Deacs' O-line makes offseason strides

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Heading into the spring, Wake Forest’s offensive line was arguably the Deacs’ biggest question mark, but the situation has improved dramatically since then.

Steven Chase, who was held out of spring practices for undisclosed reasons, has since returned, and the move of Frank Souza from nose guard to the offensive line has been particularly beneficial. A group that once had to replace four starters now has players coach Jim Grobe can depend upon.

“I think we’ve got five we can run with,” he said. “We’ve got to keep them healthy.”

Chase’s return has allowed the staff a little more flexibility with the depth chart. He or Souza – whoever develops into the better pass protector – will likely slide into the right guard position. Chase started three games at left tackle last year, but tore his MCL against Maryland on Nov. 19 and missed the final two games of the season. Souza struggled to find playing time last year behind talented veteran nose guard Nikita Whitlock.

“I think he was a little discouraged,” Grobe said of Souza. “He was fine with being there, but he knew we weren’t going to take Nikita off the field very much. We felt like in high school, when we recruited him, he could play offense or defense. When we asked him to move to the offensive line, not many people would be as enthusiastic as he was. Just in a very short amount of time it was obvious he has the talent to be a very good one for us. We hit a home run with Frank.”