Dan Collins has covered Wake Forest sports for nearly 20 years at the Winston-Salem Journal. Besides his regular reporting, Dan also publishes the My Take on Wake blog. We can't think of a better source to deliver the skinny on the 2011 Demon Deacons.
Dan, where has Wake improved most over last season?
The biggest improvement is physical maturity. The Deacons were too young and underdeveloped to take care of themselves last year against the brawnier teams they played. They're a year older and stronger, and that has translated into more confidence.
How much of an impact has Lonnie Galloway -- new WR coach and co-passing coordinator -- had on the Deacs success so far?
Of all the position groups, wide receiver has been the most impressive. Chris Givens, who has spent much of his career in Coach Jim Grobe's doghouse, has emerged as one of the ACC's best. Michael Campanaro has battled a hamstring, but he's been really good when available. Danny Dembry, a disappointment in his first three seasons, is off to a strong start as a senior. And against BC, Terence Davis made the catch of the game on a 3rd and 15 deep in Wake territory in the fourth quarter. Galloway's impact has been significant. He's a high-energy guy with a strong infectious personality that has rubbed off on the whole program.
How different is Grobe's offense from the misdirection-oriented attack he ran in his earlier years at Wake? Riley Skinner changed everything about Wake's offense. Whereas B.S. (Before Skinner) the Deacons were an 1-formation team that ran downhill with a fair share of misdirection, the arrival of Riley convinced Grobe and his offensive coaches to change gears. They've gone almost exclusively to the shotgun, spread attack that flings the ball around. They rarely line up in the I, which is one reason the running game really hasn't gotten untracked the past couple of years.
Wake is right behind FSU in ACC defensive stats (no. 3). What's been the key to the team's defensive revival?
FSU fans remember Riley Skinner as Wake's playmaker QB. How does Tanner Price compare?
Riley Skinner was the greatest quarterback to play at Wake, but Price has a chance to be something special as well. Both are ardent students of the game with great heads on their shoulders. Price doesn't have Skinner's moxie yet, but I've never seen a quarterback at Wake who did. Grobe was really, really impressed with the way Price survived last year's pounding without feeling sorry for himself or blaming anyone else. Skinner had more touch on his passes, but Price's arm is stronger. My sense is that Price, if he can stay healthy, will be closing in on Skinner's records in a couple of years.