Deacons' spring focus will be building depth
Mar 19, 2013 (Winston-Salem Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Wake Forest's efforts to finish a football season strong for a change will begin today when the Deacons assemble for their first practice of the spring.
Coach Jim Grobe said that a major emphasis will be to build the kind of depth needed to avoid the late-season fades that scuttled the past four seasons. The Deacons, since their last winning season of 2008, are a combined 4-17 after the seventh game of a season.
"Our problem has always been at Wake Forest the depth,'' Grobe said. "We usually don't have a problem finding a good 11 on both sides of the ball, but it's when those guys have to miss snaps...."
The Deacons will open practice without at least eight players who have chances to either start or play significant time next season.
Tackle Steven Chase is recovering from a torn anterior-cruciate ligament, guard Antonio Ford from a broken leg, linebacker Zachary Allen from shoulder surgery, wide receiver Matt James from a broken foot, wide receiver Brandon Terry from a broken finger and freshman defensive lineman James Looney from surgery to repair an ankle he first injured in high school.
Also flanker Michael Campanaro will miss at least the first few practices while recovering from surgery to remove bone chips from his ankle, and tackle Colin Summers is sidelined, perhaps for good, with a possible blood disorder.
Their absence will open up the competition for playing time.
Grobe said he's excited to see how much immediate help he might get from the freshman class that was mostly redshirted last season, including offensive linemen Tyler Hayworth, Will Smith and Joel Suggs, wide receivers Jared Crump and Jonathan Williams, tailback Joshua Wilhite, defensive end Josh Banks, inside linebacker Teddy Matthews, outside linebacker Steve Donatell and safety Ryan Janvion.
"We'll see how it turns out, but right now there's no one in that class that we're not happy with, and that's a good thing,'' Grobe said.
"These young guys, we're going to let them compete for starting jobs, but if they don't get starting jobs, they'll be the guys who are going to fill in when you might need to give a guy a rest or you have a guy who is banged up or sick and has to miss a game.
"That's a key thing for us.''
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