ACC: Tim Billings

Two Wake assistants moving on

January, 4, 2012
Wake Forest special teams coordinator Keith Henry and co-defensive coordinator Tim Billings are leaving the staff to pursue other coaching opportunities and will not return in 2012, according to a release from the school.

From the release:
Henry came to Wake Forest with coach Jim Grobe in 2001. He joined Grobe’s first coaching staff at Ohio University in 1995. While at Ohio, Henry was the outside linebackers coach for four seasons and spent two years coaching the receivers. During his time at Wake Forest, he has coached cornerbacks and defensive ends. In 2011, Henry was the special teams coordinator.

Billings spent six years at Wake Forest. He coached the wide receivers in 2006 and 2007 before moving to the secondary in 2008. Billings coached the defensive ends in 2010 and the outside linebackers in 2011.

“Keith and Tim have been valuable members of our staff,” said Grobe. “We wish them all the best.”

Wake Forest spring wrap

May, 5, 2011

2010 overall record: 3-9

2010 conference record: 1-7

Returning starters

Offense: 7, defense: 9, kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

WR Chris Givens, G Joe Looney, DE Tristan Dorty, DE Kyle Wilber, SS Cyhl Quarles, PK Jimmy Newman, QB Tanner Price, RB Josh Harris, NG Nikita Whitlock

Key losses

C Russell Nenon, RB Josh Adams, WR Marshall Williams, WR Devon Brown, LB Hunter Haynes, LB Matt Woodlief, P Shane Popham

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Harris* (720 yards)

Passing: Price* (1,349 yds)

Receiving: Brown (302 yds)

Tackles: Hunter Haynes (77)

Sacks: Wilber* (6)

Interceptions: Alex Frye (3)

Spring answers

1. Solidified secondary. All four starters return in CB Josh Bush, SS Cyhl Quarles, FS Daniel Mack and CB Kevin Johnson, and the Deacs are two-deep at every position. It’s a much better scenario than it was a year ago, when Wake had to start two true freshmen corners. The Deacs will also have Dominique Tate, who missed all of last year for academic reasons, and two players who redshirted last year in Desmond Cooper and Merrill Noel. The Deacs ranked 11th in the ACC in pass defense last year, but saw signs this spring of that improving.

2. Sold on the 3-4 defense. The staff is confident in the defensive tackles and committed to the scheme, which it began using last year. Nose guard Ramon Booi, the backup to Nikita Whitlock, might have been the most improved player on the roster this spring, and is a good contrast to Whitlock, who is 5-foot-10 and more of a speed guy. Booi is a 6-foot-6, 300-pound man-wall. At tackle, Grobe singled out defensive end Zach Thompson as a possible all-ACC candidate, and Tristan Dorty moved from linebacker to defensive end.

3. Staff changes were a positive. Without disrespecting former defensive coordinator Brad Lambert, who left to become head coach of the fledgling Charlotte program, Grobe said he was pleased with the promotions of Tim Billings and Brian Knorr to co-defensive coordinators, and Lonnie Galloway, who was hired to coach the wide receivers. Knorr’s knowledge of the 3-4 scheme has been an added bonus.

Fall questions

1. Which running back will take over? Josh Harris is the most talented back on the roster, but he missed several spring practices with a hamstring injury he suffered while competing in the 100-yard dash with the track team. He’ll have to get healthy and earn the starting job this summer despite competition from senior Brandon Pendergrass. Harris, though, scored the only touchdown of the spring game.

2. Will dependable receivers emerge? The Deacs didn’t chart every one, but there were about eight or 10 dropped passes by wide receivers in the spring game. Wake Forest is looking for a playmaker to emerge like Kenny Moore did in ’07 and D.J. Boldin in ’08. Chris Givens, Michael Campanaro, Danny Dembry and Terence Davis are lead candidates, but redshirt freshmen Matt James (6-foot-6) and Brandon Terry (6-5), could both work their way into the rotation.

3. Will the offensive line improve? Four starters are back, so it looks better on paper, but the Deacs will sorely miss the experience and leadership of former center Russell Nenon. Garrick Williams started the final three games of 2010 -- two at guard and one at center, but he struggled with the snaps towards the end of spring and isn’t where the staff needs him to be yet.

