I'd be lying if I said I didn't steal the idea for this post from ESPN's Heather Dinnich, but she hasn't covered Wake yet so the content is definitely original. The premise is pretty simple: what questions need to be answered during the next month of practices?
1. Will someone step up and be a reliable long snapper?
The fact that this is the first question that comes to my mind has to be a very good sign for the Demon Deacons this season. The fact is, this is the only glaring hole at a starting position anywhere on the team. I'm pretty sure we'll ultimately get a positive answer to this question.
Ryan McManus has been expected to take this job from the very beginning, but unfortunately he never quite got the it done in the spring. I know McManus is a competitive guy who badly wants to be on the football field, so I'm guessing he's worked his butt off this summer and has a pretty good looking snap by now. Obviously time will tell, but I'm feeling pretty good about this one.
2. Will the offensive line get the job done?
Since the end of the 2007 season this has probably been the question most Deacon fans have been asking. Based on what I saw in the spring, I think the starting five will be a successful group. They won't be as good as last year's line right away, but we'll see them continue improving and ultimately I don't think fans will be complaining too much.
The biggest concern here is depth. What happens if a couple of starters go down? Joe Looney would probably be ready to step in for a guard, but if a tackle or center were to go down I think there might be a pretty big problem. During these preseason practices we need to see how these younger guys develop.
3. Is there a depth issue in the secondary?
Dan Collins touched on this today, and it might be a slight concern. Channing Schofield, who would have seen significant playing time as a backup and in nickel/dime coverages is no longer with the team. There are still seven cornerbacks on the roster, but two are redshirt freshmen and one is a true freshmen, so an injury or two could open up some major issues here.
I think this question could be answered pretty easily if young guys like Josh Bush step up and show that they're ready to play on Saturday.
Now to put a bit of a different spin on this, here's one question people are asking that I don't think is an issue:
With Kenny Moore gone, who will step up and lead the receiving corps?
I'm convinced this will not be a problem. There are plenty of talented receivers on the roster, not to mention tight end Ben Wooster who is clearly ready to step up and play. I think the Demon Deacons can be just fine without that one go-to receiver. We know Chip Brinkman can catch passes, and the same goes for Jordan Williams and D.J. Boldin. Devon "Y'lou" Brown is ready to step up as well.
Wake doesn't need someone to be Kenny Moore and carry the entire load himself; it doesn't have to be a one man job. The talent is there for this group to get it done as a unit, and I think they will.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't steal the idea for this post from ESPN's Heather Dinnich, but she hasn't covered Wake yet so the content is definitely original. The premise is pretty simple: what questions need to be answered during the next month of practices?
A standout guard on Wake's 2006 ACC Championship team, Steve Vallos has clearly been working hard during Seattle Seahawks training camp. Best of luck to him and all of our other NFL Deacons this season. Unfortunately that list no longer includes Kevin Marion.
ACC Football Report recently posted their 2008 Wake Forest preview, and I can't find any significant fault with it. It doesn't say anything revolutionary, but I definitely enjoyed this comment: "Defense: God help the clunky offenses of the ACC against this group in 2008."
Last but certainly not least, Dan Collins says the Demon Deacons are just about ready for practice to start. I think Wake fans can collectively say "so are we!"
Wake's 2008 basketball recruiting class has received plenty of praise. ESPN's Andy Katz continues that trend with this article about the trio Al-Farouq Aminu, Ty Walker, and Tony Woods.
He definitely has high praise for them and their decision to keep their commitments to Wake after Skip Prosser's passing, but more than that I love to see how complimentary the guys are of each other.
It's going to be a good year for Wake Forest basketball.
Yesterday Patrick Hite at ACC Nation wrote a column about the ACC's perception throughout the country. For once someone wasn't trying to tear down the ACC or trying to defend it. The column had a very different purpose.
"The conference will never be a consistent threat to win a national title and I’m OK with that," wrote Hite. "Teams should embrace an ACC title and, if things fall into place they may earn a shot at a national championship. If things don’t fall into place, which happens more often than not, the ACC title is still pretty special."
