One could make the argument that no one has done more with less than Jim Grobe has at Wake Forest. Grobe does not have the facilities or the passionate alumni that other big time programs have in the ACC and around the country. He also has to deal with higher academic standards for student athletes in Winston-Salem. Wake Forest is a small private school that does not have a lot of football tradition, but Grobe brought them to national prominence not too long ago. When Riley Skinner was the quarterback at Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons were always a tough out. In 2006 Wake won the ACC and even shut out Florida State 30-0 in Doak Campbell Stadium at night. From the years 2006-2008 Wake Forest yielded a record of 28-12 and of course that ACC Championship in 2006.
However, things have changed for Wake in the past five years seeing as they have not finished with a winning record since the 2008 season. Since the start of the 2009 season the Deacs have sported a disappointing 19-30 record and have seen the talent level drop-off significantly. Grobe is no longer getting the players that he needs in order to compete in the ACC. This season has already gotten of to a nightmarish start for his squad as they currently sit with a 1-2 record and play an Army team this weekend that put up a good fight against Stanford this past weekend. Perhaps the most disappointing piece about Wake is that they just lost to Louisiana-Monroe 21-19. Their defense gave up 424 yards of total offense and allowed ULM to convert 15-of-28 on third-downs. But what might be even more embarrassing than that is the fact that Wake only rushed for a total of 15 yards in that game.
This clearly is not the same Wake Forest team that was so competitive four years ago. The only player on this team with any talent worth mentioning is Michael Campanaro who hauled in 16 catches for 177 yards in that loss to ULM. I do not like to hear that Wake Forest is a basketball school, because they have not been much of that either lately. This weekend they play Army, who had a respectable 34-20 loss against Stanford last week and showed that they are going to compete no matter who they are playing against. Like always, Army tries to pound the ball on the ground for their offensive strategy, and this Wake Forest team has given up big rushing numbers this season already to Boston College.
It does not get any easier for Wake Forest with the toughest part of their schedule yet to come. They still have to play No. 3 Clemson, No. 16 Miami, and No. 8 Florida State. With two losses in its first three games, Grobe needs to right the ship in a hurry or else he is going to see his team sport another losing record by the time this season comes to a close. I still believe Jim Grobe is a great coach, but sometimes you just run out of time at one place and change might be needed. With a loss to Army, the Demon Deacons would fall to 1-3 going into Death Valley to play Clemson, and that would almost certainly be another loss.
A team that looked like it was one the rise after the 2006-2008 seasons has fallen back to the bottom of the barrel in the ACC. The improvements are no longer there and the program has taken a major step back. This is a big weekend for Wake Forest, its fans, and especially Jim Grobe. Wake needs a win this weekend or it can almost certainly expect yet another losing season.
Travis Patterson, Writer for the ACC on Rantsports.com. Follow on Twitter @tpat20. https://twitter.com/tpat20