RB Chris Barclay

2004 Statistics

Coach: Jim Grobe
22-25, 4 years
2004 Record: 4-7
at Clemson LOST 30-37 (2OT)
at East Carolina WON 31-17
NC A&T WON 42-3
at NC State LOST 21-27 (OT)
DUKE WON 24-22
at Miami FL LOST 7-52
at Maryland LOST 7-13

2004 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2005 Outlook

Going 4-7 was a disappointment, but it was so close to being a very good year in Winston-Salem. In nine of 11 games, Wake Forest either led or was tied in the fourth quarter, but the Demon Deacons had trouble finishing (six of their losses were by a combined total of 36 points). After starting the year 3-1 (with the loss coming in double-OT) they then lost six of their last seven. Streaky play has to be eradicated with such astute young men, guys who have now proven (to themselves) that they can compete very well with the ACC's best. It's tough to win games when you don't score, though, and averaging 15.7 points in those seven tilts reveals what 2005 must reflect for improvements to occur (and then take permanent hold).

To have realistic bowl hopes in 2005, Wake Forest has to find more offense, and that means more production from the streaky quarterback spot. We expect Cory Randolph to initially hold off the challenge of Ben Mauk and have a solid year. Mauk is inserted otherwise, and the future of the program will take shape once he hits the turf, for he is 2006 and beyond. Combined with all-America candidate Chris Barclay & his cohorts at running back, they'll all make the offense much improved. Seven starters returning on defense will help that side of the ball, too, but the promises on D are not as high. A good job of keeping the ball out of the endzone (reflected via their 41st ranking for scoring defense, though 71stfor total defense) often kept them alive, and that is something this year's version can again achieve with someone like Abbate influencing the other 10. If not, it will be an even longer season than last.

Expectations are rarely high at Wake (one bowl appearance since 1999), and they won't be very high again, but there is enough fresh talent to join that of the returning starters to make a bowl appearance rather realistic. Other than the season-finale against Miami, five of the six home games are winnable contests. The road schedule isn't anything nice, though, so they will really earn it if a bowl is achieved.

For a school with 3800 students, it is an annual miracle that Wake can even field a competitive I-A team, let alone compete like they will in their BCS-aligned conference. This is true student-athletics, as serious classwork allows a high percentage of these pig-skinners to develop skills that will take them much farther off the field than they ever will on (less than 10% of college players ever play in the NFL). This is something Wake genuinely stresses. In other words, here, it is mainly about the kids and their education. With that said, we salute this program for carrying on the tradition of making these young men and their lives more important than objectifying them for the school's financial gain(s). Success reflected in victories and money (via bowls) is nice, but this program is special for many more reasons, reasons that ultimately produce true winners, and we recognize this in order to prosper that which seems to be marginally vacant in most present major I-A college football programs.

Projected 2005 record: 5-6
QB - 3 DL - 2.5
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 3.5 DB - 2
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Cory Randolph, 147-78-4, 972 yds., 3 TD

Rushing: Chris Barclay, 243 att., 1010 yds., 9 TD

Receiving: Nate Morton, 26 rec., 391 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Chris Barclay, 9 TD, 54 pts.

Punting: Ryan Plackemeier, 64 punts, 43.9 avg.

Kicking: Matt Wisnosky, 5-8 FG, 17-17 PAT, 32 pts.

Tackles: Jonathan Abbate, 101 tot., 60 solo

Sacks: Matthew Robinson, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Josh Gattis, 2 for 43 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Kevin Marion, 20 ret., 23.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Willie Idlette, 26 ret., 4.7 avg., 0 TD


K/P Ryan Plackemeier
OFFENSE: Jason Anderson-WR, R.D. Montgomery-TE, Blake Lingruen-C
DEFENSE: Jerome Nichols-DT, Caron Bracy-SLB, Brad White-WLB, Eric King-CB, Marcus McGruder-CB, Warren Braxton-FS