I was caught of guard by this a little bit and had to stop and think about it. Should I just enjoy the ACC schedule and the possibilty of an ACC Championship and not worry about the rest of the nation and what they think?
Hite is absolutely right about how special an ACC Championship is. Wake fans only have to look back two years to remember, and I know that no one really cares that the rest of the country called it a down year in the ACC.
Still, it's frustrating to watch ACC football week-in and week-out and not feel like it gets the credit it deserves. There are a lot of talented teams and just because Florida State and Miami aren't the best schools in the conference right now doesn't mean the conference is awful as a whole.
I think I both agree and disagree with Hite's point at the same time.
I agree that an ACC Championship is special no matter what the conference looks like that year. If you listen to most players and coaches at the begining of the season they aren't talking about how they want to win a National Championship, they're talking about how they want to win the conference.
Ultimately, though, it is impossible for me to not want to come to the ACC's defense becaues I don't think the rest of the nation's criticism of the ACC is fair. All I ever hear is that the ACC can't be good because Miami and FSU aren't good. Why do those schools have to be the best schools in the conference? How long until it isn't a sign of a weak conference to have Wake Forest or Boston College be one of the best teams?
I love ACC football; it's fun to watch, fun to cover, and there is some great talent. If I thought the ACC was significantly worse than the other BCS conferences then criticism from others wouldn't bother me, but because I find the criticisms of the ACC unfair, I can't help but be annoyed by it.
Obviously it wouldn't hurt for the conference to win a few more bowl games, too. But is that all it's going to take? A national title? Even just a BCS win? Let me know what you think.
Apparently Alphonso Smith (along with Wake's other Florida players from the area) got their speed from chasing rabbits. Go figure.
Wasn't exactly what I expected when I checked Heather Dinnich's ACC Blog today, but its a fun story and Wake gets some coverage.
I received an email from a reader yesterday asking to be updated, hopefully with photos, about the progress being made on Deacon Tower. The official Wake Forest Football Project site hasn't been updated in a long time, and although some of you have probably found other ways to follow the progress, I know some of you have not.
This gallery, from photographer Bob Hebert (he gets credit for the picture to the right), is a few of weeks old and shows the incredible progress that has been made on the tower even in just the last few months. Those of you who are familiar with the Deacon Sports message boards have also probably been following this thread which contains even more recent photo updates if you're willing to sift through the most recent pages.
All indications are that Deacon Tower will be fully ready for the home opener against Ole Miss on September 6. In fact, tours of the Tower are expected to be available at the final scrimmage on the August 19.
No doubt about it, Deacon Tower is a thing of beauty and the Wake Forest community can be very proud of it.
Not according to Gobbler Country. Feel free to go give them a piece of your mind.
Don't come back and tell me the post is stupid, though, because that's what it's supposed to be. They've been doing it for every school. I will admit that their "dirt" on Wake is pretty weak.
I will comment on their stance that Wake will return to mediocrity when Grobe leaves: This will not be true if he stays around for 3+ years. If he left now we might be in trouble, but I think with a couple more years the foundation will be there for whoever comes next. Hopefully we don't have to find out.
I realize we don't talk a whole lot of recruiting here at Old Gold & Blog, mostly because I just don't have the resources to cover it the way Rivals and Scout can, but I think a recruiting update every now and then is always a good thing.
2009 football recruiting is currently in full swing, and the Demon Deacons are picking up commitments faster than ever before. Although I don't have the raw data to back this up, I'm relatively certain that Wake Forest has never gotten to the end of July with double digit commitments.
This year (and with a couple of days remaining), Wake already has 15 commitments for 2009. Pretty incredible, isn't it?
Yesterday Wake picked up multiple commitments, including quarterback Brendan Cross, son of former NFL player Randy Cross. Cross is a quarterback who really impressed when he attended camp at Wake earlier this month, and committed on the spot when he received the scholarship offer from Wake's coaches. Full story from the AJC here.
