We wrap up our report cards series today!
OFFENSE: Wake Forest slipped on offense in 2012, thanks in large part to a number of injuries along the offensive line and receiver. The numbers are pretty bad (look away if you must!). Wake Forest ranked No. 114 in the nation in scoring, averaging 18.5 points per game. That is a whopping 7.5 fewer points than 2011, when Wake averaged 26 points per game. Not exactly great shakes there, either, but that is a scoring bonanza compared to this past season. In other NCAA rankings, Wake Forest finished No. 113 in rushing offense (100.5 ypg), No. 91 in passing offense (200.8 ypg) and No. 117 in total offense (301.3 ypg). The Deacs were shut out twice on the season, and scored 20 points or fewer seven times. You get the point. The biggest issue was no consistency on the offensive line, where injuries decimated the roster. Wake Forest ended up playing more young, inexperienced players than it wanted. The lone bright spot was ACC second-team receiver Michael Campanaro, but even he missed time with a broken hand. In the end, this was a season to forget for this offense. GRADE: F
DEFENSE: Injuries piled up on the defense as well, costing players like Nikita Whitlock and Merrill "Bud" Noel playing time. They happened to be two of the best players returning to the group. Though Whitlock did earn second-team coaches' honors and safety AJ Marshall and cornerback Kevin Johnson got honorable mention, there was simply no consistency out of this group. The stats were nearly as bad on defense as they were on offense. Wake Forest ranked in the bottom third of the ACC in all four major statistical categories (rushing, total, scoring, passing). In passing defense, total defense and scoring defense, Wake was No. 88 or worse in the NCAA stats. Hard to ignore the final three games of the season, when the Deacs gave up a total of 130 points GRADE: D
OVERALL: This was a tough year for Wake in more ways than one. Coach Jim Grobe had to deal with more injuries than he has had to in quite some time, and that impacted the overall performance of his team. But off-the-field issues were a major distraction as well, as Grobe suspended eight players for violations of team rules. Four were starters at the time. When the season ended, there was finger pointing and negative chatter on various social media sites, wondering whether a change was needed in Winston-Salem. Losing seasons will do that. Grobe has been incredibly successful in his time at the program, and has an experienced team returning for 2013. But there is no doubt the results in 2012 fell far below expectations. GRADE: D