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Monday, February 27, 2012
Deacs' RB depth a concern as spring nears

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Wake Forest has evolved into more of a passing offense under quarterback Tanner Price, but that doesn’t mean coach Jim Grobe isn’t expecting more out of his running game in 2012 -- as he should. The Deacs were No. 99 in the country in rushing offense last year with 114.6 yards per game.

Josh Harris, who was expected to be one of the better running backs in the ACC last year, struggled with a nagging hamstring injury and only played in nine games. Brandon Pendergrass, a redshirt senior last year, led the team with 823 yards and nine touchdowns, and an average of 4.4 yards per carry. When the Deacs begin spring practices on Thursday, Grobe will be looking for more from Harris -- and he’s got to showcase it behind an offensive line that must replace four starters. Harris' health, though, is no longer the question.

“We’ll see if Josh Harris has matured,” Grobe said. “That’s going to be real important for us, that going into his junior year he can become a for-real guy. That would be a heck of a bonus for us.”

The position is thin, but the staff is also excited about the potential of Orville Reynolds, who played in five games last year and had 109 yards, and Deandre Martin, a big back who ran well with the scout team. Until one of them emerges as the leader, though, the position remains a question for the Deacs.

“Running back is a real concern,” Grobe said. “That’s going to be as big of a thing for us to look at this spring as the offensive line.”