Monday, February 24, 2014
Offseason spotlight: Wake Forest
By Matt Fortuna
Today we begin a new series looking at players who face important springs and offseasons for their teams.
Recovering from an injury? Replacing a departed player? Playing at a position of need? All are taken into account as we go team by team, one per day, looking at who needs a productive offseason for his team to have a successful 2014.
We'll start in reverse alphabetical order with Wake Forest.
Orville Reynolds heads back to the backfield after playing flanker last season.
2013 summary: Reynolds played in nine games as a flanker, catching 12 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He added 36 yards on nine rushes and tallied 68 yards on three kickoff returns.
The skinny: Wake Forest is thin in the backfield. Ridiculously thin. As in, there-are-only-two-TBs-on-the-spring-roster-thin. Reynolds is not among them, as he had been moved from running back to flanker late in the 2012 season. But first-year coach Dave Clawson told our colleague Heather Dinich earlier this month that Reynolds is returning to the backfield. (He also told her anyone with eligibility left will get carries this spring, which explains why James Ward is moving from the secondary as well.)
Sophomore Dominique Gibson is the leading returning rusher after tallying 138 yards and a touchdown last season. (He also added eight catches for 87 yards and another score.) Still, he needs plenty of help, especially with the new regime in place.
Enter Reynolds, who should be entering 2014 as a junior if not for taking-one-for-the-team late in the 2011 campaign, burning his redshirt late in the season against Notre Dame to help out a depleted backfield. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Reynolds was voted last season by his teammates as the most improved offensive player of the spring. He has just 129 rushing yards and 187 receiving yards for his career. Now back at running back, the senior will be counted on to shore up a position of need. This spring will be an important step for him as he re-adjusts to the position and adjusts to a new staff that is counting on him to be a veteran leader.