Just like last year, Cory Randolph and Ben Mauk are fighting for the starting job, and just like last year, that fight could last into/throughout the fall. Randolph is a solid option quarterback with good speed, but an average arm. His strength and consistency get him the nod, with the forth-best all-time completion percentage (57.1) in school history. He had started 20 straight games when Mauk unseated him with three games to play. Mauk has done little on the field to show what made him a national record-setter in prep (also Mr. Football for Ohio and Gatorade Player of the Year - both 2002), but he's done enough to push Randolph. QB coach Jeff Mullen calls Mauk "a clone of Cory Randolph", so you can see how our differentiating them is pretty moot. Both players are good at protecting the ball, and are good on the run, but neither does anything spectacular, yet. This is a budding unit, with Mauk the born leader they are just waiting for. He gets even more reps as he is the future leader, so pains may occur here for that reason. Randolph will produce and lead well, but once the clutch comes out and Mauk is in gear, look out ACC.

Running Back
The running game all starts with Chris Barclay, the ACC's leading rusher the past two years. The shifty runner (third place in 100 & 200 meter, KY state championships) is one of the nation's best, and a big reason the Demon Deacons are so successful on the ground (17th in '04) - they run it 68%, and this back got close to half of those carries. Wake Forest had a nice 1-2 punch with Micah Andrews. He's more of a power runner and made a huge impact when he touched the ball (6.1 yards per carry). Quickster Alonzo Chisolm should be a role-player, somehow, on a team that runs this much. Two juniors, ex-DE Damon McWhite (rushing) and converted-TE Dan Callahan, (receiving) both have their strong points, so utilizing their "third back" abilities would expand these behemoths repertoire and the offense impact. Newbie Kevin Harris comes in a FB but is a hybrid with speed who will also merit reps, regardless of how. We feel this unit can improve on its output and efficiency with the line being stronger and the QBs being more comfortable. Watch Andrews get a balance of the carries, so that Barclay and he form a true tandem sure to be infiltrated by the capable youth.

The quarterbacks had trouble finding the open receivers in '04, but when they do, there is good talent catching the ball. Tall, speedy Nate Morton developed into a solid go-to player in '04 and leads the receiving corps. Neither Chris Davis nor Kevin Marion (4.32 speed) have the size of the 6-4 Morton, but both are great athletes able to stretch a defense. Fast Willie Idlette and Delon Lowe's size provide solid depth and will make a bigger impact that they did in '04. This was a good unit a year ago, and there is more experience so they will get better as the quarterback situation is straightened out. The overall talent here is well-cast, with big guys for downfield blocking who cannot be ignored for their snarling potential, so their multitude of abilities (often to distract) will help the entire offensive flow.

Tight End
John Tereshinski and Zac Selmon return as the top two, and both will play a ton as the Demon Deacons use many double tight end sets. Tereshinski is undersized compared to most Division tight ends, but he makes up for it with above-average speed, which allows him to stretch the field (11+ per his eight catches). Slightly bigger than Tereshinski, Selmon is the better blocker, but, too, has good hands. Neither one will see the ball much, but they both play their roles well. Tight ends don't make huge contributions statistically at Wake, but this is a very good pair that's only going to make this side of the ball even better.

Offensive Line
Obviously, they've done something right here with such a strong ground game. Four of the starters are back, led by Steve Vallos, but there is some musical chairs going on with positions. Vallos was one of the best linemen in the ACC as a guard in '04. Slated for tackle, he's played at guard and tackle, making him Wake's most versatile linemen. Greg Adkins was a solid performer at guard, but he will move into the vacant spot at center and development will be crucial. Matt Brim will move in from right tackle to right guard, and Arby Jones returns to his left guard spot. At left tackle is either Wesley Bryant or Louis Frazier, who both have made spot starts. Wake definitely has one of the smallest lines in the ACC, but in their option offense, these big Demons' agility is more important than bulk, as is their experience. This will be a cohesive group that once again anchors the run game, but will have to do more to secure their hurler - about one out of every ten times the QB dropped back, he was sacked.

