I should know better at this point, and if anyone's earned the benefit of the doubt, it's Jim Grobe. Wake Forest's recent success has at times felt like smoke and mirrors, more opportunism than skill, but whatever the case, they keep getting it done. Heading into 2009, it would have been prudent to assume the Deacs would be a solid team until they proved otherwise. I figured instead that their personnel losses were too significant to make avoiding a step backward possible. So far this season, they look very much like a team still capable of wreaking havoc in the ACC, and they'll probably get to 7 wins again, albeit in a very different way. God they're annoying. They've become one of those consistent programs that you wish could have one damn off year. It has to happen some time just give me one. Wake Forest! Wake Forest is one of those programs for me now. Jim Grobe deserves Presidential recognition and a large cash gift because can you believe this shit? Your incomprehensible genius is a national treasure, please take a billion dollars as a token of our wonder.
Anyway. The defense hasn't been able to withstand the loss of Aaron Curry, among others; they're allowing about 50 more yards per game in '09 than they did last season and opponent production on a per-play basis is up from 4.6 yards to 5.3. That drop has taken the unit from good to middling. None of this is surprising, and it was supposed to be the primary reason for a year of pain.
Making matters worse, forcing turnovers hasn't been as easy for the Deacs as it has in the past. They have a -4 margin through four games, they've had a negative margin in three of four games, and they're on a 12-takeaway pace. This after 30+ takeaways in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Right, so they're lacking the two things recent history says Grobe's teams need in order to be successful. This is of no apparent consequence to the head coach/magic man.
Riley Skinner is completing nearly 69% of his passes this season and averaging 8.7 yards per attempt, he may have found a big play guy in receiver Marshall Williams (20 rec., 329 yds), and the running game is more effective than it has been in years. But how well will this offense hold up in conference play? Their 7.5 yards-per-play effort against BC is a fine start, but it's hard to trust this unit considering its track record.
See, there I go again. Jim Grobe finds a way, no matter how confusing or unfamiliar. (Besides, the football gods will grant Wake Forest five takeaways per game from here on. They regret the oversight, coach.)