College Football Preview: The 2014 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2014 College Football Preview
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2013 Recap: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons took a minor step back last year with a 4-8 record and missed a bowl game for the second straight season. The result was enough to make a head coaching change for the first time since 2000. Wake Forest actually had a respectable defense that was ranked fifth in the ACC, but the offense was ranked dead last in the conference and averaged just 18.3 points per game. The Demon Deacons lack of offense was the reason they ended the season with five straight losses, as they had five games with less than three touchdowns.
Offense: Wake Forest returns only five starters on the offensive side of the ball, but that may not be a bad thing considering how poorly things went last year. Three of those starters are along the offensive line, which means Wake Forest must replace quarterback Tanner Price, starting running back Josh Harris and star receiver Michael Campanaro. The positive is that quarterback Tyler Cameron did see some time as a freshman, but he did throw three interceptions in just 24 pass attempts. Still, this has the makings of another long season offensively for Wake Forest, as no returning receiver caught more than 23 passes last season.
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Defense: Wake Forest returns only five starters on the defensive side, but two of them happen to be their best players in defensive back Ryan Janvion and Brandon Chubb. The two led the Demon Deacons in tackles last year and intercepted two passes. The downside is that Wake Forest loses all of their pass rushers, as Nikita Whitlock, Zack Thompson and Justin Jackson are all gone. Three of the five starters returning do come from the secondary, a unit that ranked seventh in the ACC. So, Wake Forest at least has something going on the defensive side of the ball.
Special Teams: Kicker Chad Hedlund returns after making eight of his 12 attempts last season and punter Alexander Kinal comes back after averaging less than 40 yards per punt. Needless to say, Wake Forest needs better special teams play this season.
Outlook: Wake Forest has a promising head coach in Dave Clawson, but it’s going to take some time before the program sees improvement. There’s simply not enough talent on this team to compete in the Atlantic, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The good news is that the Demon Deacons do have a favorable home schedule and should be able to match last year’s win total with no problem.