Deacon fans, please take a moment to click on the video below. I'll wait.
The gentleman you see catching Kyle Orton's pass is Taylor Stubblefield, a former Purdue All-American. Watch closely as he starts celebrating at his own 38 while streaking to the end zone under the watchful (and assuredly displeased) gaze of Touchdown Jesus. Go ahead. Watch it again.
I know many of you are still smarting from last year's 38-0 drubbing in South Bend. Still more of you have unpleasant memories of sitting amongst a throng of Notre Dame "faithful" (read: Triad-area Catholics who own Notre Dame apparel) as the Deacs fell just short of the Irish in 2011.
Feel better? Good.
Not only is Stubblefield a highly-decorated former college wideout, he is also the new receivers coach for Wake Forest. Stubblefield took over following Lonnie Galloway's departure to West Virginia in January, and has immediately injected new life into the Demon Deacon offense.
"... I think Taylor Stubblefield, with his experience as a receiver, has really caught on with our guys. I think our guys know that he was a great record-setting player in college and I think that naturally makes kids respect you because they know you’ve been there before. He’s added a lot to our passing game just in thoughts of how to run routes and how to beat coverages."
- Coach Jim Grobe to Blogger So Dear, March 25 2013
I had a chance to catch up with Stubblefield after last Saturday's scrimmage and asked him about his new group of players and how they've responded to their new leader.
"I really enjoy this group," he said. "I really do enjoy this group and I think they want to win. They see the improvements that they need to make in order for us to help our offense out, for us to help our team out. I think they're excited about the end result of them becoming better receivers. At the end of the day, at the end of their four or five years you know it's my job to make them the best receivers that they can be. And I think that they see that potential, they see that possibility and they're ready to work every day."
A native of Yakima, Washington, this isn't Stubblefield's first time in the Carolinas. As a player, he caught 7 passes for 60 yards as Purdue snatched a 16-10 victory over the nationally-ranked Demon Deacons. Following his college career, he signed as a free agent by the Carolina Panthers in 2005 before eventually retiring as a player in 2007.
"I had a chance to live in Charlotte, and I loved Charlotte- I love North Carolina. My vision of this place has always been great. What's great about this place (BB&T Field) is that it's not so big where it feels empty on Saturday. We're going to get a lot of fans in here. When kids go to play, they want to play in front of people. They want to make sure there's a difference between high school and college. And this right here is a big-time college atmosphere."
Coach Stubblefield's receiving corps will again be on display on Saturday, April 13 at BB&T Field for Wake Forest's second scrimmage of the year. The scrimmage is tentatively scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Wake Forest's annual Spring Game will be on April 20. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.