In need of improvement: defense

March, 16, 2011
Today we looked at the teams in the ACC in most need of offensive improvement. It's time to take a look at the other side of the ball. Here are the three teams in the league most in need of a defensive overhaul this offseason:

1. DUKE: You name it, the Blue Devils struggled to do it. Duke ranked among the nation's worst defenses in almost every major relevant category. Duke was 113th in rushing defense, 109th in scoring defense, 108th in total defense, 108th in pass efficiency defense, tied Georgia Tech for the fewest passes intercepted (eight), and last in the league in sacks and tackles for loss. It hasn't helped that the Blue Devils have had three different coordinators in as many seasons, but there has been some continuity as Jim Knowles was promoted from within.

2. WAKE FOREST: No, it's not good that the Deacs have appeared on both lists. Wake Forest hasn't been the same since Alphonso Smith and Aaron Curry moved on. Creating turnovers, once a strength, has seen a significant drop-off. The Deacs also struggled to stop the run, ranking 99th in the country last season in rushing defense. They were 101 in total defense, and more importantly, 110 in total defense, allowing a league-high 35.83 points per game. With the departure of coordinator Brad Lambert to Charlotte, Tim Billings and Brian Knorr will co-coordinate in 2011. The pressure is on to make immediate improvements.

3. VIRGINIA: As expected, it was a transition year in Mike London's first season. The Cavaliers changed staffs and schemes, and the statistics reflected that. Virginia struggled to get takeaways, trailing the league with 16. They had only five fumble recoveries all year. Only Wake Forest and Duke fared worse in total defense and scoring defense, as the Hoos allowed 28.25 points per game. They also struggled to stop the run. More should be expected in Year 2, and this year's recruiting class should also help -- eventually.

Jim Grobe promotes 2 assistants to co-coordinators

March, 14, 2011
Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe has named current assistants Brian Knorr and Tim Billings co-defensive coordinators, Grobe told on Monday.

The Demon Deacons were scheduled to start spring practices on Tuesday, but the unexpected departure of former defensive coordinator Brad Lambert, who left to become the head coach of Charlotte, forced Grobe to reshuffle his staff. Wake Forest is now expected to start practicing on Friday.

Knorr, who was coaching the receivers, was the inside linebackers coach under Grobe at Ohio University, where he succeeded Grobe as head coach. He will also coach the inside linebackers this year. Billings, who coached the outside linebackers last year, will continue that role. Billings was head coach at Southeast Missouri State (2000-05), and defensive coordinator at Marshall in 1999.

Steve Russ will move from linebackers to the secondary. Grobe has also designated Keith Henry, who coached the secondary last year, as the special teams coordinator.

Grobe recently hired former West Virginia receivers coach Lonnie Galloway, who will coordinate the passing game with quarterbacks coach Tom Elrod. Offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke will continue to oversee the entire offense, in addition to coordinating the running game with Billy Mitchell.

“This was a great opportunity to help ourselves offensively, and I don’t think we’ll miss a beat defensively,” Grobe said. “We’ll be better just because our kids will be older, but it’s really more of an opportunity for us. I hate to lose Brad, but in losing Brad we’re able to make ourselves better on the offensive side, and hopefully with Brian coming over we don’t miss anything because we’ve got another really experienced defensive coach coming over to help us on defense.”

Grobe makes minor staff reassignments

March, 5, 2010
First, to be clear, these are not demotions or anything of the sort. It's just an attempt by coach Jim Grobe to better utilize the talent he already has on staff.

The biggest change is the move of Steve Russ from coaching the tight ends and fullbacks to the defense, where he will coach the linebackers. It's a move that makes sense, as Russ played linebacker for Grobe at the Air Force Academy and during his NFL playing career with the Denver Broncos. Russ was also a defensive coordinator at Syracuse. The tight ends will now be coached by offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke.