Dan Collins has more on one of Wake's recent pick-ups, cornerback Rishard Anderson. Anderson is a talented defensive back who will certainly make an impact at Wake.
Of the 15 commitments so far, Rivals.com rates 11 of them at three stars. Not only is this class close to full, it's also full of talent.
So, with all of these commitments, Wake is only looking to pick up around four more recruits. With several good targets left on the board, I'm looking forward to seeing who grabs the last few spots.
I'm guessing this will be the last post to talk about Skip Prosser for awhile, but this video from MyFox WGHP from the Quad at midnight is a must see for any Wake fan. It's great to see what went on, plus it's a well edited piece. The bells at the end had me tearing up. Over at ESPN.com Andy Katz talks about Skip, Dino Gaudio, and the program as a whole one year later.
Speaking of ESPN, ACC bowl projections from Heather Dinnich - Wake to the Gator Bowl, which sounds about right if there's no ACC Championship game for the Deacs. Hopefully there is...
ACC coaches rankings with Grobe at the top, although I'm not sure I'm in too much agreement with the list as a whole.
That was the scene last night on the Quad, as Wake Forest fans showed up to roll in memory of Skip. I applaud all of you who were able to make it out, and I hope to see the tradition continue in the future. I'll try to get a daylight picture up when there's a good one available later today.
Those who have been looking for them have probably already found most of these, but I thought it would be good to point out some of the better ones.
I was proud of the Winston-Salem Journal for their excellent coverage the last couple days. Thanks for making sure Skip's legacy is recognized.
There were other good pieces out there, and some good responses from fans and fellow bloggers.
All in all, I think the sports community did an admirable job respectfully remembering coach, and I think Wake Forest fans can be satisfied.
It's hard to believe 364 days have come and gone since the passing of Skip Prosser. Tomorrow, July 26, will mark the one year anniversary of that unfortunate day, and Wake Forest fans will never forget the impact he had on the university.
One of the most amazing things about Skip was that his presence was not felt only at Wake Forest. He had a positive effect on every campus, every coach, every player, every media member, and every person who spent considerable time with him.
Though time may have dulled the pain for many of us, an anniversary like this is never easy. Many tough memories return, and many happy ones seem to hurt, too.
My path didn't cross Skip's for very long. I only spent one season paying close attention to him: my freshman year, his 2006-2007 season. Though it wasn't Skip's most successful season on the court, that brief glimpse provided all I needed to see the strength of his character.
Because I had spent such little time around him, I did not anticipate the effect his passing would have on me. I hadn't been around Skip long enough for him to have a huge personal effect on me, but seeing the impact he had in the lives of those who had been around him longer, I couldn't help but feel the pain of losing a great man.
Just yesterday, when listening to senior guard Harvey Hale and current head coach Dino Gaudio talk about Skip and the anniversary, I was reminded of the tremendous impact Skip had had on the lives of everyone around him. Not only did Harvey share how much Skip had meant to him on the basketball court, but he also expressed how much Skip had contributed to the development of his character. Coach Gaudio expressed similar sentiments, and talked about how difficult parts of this summer have been as he has traveled the country recruiting in all the same places Skip used to recruit.
There is no doubt about it; Skip was a great man who passed long before anyone on this earth would have liked. His presence is still felt in the Wake Forest basketball program and in the Wake Forest community as a whole. The Demon Deacons he touched will never forget him.
Although I will be unable to attend, I encourage all who are able to head to campus tomorrow night at midnight to throw a roll for Skip. I would love to see this become a yearly tradition, as it is exactly the type of memorial I believe Skip would enjoy.
Furthermore, in honor of Skip, Old Gold & Blog will be silent tomorrow, save for a single image. Feel free to leave your thoughts, memories, or anything else Skip-related in the comments section of this post today or that post tomorrow.
Coach Prosser, you are missed.
