Wake Forest defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel led a top-25 defense in his final season with Minnesota in 2016, with the Demon Deacon defense under since-departed Mike Elko right on his heels. Though the Deacs created pressure up front last season which led to a +8 turnover margin, there were definitely some areas of opportunity. 

Wake Forest finished 118th out of 129 FBS teams in 2017 in pass defense, allowing 271.5 yards a game in the air. Texas A&M lit up the Wake secondary for 499 yards in the Belk Bowl.

From that defense, Wake has lost five starters — defensive ends Duke Ejiofor and Wendell Dunn, linebackers Grant Dawson and Jaboree Williams, and safety Jessie Bates. Sawvel is looking to fill the voids left by player departures while also adding some versatility on defense. Many of his top performers are learning multiple positions so that the Deacs can better match up against pass-heavy offenses. 

Entering the 2017 season, Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson had his first bout of turnover on the coaching staff. Sawvel, safety coach Lyle Hemphill and linebacker coach Brad Sherrod were all new last season. Clawson added cornerback coach Ryan Crawford this season. 

Demon Deacon Digest spoke with Sawvel after practice Wednesday to see how the defense is progressing. Here's that Q&A: