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Saturday, September 5, 2009
Don't underestimate Wake's defense

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com


Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –- Yes, the Wake Forest defense has some questions to answer, but don’t count the Deacs out because they lost some of their best players in school history.

After all, how many programs have a Butkus Award winner on their roster, along with an Alphonso Smith?

What Wake Forest has is a group of redshirt juniors and seniors up front who are disciplined players and know the system? Their biggest question mark might be in the secondary, where they had to replace three of four starters, save for redshirt senior Brandon Ghee.

But this is where Jim Grobe’s redshirting philosophy pays off. Look at the new linebackers –- there is not a freshman or a sophomore in the starting lineup. Jonathan Jones, who is taking over for Aaron Curry, is a redshirt senior. Matt Woodlief in the middle is a redshirt junior, as is weakside linebacker Hunter Haynes. It’s not like these guys are taking their first collegiate snaps.

There’s no question Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin is a special player, and one who will test each unit on Wake’s defense, but if the Demon Deacons play the kind of disciplined football Grobe usually demands, and if they rely on their strength up front, there’s no reason Wake Forest can’t come up with another win over the Big 12.