Before I get too far ahead of myself and forget to do this, I want to make all of the football preview I've spent the last several weeks working on available in one place. It ended up being a 18 post series, so here they all are:
Many of you may have been following the coverage coming out of the ACC's Football Kickoff, essentially a three-day event for the media to talk to conference officials, coaches, and players (and of course play some golf).
It is an event I would have loved to attend, but wasn't able to because of my summer job (and I'm not sure they would let me anyway). I've tried to do my best to keep up with everything coming out of all the interviews happening there, but to be honest I haven't been able to read everything.
Nonetheless, I have noticed (and I've seen many Wake fans point it out) that there haven't been many features on Wake while most other schools have gotten more coverage. The one notable exception to that is this great piece Gregg Doyel did on coach Jim Grobe.
I've seen plenty of people complaining about the lack of coverage (most specifically on the Scout boards regarding ESPN's ACC blogger Heather Dinich) and I think people are losing perspective in their complaints.
Yes, Wake should be one of the best teams in the ACC this season, but I haven't seen anyone in the media say otherwise.
The fact is, a national media outlet like ESPN has to cater first and foremost to the teams that bring the most readers to the site. Just because Wake is going to be good this year doesn't mean the general public wants to read about it. Florida State could go 7-7 every season and there would still be more people interested in them in the preseason than a great Wake Forest team.
Why are the Red Sox and Yankees on TV all the time when they aren't the best teams in the baseball? Obviously because the most people want to watch them.
There is a reason Old Gold & Blog is the only independent site covering Wake Forest when every other ACC school has more than one. Even so it's a pretty good day when a few hundred people visit the site. There just isn't that large of a fan base who are interested enough to constantly follow the Demon Deacons.
If you're interested in the ACC at-large then I think Heather and the others at the Kickoff did a great job of covering everything being talked about there. Many stories about various issues in the conference included Jim Grobe's thoughts and comments, but when it comes to stories specifically about Wake, it just isn't always practical.
Wake is getting plenty of preseason respect, and I look forward to seeing the team prove that respect is deserved on the field. I'll do my best to keep providing good Wake coverage between now and August 28, and hopefully I can make it to the 2009 Kickoff to give Wake the coverage it deserves.
Right now I'm just going to enjoy the excitement surrounding this 2008 season.
I've written admittedly optimistic preview of every 2008 game, and if things always go the way I say they could then Wake will be 12-0 after playing Vandy. In reality, however, I don't think it will be that easy.
While I firmly believe there isn't a single game on the schedule Wake couldn't win, I don't expect a 12-0 season. I will not be surprised if one of the road games (specifically FSU, Miami, or Maryland) end up being losses, and I won't be surprised with a loss to Clemson either.
With no losses Wake would obviously be in the ACC championship game. With only one loss chances are sill pretty good unless Florida State, Clemson, or some other surprising team runs the table.
As I said, two losses still wouldn't surprise me, and when we get to this scenario we have to start hoping for some other pieces to fall into place. Two ACC losses would mean we need at least two ACC losses from all the other teams, and I think this will be a year when one of these strong teams will make the ACC championship game by running the table or only losing once.
A nine win season would be the low end of what I deem acceptable in 2008. Barring some rediculous injuries, there just isn't any reason for Wake to lose more than three games. That scenario would put Wake almost entirely out of the ACC Championship game.
If Wake were to make an ACC Championship game the most likely opponent would be Virgnia Tech. There's no reason to really start making predictions about a game like that at this point becuase there are just way too many variables. At this point you'd have to say that unless there's an undefeated team in that game (in which case they would be the clear favorite), it's going to be a toss-up to see who gets to go to the Orange Bowl. The loser of the ACC Championship game is most likely going to the Chick-fil-a Bowl.
If Wake misses the ACC Championship game its bowl options start to look a lot like they did last season. Another trip to the Meineke wouldn't be surprising with a couple of losses, but a trip to Orlando for the Champs Sports Bowl, Jacksonville for the Gator, or maybe to Nashville for the Music City wouldn't be surprising either.
