Posted by Chip Patterson
Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from Wake Forest
Wake Forest gave up 238.2 yards per game through the air in 2010, ranking them just above Duke at the bottom of the ACC. Much of that has been credited to inexperience, where the Demon Deacons started four freshman at times in the secondary. But with 9 starters returning on defense, the expectations are that there will be improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Senior linebacker Kyle Wilber did not duck away from admitting things need to change, and even suggested some changes the team has made to help with pass defense.
"This year we're trying to help our secondary a lot, we're dropping back, we're hitting wide receivers, we're not letting them get a free release," Wilbur explained on Sunday. "I feel like its one of the greatest secondaries we've had at our school since 2006. We have a lot of young guys, Merrill Noel - he's a young, feisty freshman who brings a lot of attitude to our corners. He's small…but he's going to hit you and he's good in coverage. He's real aggressive and I really like that in him."
Wilbur went on to explain how the leaders on the team have made the defense a priority. Moving from defensive end to linebacker, the senior will serve as one of the on-field leaders of the unit.
Once again, Wake Forest will find themselves with another uphill battle to regain their prominence of the mid-2000's. They have been selected by many to finish at the bottom of the Atlantic Division again in 2011, though the Deacons are hoping to catch the conference by surprise.