The Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2014 Record: 3-9 (1-7 ACC)
Returning Starters: Offense (7) Defense (7)
Key Players: QB John Wolford, LB Brandon Chubb, TE Cam Serigne
It could not get much worse in 2014 for the rebuilding Wake Forest Demon Deacons. In their first season under new head coach Dave Clawson, the offense struggled mightily, and in all honesty, that’s putting it lightly. Quarterback John Wolford, much like his predecessor Tanner Price, was thrown into the fire as a true freshman in 2014, passed for just over 2,000 yards on 367 attempts. He completed 58% of his passes last season, but he only averaged 5.6 yards per completion, which was last in the ACC. A majority of those passes went to redshirt sophomore tight end Cam Serigne, who snagged 54 balls for 531 yards and five touchdowns last season. For a majority of the season though, the offensive line struggles led to a poor passing attack. Wolford was sacked a total of 48 times, which was the most in college football, and the team’s 176.3 passing yards per game was 109th in the nation.
As far as the running game was concerned, it was almost completely non-existent. 37% of Wake Forest’s rushing attempts last season went for a loss or no gain. The result was a season average of 39.9 rushing yards per game, which was 127th in the country. Their leading rusher, Dezmond Wortham returns to the fold in 2015, but only carried the ball for 240 yards last season. The hope is that the young offensive line, which returns three starters, will gel a bit better with another season of experience, leading to an improved rushing attack and better protection of their starting quarterback.
On defense, the team returns seven starters, but will need to find a way to replace both of their starting corners from the 2014 squad. Kevin Johnson, who was as good a corner as any in the ACC last season, is gone to the NFL, while his counterpart Merrill Noel has bounced around before most recently being released by the Buffalo Bills. As the Demon Deacons try to replace their two stalwarts at corner, it has not been a smooth transition, as the two replacements missed all of spring practice due to injury. Junior Brad Watson is back practicing after recovering from a wrist injury, and is poised for a breakout year. Meanwhile, there’s potential for top recruit Dionte Austin to see some playing time at the other corner as a true freshman, as the other potential replacement Bryant Gross-Armiento is recovering from a tear of his ACL back in March. Meanwhile, at linebacker, the corps led by senior Brandon Chubb should be the strength of the entire team, as the veteran group will try to improve a defense that was 62nd in points per game against last season.
This however, only tells part of the story. Take a look at the podcast below with Mark Rogers and me, as we discuss the full prospects of the 2015 Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
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