Though it's hard to imagine, if Wake lost four or more games we have to start looking at the possibiltiy of heading out west for the Humanitarian bowl or the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. The new bowl in Washington D.C. would be a possibility as well.
And to finish on the most optimistic option possible, were Wake to run the table and be 13-0 then I believe we will all be enjoying a slightly later trip to Miami for the National Championship Game.
A man can dream, right?
Continuing the new standard (hopefully) of weekend links, I encourage you to visit ACC Nation and listen to Phil Steel's breakdown and preview of the ACC in 2008. He definitely has some encouraging things to say about the Deacons.
Once again, feel free to comment on whatever you like.
I haven't been making posts of any kind on the weekends this summer, but I figured it would make sense to put something up even if it wasn't my own content. Here are links to a few things I think are worth reading, and feel free to treat this as an open thread to discuss whatever you'd like.
Alabama blog Roll 'Bama Roll has posted this preview of the Wake/Ole Miss game. Favorable for the Deacs, but not as strong a prediction as I think it should be.
Meanwhile, a South Carolina newspaper is predicting a Clemson win over the Demon Deacons. It's a relatively fair preview, even if it doesn't predict the outcome we'd like to here.
That's all I've got. Feel free to talk among yourselves.
After a long, hard road of ACC games, Vanderbilt should be an easy way to finish the season. Wake is definitely the better team, but I worry about a costly letdown (or a surprise performance from Vandy) in a game like this.
Briefly, I'd like to discuss this "rivalry" and its position on the schedule.
Unlike many Wake fans, I fall in the camp that is in favor of playing Vanderbilt on a regular basis. They are definitely our natural SEC rival, and if both teams ever ended up being pretty good for a couple of years in a row, it could really pick up some steam. Unfortunately, the game just doesn't pack that kind of punch at this stage.
One of the biggest problems is that the game is played over the post-Thanksgiving weekend. I know that weekend is nationally a Rivalry Weekend, but for opponents like Wake and Vandy it just doesn't work. If Florida plays Florida State, or Texas plays Texas A&M, or UCLA plays USC, it works out perfectly; all of those schools have huge fanbases in the area, and with 5 figure enrollements they are guaranteed to have enough students around to fill the student section.
For Wake and Vandy, with small student bodies spread out across the country for the Thanksgiving holiday and smaller local fanbases, it's going to be nearly impossible to fill the stadium. I think this game needs to be moved earlier in the season to allow an actual rivalry to develop, then maybe it can move back to Thanksgiving. I know this is not going to happen, at least for the duration of this contract, and that the ACC wants its schools to be playing non-conference games the last week of the season for Championship Game scheduling purposes, but in a perfect world this game would happen at a different time.
Nothing can be done about any of that now, so the only thing remaining is the action on the field. Last season the Commodores went 5-7 and were a win against Wake away from bowl eligibility. They may not have actually gotten a bid with that record, but the fact that they were close to that number of wins was certainly a small victory. Now, with standout wide receiver Earl Bennett gone and uncertainty about the top quarterback, Vandy will struggle to stay at that level.
Chris Nickson and Mackenzi Adams will battle for the starting quarterback job, and at this point no one really seems to know who it will be. As I've often heard Jim Grobe say, "If you think you have two number ones, you really only have two number two's." I'm guessing that statement is completely accurate in this case.
Vandy's biggest strength is their secondary, led by impressive junior cornerback D.J. Moore. They return three other starters, and the unit will be counted on to keep Vandy in games. The rest of the defense isn't bad, but graduation left a big hole at defensive tackle and Vandy will struggle against good running games.
On offense Vanderbilt lost all five of last year's offensive lineman. Playing a group of untested Juniors is going to make things very challening for the skill players. Without a clear picture at quarterback and the loss of Bennett at wide receiver, Vandy is definitely in trouble for 2008.