The run game makes this offense go, period. While the production (206.1 yards per game, 17th) looks good, it's a little low for an option team. The most successful run-first teams also know how to pass with efficiency, and Wake's air attack was poor in its ability to achieve when called upon to do so. When an option team averages a nearly two-minute time-of-possession differential all season - and it's in favor of the opponents - you know where to lay the (team) blame. The key, especially in the option, is the QB's decision making...it hasn't been strong with these two candidates, yet. To this ends, we note that in prep, Mauk ran a no-huddle, no-back spread attack where he made all play calls. Obviously that's a different style than Wake's, though this gives Mauk (Wake's future) a huge upside for mental intangibles, one well-worth the pain it may take so he can reach his potential. But Randolph himself is not worth tossing aside, as his game management skills guarantee stability throughout the season's early stages, to say the least of what he brings in sheer athletic talent. With nine starters back, including four on the line (seven returning linemen started at least once), and with the quarterbacks more experienced, the Deacons will hit their stride here and finally click more like we all expect (with this much talent). There's no excuse for the offense not scoring more than it did a year ago.


OG Steve Vallos


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Benjamin Mauk-So (6-1, 200) Cory Randolph-Sr (6-0, 196)
FB Richard Belton-Fr (6-1, 240) Damon McWhite-Jr (6-1, 264)
TB Chris Barclay-Sr (5-10, 180) Micah Andrews-So (5-10, 205)
WR Nate Morton-Jr (6-3, 202) Chris Davis-Sr (5-10, 180)
WR Kevin Marion-So (5-10, 160) Willie Idlette-Jr (5-10, 175)
TE John Tereshinski-So (6-3, 230) Zac Selmon-So (6-5, 237)
OT Wesley Bryant-Sr (6-4, 300) Louis Frazier-So (6-4, 302)
OG Arby Jones-Jr (6-3, 277) Brodie Overstreet-So (6-6, 295)
C Greg Adkins-Sr (6-3, 292) Steve Justice-So (6-4, 275)
OG Matt Brim-So (6-4, 288) Chris DeGeare-Fr (6-4, 345)
OT Steve Vallos-Jr (6-3, 297) Eric Gaskins-Fr (6-2, 295)
K Sam Swank-Fr (6-1, 180) Ryan Plackemeier-Sr (6-4, 235)



Defensive Line
The front-four features six players who started at least one game in '04, including three full-time starters. For a group that allowed foes to earn 4.1per carry and themselves earned only 21 sacks and seven QB-hurries, their work is cut out here to get more push. The strength is at end, where Matt Robinson, although small, has already proven to be one of the main play-makers with 11 TFLs. Jyles Tucker was also a full-time starter at end, but has been pushed out of his top spot by Jeremy Thompson, who has the size and speed to make a major impact. Tucker himself is fast for his modest frame, and he will be in there much of the time so this smallish line can keep foes' passing games controlled. Goryal Scales is the anchor in the interior line. He makes up for his lack of height with strength, which makes him an asset against the run, or in a pass rush. The rest of the rotation is filled with good, young players who will be better with a year under their belts. This is not a great defensive line, but with so much experience back, it'll be marginally better (finished 68th vs. the run) as the new wrinkle of consistency will be seen.

Jonathan Abbate has quickly become one of the country's best linebackers. A year ago, this weight room junkie (with a 34" vertical leap and 4.5-sec 40 speed) had never played a single down of college football. Abbate then led the Deacons in tackling as a true freshman and was among the leaders in the ACC. With his great size and speed, he's a prototypical linebacker who has barely tapped his potential. Beyond Abbate, the Deacons are shaky. Pierre Easley started most of '04, but his production will again wane compared to what production from a MLB should be. Jason Pratt, too, has so far missed reaching his potential. Solid against the run, he needs to use that natural speed to his advantage for production in the coverage areas. The Deacons are high on a pair of redshirt freshmen - Aaron Curry and Stanley Arnoux - who both have the speed to make foes' underneath routes suffer. If all three starters were like Abbate, this would be one of the nation's best crews. Unfortunately, they're not. Abbate is a stud, but as a group, the linebackers are average (at best), until proven otherwise.

