Wake Forest Demon Deacons Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest Demon Deacons Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players


Wake Forest Demon Deacons Preview 2022: Offense

Well that worked out just fine.

Wake Forest was 11th in the nation in total offense, fourth in scoring offense, and the O was the best in the ACC in downfield passing and was the best in the conference on third downs.

The attack might have stalled in the ACC Championship loss to Pitt, and didn’t do enough against the great Clemson defense, but it scored 35 or more 12 times and averaged 41 a game on the season.

And most of the parts are back, with the massive concern over the one who makes it all go.

QB Sam Hartman is out indefinitely with a non-football related condition. He bombed away for close to 4,300 yards with 39 touchdowns, but all that matters is his health – the job will be his if and when he’s able to come back.

Sophomore Michael Kern is the likely next option after serving as the main backup last season, but he only threw five passes for 67 yards. He played more in 2020, though – he threw for 253 yards – and now he’ll battle with sophomore Mitch Griffis to hold down Hartman’s spot.

On the plus side, the targets are there to help all the quarterbacks.

Jaquarii Roberson is gone – he caught 71 passes with eight scores – but AT Perry is back after making 71 grabs for 1,293 yards and 15 scores, and Taylor Morin and Ke’Shawn Williams combined for 70 grabs and eight scores averaging over 14 yards per catch.

The offensive line quietly has the stars, too. Four starters are back around Sean Maginn at guard and Michael Jurgens at center. This group needs to be a bit better at keeping defenses out of the backfield, but it’s good enough.

It has to be strong for the running game, too, pounding for just under four yards per carry. Christian Beal-Smith transferred out, but Justin Ellison and Christian Turner are solid backs who can handled the work – they combined for over 1,000 yards and 12 scores.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons Preview 2022: Defense

The offense was fantastic at an ACC Championship level. The defense … not so much.

It allowed 413 yards and 29 points per game, didn’t do much of anything against the run, and only five teams in America gave up more first downs. However, the Demon Deacons were phenomenal at getting into the backfield and amazing at forcing turnovers.

Defensive coordinator Brad Lambert will try tweaking things a bit with just enough decent parts back to build around, but it all starts with doing a better job against the run.

The linebackers in the 4-2-5 have to hold up. Leading tackler Luke Masterson is done, but second-leading tackler Ryan Smenda is back after coming up with 83 tackles, and in comes Eldrick Robinson from Georgia Southern coming off a 74-stop season.

The secondary helped the D come up with 15 interceptions, and the 218 passing yards allowed weren’t that awful. Most of the main playmakers, though, are gone, with corner Gavin Holmes and safety Nick Anderson two young parts with experience.

The pass rush was okay. There’s a good mix of players returning on the line, but the tackles need to come through around Rondell Bothroyd at one end – he led the team with 16.5 tackles for loss. Landing 290-pound Kobie Turner from Richmond is a help for the interior rotation.

Wake Forest 2020 Preview | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Wake Forest Top 10 Players
Wake Forest Schedule & Analysis

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