It should be a pretty clear victory for Wake in this one, but Vandy does have a tendancy to sneak up and bite someone big just about every year. We'll just have to hope they do it to Tennessee or South Carolina before they have the chance to do it to us.
After a long, hard road of ACC foes, the Boston College Eagles will come to town for the final ACC test of the regular season.
Two years ago Boston College were in Winston-Salem for a nationally televised night game that ended up being one of the biggest nights in then-Groves Stadium history. Maybe that's a bit of a bold statement, but that victory meant the Deacs only needed to win two of their next three to make the ACC Championship game. The excitement that night was clearly evidenced by the joyous celebration of thousands of Wake Forest faithful on the field immediately following the game.
Last season's trip to Chestnut Hill wasn't quite as successful. After Phonz picked off the opening pass of the game and returned it for a touchdown things looked very, very good. Unfortunately that was one of the last positive feelings Deacon fans would have that game, as Matt Ryan picked apart the secondary and Riley Skinner went down with a shoulder injury on the way to a very disappointing season-opening loss.
Wake will definitely be looking to redeem the loss from 2007, and replicate the 2006 victory. Thankfully there won't be any Matt Ryans to contend with in order to make that happen.
BC's new starter, senior Chris Crane, is supposed to be a reasonably talented player himself, but no one expects him to match the production of Ryan. BC similarly lacks experience at running back, where two freshman are expected to shoulder the load. The receivers and offensive line return much of their talent, and we'll have to wait and see of Crane gets the protection he needs to get the ball in those receivers hands.
On defense BC will bring a very talented line, including several skilled and experienced seniors. They're a deep group and will make things tough on any offensive line/running game they face this season. Although the Eagles graduated some very impressive linebackers, they were very deep at that position and have several players ready to step in and get the job done. Despite those strong points, BC is definitely going to struggle in the secondary, where they graduated All-American safety Jamie Silva as well as talented corner DeJuan Tribble. With only one returning starter they're going to have to whip some young guys into shape quickly.
I think Wake should match up fairly well with Boston College. I don't see any position where Wake will definitely be at a disadvantage, and I think Riley Skinner will be able to take advantage of an inexperienced secondary. Phonz and the rest of the Wake secondary should make things difficult for Crane, and our experienced front seven won't make things easy for a couple of freshman running backs.
Given all of these things, I don't have much doubt that Wake will finish the ACC schedule on a strong note with a victory over the Eagles. Disagree with me? Think I missed something important? Let me know in the comments.
On November 15 the Demon Deacons will travel down Tobacco Road for a contest with the NC State Wolfpack, Wake's only November road trip. My quick impression of this game is that it should be a win, and I think that impression will hold for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, I'm confident Wake will be the better, more talented football team in 2008. No one has any idea who will be starting at QB for NC State, plus they lost two starting wideouts, and will only return four offensive starters. The defense is in the same position with only four returning starters. There may be plenty of talent on the roster, but it's still a year or two from really being developed.
I know it's tempting for us Deacon fans to find all kinds of reasons to give the Pack a hard time, but I don't really have anything bad to say about their football program. Pretty solid coaching staff who's done some good recruiting to develop a talented roster, but the pieces just aren't all in place yet. I suppose this team has the potential to be like the 2006 Deacons if all the breaks go their way, but I can't be predicting that right now.
Here are a few other reasons I have for being confident:
Because this game is our only road trip in November (sandwiched between four home games), I think the team will actually be excited to have a change of scenery. Sometimes a new venue can energize a team, and I think this is the perfect example of that situation.
Our guys seem to get a bit more excited about playing NC State than other teams. The local guys have plenty of connections to guys at NC State and anytime we play these games against UNC or State there seems to be a bit of extra motivation.
The last couple of years Wake has performed well against State. In some cases that might cause a team to be overly confident about a particular game, but I don't see that being an issue in this case. I don't think NC State will ever be a team the Deacs take lightly, so more than anything I expect the Deacs to be motivated to keep up the good work.