Defensive Back
Safeties Patrick Ghee and Josh Gattis started every game in '04, and they're a solid pair. Gattis' speedy durability (300 meter hurdle state champ; ranked seventh nationally in 60-meters indoors) makes him a tough defender to beat, and his appearance in opponent's backfields is regularly seen (two forced fumbles). Ghee, a converted-LB/WR/RB, is a smart player who uses his girth and speed optimally and rarely over-pursues. 6'-CB Riley Swanson has seen action mostly as a reserve and in nickel/dime packages, but still turns in a solid effort, showing that he'll be a tough make to beat, especially one-on-one. The rest of the corners are extremely inexperienced. Johnny Edwards is slated to start opposite Swanson, and he brings his intelligence (Honor Roll) to the mix. Redshirt freshmen Kevin Patterson will see time at corner, as will Kerry Major (4.37 speed), a converted safety who can hold his own against the run, too. As a whole, the secondary is an average unit, but moreover, they will benefit once they learn to combine the base levels of intelligence each has for the game - then they can play smart, and not hard. 11 INTs won't cut it, but the ability for the secondary to keep the play in front of them as needed is the wiser approach for this crew.

The key to the whole defense is getting better play from the line and LBs. With so much experience back in the trenches, they will get better, and just how much better will go a long way toward defining the play on this side of the world/ball. The Deacons have one of the best young players in the country in Abbate, and they also have good experience in the secondary, but the other LBs will not be as supportive in all phases as is Abbate - his engine never runs out off gas. Without being particularly strong against either the run or the pass in '04, Wake signaled how the go-betweens (LBs as a whole) weren't up to snuff. After showing this soft underneath, they now focus here to turn up the intensity. Depth is a problem across the board, so we ask the obvious question: will the Deacons be better at stopping foes? With the same coordinator (Dean Hood) in his fifth year, getting much better than 2004's 71st ranking for total D isn't likely, since Hood's best showing so far was finishing 69th in 2001. Therefore, it will be leadership on the field that gets them to any "next level", and that leadership does exist.


LB Jonathan Abbate


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Matt Robinson-So (6-2, 230) Anthony Davis-Fr (6-5, 240)
DT Zach Stukes-So (6-2, 260) Jamil Smith-Jr (6-2, 290)
Jyles Tucker-Jr (6-3, 268)
DT Goryal Scales-Sr (6-0, 273) John Finklea-Sr (6-3, 288)
DE Jeremy Thompson-So (6-5, 250) Bryan Andrews-Jr (6-5, 263)
SLB Jason Pratt-Sr (6-0, 230) Aaron Curry-Fr (6-3, 240)
MLB Jonathan Abbate-So (5-11, 245) Napoleon Sykes-Jr (5-9, 240)
WLB Pierre Easley-Jr (6-0, 245) Stanley Arnoux-Fr (6-0, 235)
CB Johnny Edwards-So (5-10, 188) Alphonso Smith-Fr (5-9, 185)
CB Riley Swanson-Jr (5-11, 188) Kevin Patterson-Fr (5-10, 182)
SS Patrick Ghee-Jr (6-0, 202) Aaron Mason-So (5-9, 200)
FS Josh Gattis-Jr (6-1, 212) Chip Vaughn-Fr (6-2, 205)
P Ryan Plackemeier-Sr (6-4, 235) Sam Swank-Fr (6-1, 180)




Ryan Plackemeier took over after starter Matt Wisnosky tore his ACL, and he performed as well as could be expected. Just a stop-gap solution, the job now belongs to redshirt freshman Sam Swank. Swank displayed accuracy and also a strong leg (hit 77% and nailed two from over 50 in high school). The Deacons figure to be solid again in kick coverage (39th) with the improvements in defensive personnel.

This is where the Deacons need Plackemeier most. He's one of the country's best punters (ranked 8th with a 43.9 average), using his tremendous size and strength to pin opponents deep into their own territory. Unfortunately, the Deacons limited Plackemeier's effectiveness by allowing foes 11.9 per return, so Plackemeier's superiority was negated. That (hopefully, at best) changes, but such improvements would add those few, precious yards needed for a struggling offense.

Return Game
Wake Forest was one of the worst teams in the country on punt returns (116th) and kickoff returns (106th). Kevin Marion was solid on kick returns and will be the primary return man again. Kevin Patterson has much ball handling experience, as does Kelly Major, and both have the speed to burn sleeping foes. Again, just a few more yards are needed to grease the skids of this offense, so developments here will be a focus all the way into September and beyond.