Time to get to the Out-of-Town Q&A, which Dan Collins of the Winston-Salem Journal has graciously agreed to help out with this week.
Collins is a long-time Wake Forest beat writer for the Journal, and surely one of the most affable fellows on any ACC beat. One of the highlights any time Maryland plays Wake Forest in football or basketball is catching up with Country Dan.
For now, though, here's five questions and answers on the Demon Deacons, who have dropped five straight entering their trip to Maryland on Saturday.
1. Coach Jim Grobe said this week Wake Forest could start as many as five freshmen on defense against Maryland. For a program that prides itself on developing players and leaning on older guys, how jarring has this sort of youth movement been this fall?
DC: That's really been the story of the season. Grobe has said that although his preference is to redshirt every freshman who enters the program, the over-riding dictum is that "best players play.'' He and his staff have determined the freshmen to be the best at their positions. In time the philosophy should pan out. Right now the Deacons are paying dearly for their inexperience.
2. Sticking with the defense, it would be tempting to say the shaky numbers against the run are a product of playing Georgia Tech and Navy, but others have done as they pleased against the Demon Deacons as well. What in particular is ailing Wake against the run?
DC: Wake actually did amazingly well against the triple option of Tech and Navy, when the staff switched to a 3-4 for the two games. The Deacons were absolutely gashed by Stanford, Florida State and Virginia Tech. Because so many players are new to their positions, they're having to think before they react. By then, it's often too late.
3. Has Wake Forest settled on Josh Harris as its primary rusher, or is there still a bit of backfield roulette in play?
DC: Harris will start against Maryland and barring injury will get at least 20 carries. He showed against Virginia Tech (241 yards) that he has to play.
4. From afar, Tanner Price looks like a solid quarterback of the future for the Deacons --- and, at times, the present, too. How far along is he in his development and how patient is Wake's staff with him?
DC: They'll be as patient as they have to be, because he's their quarterback. He was fabulous against Navy (37 of 53 for 326 yards) and every bit as bad against Virginia Tech (3 of 16 for 92 yards). He rushes plays against strong defenses, and will have to settle down early tomorrow for Wake to have any chance at Maryland.
5. Wake probably enjoyed the halcyon days (at least the peak of the last 40 years, anyway) of its program from 2006 to 2008. But with a 5-7 record last year and a five-game skid entering Saturday, have the Demon Deacons slid back to their traditional place near the bottom of the ACC or is this a short-term blip?
DC: My sense is they'll be good again when the kids grow up, maybe as soon as next year. They'll be looking to gain momentum over the last half of this season and actually still have a shot at a 6-6 record and some kind of bowl bid. But this fan base has seen worse. Much, much worse.
Thanks, as always, to Dan Collins for taking time out of his schedule to offer his expertise on the Demon Deacons.