coach Grobe focused on getting an idea of the depth chart here.  New OL Coach Jonathan Himebauch will need immediate production from inexperienced guys including Antonio Ford, Daniel Blitch, Dylan Heartsill, Cody Preble and DL-convert Ramon Booi.  This group joins returning center Garrick Williams and will need to gel quickly in order to keep Price off his backside and to open up some running lanes for Josh Harris and Orville Reynolds.

On the other side of the ball, the lack of size and skill alongside the Deacons’ MVP Nikita Whitlock is alarming.  Wake’s move to the 4-3 last year was an effort to use their LB depth to mask this weakness, but pressuring the QB and stopping the run continued to be problem areas.  It will important for the coaching staff to address this, as someone other than Whitlock has to be able to consistently get into the backfield and make plays.

@HokieGuru: Fall will be here before we know it – what position concerns you the most?

@BloggerSoDear:  As I mentioned above, the OL worries me the most.  Price obviously needs time back there and this line is just way too inexperienced.  If he has to run for his life every series it could be a long season.

@HokieGuru: Who are the new recruits that you are impressed with the most?  Are there any that you think will get some major playing time right away?

@BloggerSoDear:  As you know, Grobe’s philosophy revolves around redshirting a vast majority of his freshmen.  Unless one of the big linemen come in and surprise, the only freshmen likely to see the field right away will be one of the tight ends, Zach Gordon or Anthony Rook.  The Deacs lost their top two TE’s to graduation so that’s a big hole that will need to be filled by a youngster.  Redshirt freshmen that I look to have an impact are WR Sherman Ragland, DE Desmond Floyd and ILB Brandon Chubb.  

@HokieGuru: Based on what you saw/read from spring practice, do you think Wake Forest will be better than last year?  Why or why not?

@BloggerSoDear:  With an improved defense, a more experienced Tanner Price running the show, and two solid, healthy running backs in Harris and Reynolds, I would set the bar at 7 wins, a slight improvement over last year.  Again, whether or not the lines perform even at an average level will be the key determining factor in Wake’s season.  

@HokieGuru: Give us the pulse of the Wake Forest football program – what are the Demon Deacons bloggers/fans thinking right now on the status of the program?

@BloggerSoDear:  With the dumpster fire of a basketball program that Wake has right now, I think most Deacon fans are really looking forward to getting back out to BB&T Field and watching a man who knows what he’s doing on the sidelines.  Last year the team made a significant leap forward and was just a missed FG at Clemson away from playing in the ACC Championship Game again.  Jim Grobe made some difficult coaching decisions in the offseason, which pleased many that felt he needed to shake things up and get some new ideas in the program.  I think the majority of the fanbase, including myself, feels that things are going back in the right direction.  

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