WINSTON-SALEM — The wide view of Wake Forest's 53-13 season-opening victory over Presbyterian Thursday night at BB&T Field had plenty to satisfy Deacons coach Jim Grobe.
Fulfilling their intent to return to the ground game, the Deacons ran for 415 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per carry, while scoring the most points ever under Grobe.
There were big defensive plays including a 44-yard interception return for a touchdown by Alex Frye and a 90-yard return of a blocked extra point by cornerback Kenny Okoro.
But if beating a Blue Hose team that went 0-11 last season answered some questions, it raised others.
The biggest is at quarterback, which remains a position likely to be played by committee, at least as the Deacons prepare for their ACC opener next Saturday in Winston-Salem.
"We'll be the first team in the country to have a four-quarterback system," Grobe joked Thursday night.
If the preseason was spent with an open competition for the starting job - a designation won by redshirt sophomore Ted Stachitas - the opener left the question open as to who will quarterback the Deacons down the road.
Stachitas is the likely starter against Duke, but true freshman Tanner Price will be part of the game plan. Beyond those two, Skylar Jones and Brendan Cross also still factor into the equation, although to a lesser extent.
"Whatever works," Stachitas said.
At times, the Deacons made it look easy against Presbyterian. At other times, the offense stalled.
Wake Forest led 21-0 with 4 minutes, 42 seconds remaining in the first quarter, and from there it was a question of the final margin. Stachitas, who had never completed a college pass before Thursday night, got the Deacons started when he turned a rollout pass play into a bullish 34-yard touchdown run before the game was 90 seconds old.
He's more of a runner than Price, whose quick release and strong arm have made him an intriguing character. It's not forgotten around Wake Forest that Skinner took over the offense as a redshirt freshman and led the Deacons to an ACC championship.
Grobe said he wanted to get Price in the game rather than wait to play him against Duke, and it was a clear indication that Stachitas' hold on the starting job is a tenuous one. Grobe was bothered by a second-quarter fumble by Stachitas when the offense was sputtering but encouraged by two scoring drives the starter led before halftime.
Stachitas rushed for 76 yards and completed seven of 13 passes for 84 yards, statistics that looked better than Price's 1-for-7 passing performance. Grobe dismissed the freshman's statistics, saying, "He played really well, but I don't know that his supporting cast played very well."
The Deacons broke some big plays - Devon Brown had an 85-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and Josh Harris had a 46-yard scoring run near the end of the game. They also surrendered a beautifully executed 68-yard touchdown pass on a trick play by Presbyterian.
"We have a lot to teach off of," Grobe said. "We had too many mental mistakes. We have to look real hard as coaches and make sure we're not asking our guys to do too many things."
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