ACC Football: Skinner wants to go out a winner

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Associated Press
WINSTON-SALEM ó Riley Skinner listed the ways he has improved through the years at Wake Forest when the free-spirited quarterback set himself up for a punch line.
“Now entering my ninth season here … ” Skinner quipped Tuesday.
Well, not really. But sometimes it feels that way ó mainly because Skinner has done just about everything during his three seasons leading the Demon Deacons.
Among the things he’s already won: An Atlantic Coast Conference title, a pair of bowls and more games than any other quarterback in school history. Now he’s preparing for the opening game of his senior season, which arrives Saturday when Baylor visits, and he’s eager to start writing a fitting finish to his college career.
“I’ve still got so much to learn, and I still want to learn something new every day,” Skinner said. “And I think that’s one thing that can only make you better as a quarterback ó knowing that you don’t have all the answers. They’re coaches for a reason.”
The four-year starter who led Wake Forest to the first three-year bowl streak in program history while becoming its winningest signal caller is aiming to become its first quarterback with four consecutive seasons with 2,000 yards passing.
His passing numbers have steadily increased every year ó from 2,051 yards three years ago in 2006 to 2,347 last season, when the once-run-first Demon Deacons perhaps put too much of the offense on Skinner’s shoulders. As a result, Wake Forest ranked ninth in the ACC in both total offense and rushing offense.
“I kind of lost my way last year,” coach Jim Grobe said. “You get enamored with Riley’s arm, and you’re out there and you’re watching this guy throw the football so well, and if you’re not careful, you try to design a whole offense around him ó which is not a dumb thing to do. But it can backfire on you, because if the rest of the guys around him don’t fit that scheme, then that puts too much pressure on him. What we’d like to be able to do is, at times, hand the ball to somebody and not count on him to make a million different reads on every snap.”
Skinner certainly has come a long way since he was a redshirt freshman who was summoned off the bench in the 2006 opener.