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September 28, 2011
First quarter progress report: offense
It is still a few weeks away till the Demon Deacons (2-1, 1-0 ACC) midpoint of their season, but three games in gives some early signs as to what they are doing well and areas to improve in offensively.
It is amazing how big of a difference one year makes, especially for sophomore Tanner Price. After completing 137-241 pass attempts for 1,349 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2010 the Texas native has done a complete about face so far in this young season.
Price has moved into the upper tier of ACC quarterbacks, as he currently sits in second place in the conference in passing yards per game (289) and fifth in pass efficiency (154.7). He has been nearly flawless, completing 61-98 passes for 867 yards, six touchdowns and an interception. If it had not been for his injury at Syracuse in the fourth quarter Wake Forest would probably be 3-0.
Everyone is still waiting for this group to take off. Wake's rushing attack has struggled to get out of the gates despite having two solid backs, especially a real game-breaker in Josh Harris and a veteran offensive line.
The Deacs are only averaging 110 yards a game, while Harris who went off for 241 yards on the ground against Virginia Tech last season is just averaging 72 yards on almost 20 carries per game.
Chris Givens, Danny Dembry and Michael Campanaro makeup arguably the top corps of receivers in the ACC. Givens leads the ACC in receiving yards per game with 122 and is fourth in receptions per game 6.7, while Dembry is eighth in both in receiving yards (76.7 per game) and receptions (5.3 per game).
Campanaro would be right in the mix too if it was not for hamstring ailments that held him out of the second half against N.C. State and the Gardner-Webb game.
Dembry did not emerge until the second game in Wake Forest's 34-27 win over the Wolfpack, but since then he has been every bit as impressive as Givens. The Demon Deacons are still waiting for someone to emerge as the fourth option for Price. Terence Davis has the ability to be that guy.
For a group that likely has only one player with NFL potential in left guard Joe Looney it has performed fairly well. This unit has four redshirt seniors, and a redshirt junior, making it one of the most experienced in the country.
The offensive line is the biggest in Jim Grobe's tenure as head coach, averaging just under 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds.
With experience and size often being in Wake Forest's favor it is astonishing that the Demon Deacons running game continues to struggle and eight sacks have been allowed.
Grobe said it is hard for him to complain, since the offense is gaining so many yards and scoring points, but this is an area of concern as the Deacs prepare to enter the meat of their schedule in coming weeks.