First day of the season unofficially (the real start is Saturday), but at least we have it again. I've been working in the Browns gameday staff, and I can't even begin to explain how giddy I was just watching the first play at Browns Stadium of the preseason--and I can only imagine what it's going to feel like at BB&T Field on Saturday. Hopefully some more links and lead up articles will tie us all over until Saturday, so here are the links for today.
Full Speed: High-octane Russell is now bigger, set for big season
In the first practice of the season, Russell put on a show. Then the curtain fell, and Russell fell with it. "So we get out to our first morning practice, and we're going through our warm-ups," Skinner recalled. "And I'd never seen somebody do more intense warm-ups than John Russell -- in terms of high knees, shuffling, back-pedaling. It was the most intense thing I've ever seen. It caught everybody's eye. (We said), ‘This kid's going to be a force.'
Heather Dinich's ACC Predictions - ESPN
Wake Forest 24, Baylor 21: Yes, the Bears will be a better team than they were a year ago now that versatile quarterback Robert Griffin is more seasoned and in the second year under coach Art Briles. But Jim Grobe and his staff will have his players prepared. Wake’s offense could be one of the best in the ACC, and if the defensive players stick to their roles, a group effort will get the job done.
Big 12 predictions for this week - College Football Nation - ESPN
Baylor 31, Wake Forest 28: The Bears learned their lesson last season in Waco, falling into an early 17-0 deficit before losing a 41-13 blowout. Art Briles decided not to start Robert Griffin in that game, but he’s been in the Bears’ starting lineup ever since. The key will be the performance of new Baylor tackles Danny Watkins and Phillip Blake, who will protect Griffin from Wake Forest’s pass rush. Wake Forest starting defensive ends Tristan Dorty and Kyle Wilber have accounted for only seven career starts and will be outweighed by more than 50 pounds per man by the Baylor tackles. The Bears rushed for at least 200 yards in four of the last five games last season. If they can maintain that balance with Griffin’s passing on Saturday, they can steal an upset victory.
BulldogBlitz.com - Eulls saves 22 lives from armed student
Not Wake related, but a must-read story about a heroic 4-star Miss. St. recruit.
My Take on Wake - Bracing for the Storm | JournalNow.com
I know, I know. I’m inviting all kinds of grief down on my head with the prediction. The easy move would be to go ahead and pick the Deacons. And I do think the Deacons will be better this season than Duke. Wake, by my crystal ball, will go 8-4 and make a bowl for the fourth straight year. I really thought Duke will be bowl eligible until I was reminded the Blue Devils play two games this season against Bowl Championship Series teams (Richmond and N.C. Central) and can only count one toward bowl eligibility. So they’ll have to really hustle to get to six wins, especially now that Kansas—whom the Devils play in Lawrence on Se[t. 19—is no longer a Big 12 stepchild.
Demon Deacons sort out running backs | Burlington Times News
“I’m fully motivated,” Harris said when preseason practice began. “We have so much competition in that room. There’s deep competition in that room. It’s healthy competition. I’m ready to compete for a job.”
Golden Years: Deacons who know what it takes to win charged with leading younger teammates
"You've got a guy in Riley Skinner who can get the job done, and we need 10 other guys," Grobe said. "I thought last year the only guy that we had that really supported Riley the way he needed to be supported was D.J. Boldin. "So it's important to us to make sure we've not only got the old guy, Riley, playing good but have 10 other guys supporting him. "I feel as good about this offensive line as I've felt in a long time. I think this is a good group. I don't know how well we're going to play. I just like the attitude. The attitude of these guys is that ‘We're going to be better and we're going to play better and do our part' -- which I don't think we did last year."
College fantasy football week 1 tight end rankings
Ben Wooster Wake Forest vs. Baylor - Could have a good game against Baylor but the offense will rely on the run even with Skinner returning
ACC announces 2009 Football Championship Game Legends Class
the 1956 ACC Player of the Year from Wake Forest, Jim Bakhtiar (Charlestown, W. Va.) of Virginia, who earned first-team All-America honors in 1957
Wake Forest vs. Baylor: Preview | Wake Forest
The entire senior class is hungry for another ACC Championship. Our Wake experience would then come full-circle. If nothing else, the excitement at BB&T Field should make for a Deacon win at home. More than likely, however, the Demon Deacons will clearly showcase their talent and send the Bears on a long trip back to Texas.
Up Again: Dukes vs. Demon Deacons : The Breeze
Wake Forest is a three-time NCAA champion with all three titles coming earlier this decade. The Demon Deacons, led by six-time Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year Jennifer Averill, come to Harrisonburg ranked second in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll. With two returning All-Americans in Raisa Schiller and Aileen Davis Wake Forest was picked fourth by ACC coaches in the competitive league. The Deacons will also return seniors Melissa Martin and Hilary Moore who scored the tying and game-winning goal, last year against JMU.
Work Hangover: College Football Preview
The Wake Forest pick is a bit of a flyer since I really just don't want to pick FSU. Wake Forest consistenly gets overlooked because they don't have high profile players or coaches, but yet Jim Grobe is arguably the best actual coach in the ACC. Maybe not the best recruiter, but to get Wake Forest to the point that they compete for the ACC title every year is pretty remarkable.
ACC Notebook: First Coast QBs in spotlight | Jacksonville.com
"The goal for us would be for the offense to spend more time on the field than the defense," Wake coach Jim Grobe said. "We have a young defense, and while we have kids who will fly around and chase the ball, they will make mistakes. The number of mistakes will be limited if they don't have to spend too much time on the field. I hate to put too much on Riley, because we did that last year. He has enough ability and experience to move the ball. The other guys need to do their part."
ACC INSIDER: Football preview, Wake Forest - ACC Insider - Wilmington Star News - Wilmington, NC - Archive
While you probably haven’t heard of the likes of Jonathan Jones, Matt Woodleif, Hunter Haynes, Cyhl Quarles and Josh Bush, just wait a few weeks. You will. They won’t make Wake fans forget about Aaron Curry, Alphonso Smith or any of the other graduated stars, but they will form a unit that – combined with a veteran offense – should put together yet another eight-win season … if not better.
ACC Preview: Top players, games to watch - Sports - The News Herald
Riley Skinner, Wake Forest quarterback The ACC returns a bevy of starting quarterbacks this season and none may be better than Skinner. The 6-1, 210-pound senior is the school’s career leader in completion percentage (.673), passing efficiency (132.33) and wins (26). He also is the ACC career leader in completion percentage and should collect loads more school records this season.
Softies? Wake offensive line plans reversal : News-Record.com : Greensboro & the Triad's most trusted source for local news and analysis
"The perception most people got of us last year was of being soft," junior center Russell Nenon said. "I kind of took it personally, hearing the (media) and the coaches saying we had such a great defense last year and our offense kind of sputtered. It's very frustrating to know you're the reason some of the games went the wrong way. So we made it our mission to turn it around and become the strength of our team."