“We’ve wanted for a while to get Steve Russ back on defense,” Grobe said in a prepared statement. “We will do that this fall. Last year, I thought it would have been too disruptive. Now, with our re-alignment, this is a good time to move Steve. From a defensive perspective, with five coaches on defense, we’ll have the opportunity to do a better job on that side of the ball.”

Grobe also made the following changes:

  • Associate head coach Billy Mitchell, who has been coaching the running backs and kickers, will add the fullbacks to his responsibilities.
  • Defensive coordinator Brad Lambert will move from coaching the linebackers to the safeties, while defensive ends coach Keith Henry will move to cornerbacks.
  • Tim Billings, who spent the last two years working with the entire secondary, will now coach the defensive ends.
  • Ray McCartney remains as the defensive tackles coach and recruiting coordinator.

Wake Forest's 'Last Fan Sitting' wins tickets for 15 years

January, 8, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Just before 6:30 a.m. ET on Monday, 40-year-old Bob Yakos entered Wake Forest's BB&T Field armed with little more than a sleeping bag, a Gore-Tex suit, a "good pair of duck boots," and his knowledge of Wake Forest football.

It turned out that was all Yakos needed to last 74.5 hours in the wind, rain and temperatures that dropped below 30 degrees at night -- a small sacrifice to win 15 years worth of Wake Forest season football tickets.

Yakos isn't just a physician's assistant and father of three. No, he is the Last Fan Sitting, not to mention one heckuva dad.

Wake Forest began its Last Fan Sitting contest on Monday with 23 fans, but only nine survived until 9 a.m. Thursday. The finalists were each asked a series of trivia questions about Wake Forest football to determine the winner. Yakos answered four of five questions correctly in the third round.

Four seats in Section 7 now belong to Yakos, who is suddenly all-too familiar with the stadium seats. He said he probably got a total of eight to 10 hours of sleep in various increments during the contest.

"It is a little bit insane," he admitted. "I have three young boys and my oldest son has gone to a few games and it's been a lot of fun. I look forward to taking the others over the next 15 years as well. That's why I was out there, mostly for them and some other family."

These guys put the contestants on "Survivor" to shame.

They were each assigned a seat on the cold, metal bleachers, which also doubled as their bed. They were allowed whatever clothes they could pile on, plus one bag that weighed no more than 20 pounds. Every two hours, they got a 10-minute break. Every six hours, they got a 15-minute break.

Yakos, like the others, was afraid to sleep through their breaks.

"The first night was the worst," he said in a rather sleepy voice in a phone interview today. "It rained. A good portion of that night was really windy. That knocked a lot of people out because they got wet and it was really cold. That made everybody second-guess their idea of doing this, whether they wanted to quit. That narrowed the field quite a bit after the first night."

Not Yakos. This guy came prepared with that Gore-Tex suit. And while everyone else was getting soggy in their sneaks, his toes were toasty in the duck boots. And he knows Wake Forest football:

Q: Coach Jim Grobe just completed his eighth season with the Deacs, but prior to Wake Forest he coached at Ohio University. What is Ohio's mascot?

Yakos: Bobcat.

Q: Early in his career, Wake Forest defensive back coach Tim Billings worked primarily with special teams at Marshall University. One of his players at Marshall led Division I-AA in kickoff returns in 1996. Name this current NFL superstar.

Yakos: Randy Moss.

Q: Offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke earned his degree from the Air Force Academy in what academic discipline.

Yakos: Economics.

Q: Who is the only member of the coaching staff (not including graduate assistants), that graduated from Wake Forest?

Yakos: Quarterbacks coach Tom Elrod.

Ding, ding ding! We have a winner!

The first-place prize was valued at $22,000.

Yakos isn't even a native of Winston-Salem, or even North Carolina for that matter. He's a Yankees fan from Cooperstown, N.Y. He graduated from the physician's assistant program at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and got hooked on the Deacs because of coach Jim Grobe, who made a quick appearance on the first day of the contest before heading back out to recruit.

"Coach Grobe just runs an excellent program," Yakos said. "The priorities he sets for his team are a great example for everybody. If any of my sons were going to play football, I would hope they would play for a coach like him."

For the next 15 years, they'll at least be watching.