During the grind of Wake Forest’s fall camp, center Zach Tom carved out the time to watch film from his first season with the Deacons.

Tom, now a redshirt sophomore and entering his first season as a starter, didn’t recognize himself.

“It didn’t look good,” Tom said with a laugh. “To see where I was then and see where I am now, yeah, it’s getting better every practice and stuff, and I think I’ve improved a lot.”

Tom’s growth can be part of the bigger picture with Wake Forest as a developmental program as it tries to climb the ladder in the ACC.

But in specific terms, Tom’s growth is paramount to Wake Forest’s offensive line maintaining a standard set over the past few seasons.

The 6-4, 290-pounder from Prairieville, La., is taking over at center for Ryan Anderson after spending the last two years learning from him. Wake Forest’s offensive success and speed is closely tied to the center’s ability to identify coverages and blitzes, and that means Tom — with one start and 326 snaps in his career — is tasked with stepping into one of the most important roles for the Deacons’ offense.

“I feel like I’m getting better at seeing the whole field, instead of just seeing the guy I’m trying to block,” Tom said. “Part of what Ryan taught me is seeing what the defense is doing, and that’ll give you a tip like what the D-line will do.

“Gradually I’ve gotten better at just … letting the defense talk to me.”

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