100% Cotten

July 30, 2009

by Stan Cotten

Gee whiz I'm getting old. My first baby is driving a car. My grandfather is going on 101 years old and has better knees. Not only has mostly all of my hair turned grey, but now some of it is even turning loose.

And Riley Skinner is a senior.

We're still a few weeks away, but let's get real. Football is here. And we need to prepare ourselves. This is our last hurrah with the good-looking kid who ran bright-eyed onto the field back in 2006 - the last thing he probably figured he'd be doing on that fateful night of September 2 against Syracuse - and kept running right into the record books. Well, passing really, but you get the idea.

Skinner and company have their sights set on the Baylor Bears who will help the Deacs open their schedule on September 5 at BB&T Field. I'm sure Wake Forest opponents feel like Skinner has been a Deacon forever, but, to me, it seems like just yesterday when Skinner, with Ben Mauk writhing in pain on the stadium floor due to multiple injuries, put on his helmet and started his pursuit of history. He since has started every single game in which he has played.

I know - it only seems like yesterday. I guess time goes faster as the years go by.

Skinner's legacy is pretty much set. His first three seasons have taken care of that. But in 2009 he and his team have the chance of setting the bar incredibly high for any other class that will follow. Could you imagine another ACC championship and Orange Bowl for this class, which would give it two in four years? A recent media poll gives Wake virtually no shot, tabbing the Deacs fourth in the ACC's Atlantic Division. Don't forget, though, that in 2006 the Deacons were supposed to finish last in the division, and we all know what happened that season.

On paper this season looks to be a little, OK a lot, different than 2008. Most of the names we're familiar with are on offense. Including Skinner. The Deacs should score their share of points. Where Wake will be a little greener is on defense where several past stars like Aaron Curry have graduated into the top tax bracket leaving defensive coordinator Brad Lambert to come up with the right combination of newcomers in the starting lineup to help insure that Wake gives up fewer points than it scores. Like all of us the game has aged, but the last time I checked that's still how games are won. Who wouldn't take twelve one-point wins right now? That would guarantee the Deacs a shot at that second ACC crown in four years - and then who knows after that. Orange at least.

Now I'm aging, but I'm not crazy. I'm not predicting anything. I've never been much of a predictor. I've been around long enough to understand that a football isn't round, and it takes really crazy bounces at times. But history teaches us things, and history does at times tend to repeat itself. Riley Skinner has great history. I feel really comfortable with him at the controls.

No, I'm not calling anything. Right now I'm living the good life in late summer when the Deacs are undefeated and the winningest quarterback in Wake Forest history is poised for his senior season. It's dream time.

And that never gets old

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