ACC: Russ Nenon
- Clemson's coaching clinic is about more than Xs and Os. Why is Bobby Bowden heading to Nebraska?
- FSU is about "average" as it prepares for its second scrimmage.
- Tony Barnhart: Can Georgia Tech repeat?
- Maybe Virginia's Quintin Hunter has found a permanent home at receiver.
- How would one describe Virginia Tech's backfield? Perhaps "bodacious."
- Wake Forest center Russ Nenon is unhappy not hitting anyone this spring.
What’s different about this year’s class is that the Deacs have finally struck some balance, with about half the class expected to contribute on offense and the other on defense.
“For years we were always trying to play catch-up on one side of the ball or another, bringing in a class that was loaded on offense or loaded on defense,” Grobe said. “That’s been a problem for us since we’ve been here. We’ve been a little bit better on one side of the ball or another for a while, and I’d like to get to the point where we have a similar number of seniors on each side of the football and that’s what we were able to do a little bit in this class. We’re getting to point now where our recruiting classes are not weighted on offense or defense, we’re a little more balanced, which I like.”
Wake Forest filled its need at defensive back, where it added four players, and Grobe said it’s possible a true freshman could see playing time there. Cornerback A.J. Marshall is the lone four-star recruit in the group. The staff has also been impressed with early enrollees Antonio Ford and Zachary Allen. Quarterback Tanner Price of Austin, Texas, will also be given a chance to compete right away.
“With Riley [Skinner] gone, certainly we’d like to see one of our kids who have been here earn the job, but I don’t think you can count Tanner out,” Grobe said.
It’s also possible that the Deacs could sneak a new face into the offensive line rotation. Going into spring practice, Russ Nenon had shoulder surgery and won’t be available, leaving only nine offensive linemen available. Wake added three in this class.
“We’re to the point now where if a kid is good enough to come in and help us, we’re not opposed to putting him on the field,” Grobe said. “We just don’t want to waste his eligibility.”
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Like most coaches in the ACC, Jim Grobe is a little concerned about his offensive line heading into the season opener against Baylor. One of the biggest questions heading into summer camp was how center Trey Bailey would handle filling the gaping hole left by All-American Steve Justice.
All indications from within the program are that Bailey is finally starting to shake the shadow of his predecessor. Bailey played in seven games last year, but his season-high 10 snaps against Clemson pale in comparison to the role he'll have against the Tigers this year.
"He was a little bit worried about it until we got a few practices in, and now he's so worn out, he can't take the time to worry," Grobe said. "He's just fighting for a chance to protect our quarterback. He's more worried about his assignments right now and doing his job than any of that kind of stuff."
The big question now is who will be Bailey's backup. Right now, there are two freshmen behind him, so odds are Grobe will bump starting left guard Russ Nenon to center.
So far, the Demon Deacons' offensive line looks like this:
LT -- Joe Birdsong
LG -- Russ Nenon
C -- Bailey
RG -- Barrett McMillin
RT -- Jeff GriffinThese guys know they have something to prove.
"Coming in we heard a lot of question marks about us, losing a great player like Steve Justice," Birdsong said. "I mean, he's an All-American. You have a big responsibility to fill those holes. I just think they've done a great job of bringing us slowly along. Trey Bailey has been waiting for two years. He could've been playing in this league since he was a freshman."
Now Bailey has the chance to show it.