Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|College Teams||High Schools|
August 7, 2011Senior outside linebacker Kyle Wilber's memories of Wake Forest's defensive stalwarts from the 2006 ACC Championship team, Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith are vivid ones.
The 6-foot-5 and 240-pound Florida native wants to reestablish that same champion's mentality with the Demon Deacons that Curry and Smith brought.
It helps that Wake returns 17 starters this season, nine of which are seniors.
"I think the best leaders we've ever had are Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith," Wilber said. "Usually after a loss guys were disappointed, and it would translate into the next practice, but I feel like leaders like AC after a loss they'd say, 'It's okay. We're going to go watch film. We're going to see the mistakes that we made. We're going to change something. We're not going to dwell on the past. We're going to win this next game.'"
"As a senior class we're just trying to provide that type of leadership again, and get back to our winning ways."
As they did in 2006, the Demon Deacons enter 2011 coming off consecutive losing seasons and are picked near the bottom of the ACC by most prognosticators.
This year's struggle will be greater, as the conference field is more competitive, and the Deacs face a tougher schedule this season than in 2006.
Wake Forest has one of college football's most difficult schedules, which includes a season-opening trip to Syracuse (Sept. 3), and visits from the preseason Atlantic Division leader, No. 5 Florida State (Oct. 8); preseason Coastal Division leader, No. 13 Virginia Tech (Oct. 15) and No. 18 Notre Dame (Nov. 5).
The schedule is a daunting one, but Wilber and his teammates have set their jaw, and are going to take it one game at a time.
"Usually we just focus on our first game," Wilber said.
"Syracuse, that's our main attention. When we play Clemson we'll be our full mindset to Clemson, but right now we're worried about Syracuse. We want to win that first game against Syracuse to start off a good season for us."
Like Wilber, but on the other side of the ball senior left guard Joe Looney, who also hails from the Sunshine state, has a similar vision for his final campaign with the Demon Deacons.
The 6-foot-3 and 320-pound Looney said they have to put the disappointment of the previous year behind them.
"I think it's going to take hard-work and dedication, which are two things you have to have on a football team," Looney said. "I think our team is real excited about this upcoming year."
This season is a fresh start for Wake Forest, and an opportunity for the 2011 Demon Deacons to rewrite their own version of 2006.
"We went 3-9," Wilber said. "Let's do something about it."