Wake hoping for Skinner's return, better things against Tech

Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner is still considered questionable for Saturday's game against Georgia Tech because of a mild concussion. But when Wake coach Jim Grobe saw Skinner Monday morning, he felt better about his chances.

"I saw him this morning and he doesn't have a headache," Grobe said in a telephone interview Monday. "He's not dizzy. He's going to class and seems to be clear-headed. I think that's a good sign."

Grobe said Skinner wouldn't practice on Monday and will be evaluated each day to see whether he can be cleared for practice.

"Right now I'd say if we can get him back for some work in the middle of the week, he might be able to play Saturday," Grobe said.

Skinner, a senior and four-year starter, helped the Demon Deacons rack up a season-high 555 yards of offense against No. 16 Miami on Saturday. He completed 29 of 43 passes for 349 yards, much of it while hitting receivers and backs underneath coverage, giving them room to run. But Skinner had to leave the game with 6:22 to play after his helmet was knocked off and he took a knee to the side of his head.

The Deacons were leading Miami when Skinner went down -- they had led the entire game -- but they couldn't get a couple of key first downs to keep Miami off the field, gave up a couple of big pass plays and lost 28-27.

Wake Forest, now 4-5, has taken four of those losses by a total of 10 points. That they've lost close games is no consolation anymore to a team that won the ACC championship three years ago.

"We've gotten to the point in the program though where there aren't really any of those moral victories," Grobe said. "It's not where you can sit around and feel good about yourself because you made it close. We are disappointed that we didn't win and [are] trying to keep our heads up. We've had some really tough losses."

Grobe conceded that Wake still doesn't always have the speed and talent of its opponents but will compete until the fourth quarter and then try to find ways to win. It hasn't happened much this year, and it won't be easy on Saturday against the No. 10 Yellow Jackets.

Wake hasn't played Georgia Tech since the 2006 ACC championship game, which Wake won 9-6. Grobe hasn't faced a Paul Johnson-coached team since Johnson was at Navy. (Wake won both those matchups 44-24 in 2007 and 30-27 in 2002.)

The Deacons are just two games removed from facing a triple-option team in Navy, whom they lost to 13-10 in a rainstorm. While that might seem to give them an edge in preparation, Grobe isn't so sure.

"It's probably a wash," Grobe said. "Most of the time you've got about four days to practice for this offense. We're going to end up with about eight because we had about four days to get ready for Navy and now we've got about four days to get ready for Georgia Tech. The problem is I think it lets Georgia Tech get better prepared for us because they've seen us defend Navy."

Wake Forest needs to win two of its last three games against Tech, Florida State and Duke to become bowl eligible. They'll be playing two of those – Tech and Duke – on the road. Wake Forest is 4-2 at home this season but 0-3 on the road.

"You hate to be playing Georgia Tech knowing that you need a win," Grobe said. "Not only playing a great team and a well-coached team but having to play them at their place is especially tough."