The Deacons will leave Raleigh with a win. I hope there will be many Deacon fans there to enjoy it!
Eight months ago I promised myself I'd forget November 3, 2007 ever happened. Unfortunately I'm going to have to break that promise in order to complete this preview, and I'm realizing the pain of that loss still hasn't disappeared.
I was at Scott Stadium that afternoon, as excited as any other Wake fan to see Wake driving the field on the way to what should have been a game winning field goal from Sam Swank. Even when the drive stalled earlier than had been hoped for, in part due to some excessively conservative play calling, I was confident I was about to head home in a very good mood.
Instead, Sam Swank did something he hasn't done very often the last two seasons: he missed the 50 yarder and Wake lost. The decision making on that final drive is probably some of the most controversial in Grobe's tenure at Wake. Although I understand Grobe's perspective, I still don't entirely agree with the way things were done.
This season the Deacons will have their chance to get revenge. Last year's game was certainly one that got away, and I'm confident this team won't allow it to happen again.
On the field, Virginia has all kinds of concerns in 2008. Things were already going to be rough this year with Chirs Long graduating, but Virginia hadn't been counting on losing guys like quarterback Jameel Sewell, DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald, and CB Chris Cook, who were all kicked off the team for acadmeic reasons. They also lost their most talented offensive lineman, Branden Albert, to an early NFL Draft entry.
The Hoos still have some pretty solid talent sprinkled throughout their roster, including running backs Cedric Peerman and Mikell Simpson, reciever Kevin Ogletree (back from missing 2007 with a knee injury), and a strong corps of linebacks including seniors Clint Sintim, Jon Copper, and Antonio Appleby.
If Virginia can find a way to fill some of the holes and can rally around the hard times their going through, I think they'll win a few more games than the three (or so) they're expected to win. As long as the Demon Deacons take care of business and make sure it doesn't happen against them, we'll be just fine.
It's not a particularly talented opponent, not a road trip, not anything that would usually make a game the "worst," but nonetheless this matchup against Duke is what I'm going to call the Worst Game of 2008.
If ever there was a trap game, this is it. Wake will be coming off of back to back road games against solid opponents. Three big, important games that will not be gimmies are coming up. There is no bye week in sight. So obviously. . . this is the perfect game to take a break, right?
I certainly hope not.
Duke is not going to be good. It's pretty impossible to remember them every being good, and it's hard to imagine the next time they will be. I realize people would have said the same thing about Wake not too long ago, but that doesn't mean Duke will be the same way.
Perhaps new coach David Cutcliffe will start to turn things around, but not right away. Maybe they have some more talent, or more interest from new athletic director Kevin White, but they'll still be the underdog in every single ACC game they play.
So it's clear Duke is awful, but this game is still the Worst.
If the Deacs didn't have a recent trend of playing down to opponents, maybe I wouldn't worry so much. If the Deacs hadn't tried as hard as they could to lose to Duke in my second ever game at Groves stadium, maybe I wouldn't worry so much. If Duke hadn't scored 13 points in the fourth quarter last season to come within five points of Wake, maybe I wouldn't worry so much.
But all those things have happened, and consequently I may very well be worried every time we play Duke for the rest of my life. We better not let this one slip away, it'd be an awful way to let a season with so much potential slip away.
I intended to write a couple of posts so that I could put one up today and another tomorrow, but things got crazy and it just didn't happen. I'm leaving this morning for a four day church retreat. Feel free to discuss the Deacons if you feel like it, or just dissapear until Monday if you prefer.
I know it isn't really the weekend yet for most of you, but I hope you all have a good weekend!
The October 25 trip to Dolphin Stadium is the second leg of Wake's only back-to-back road games of the season. It will be a difficult stretch and one that will definitely test this team. Ultimately, though, I don't expect this road swing to significantly phase this team, as most of our players are poised and experienced at this point.
Nine days after one of the season's biggest games Wake will head north to visit Maryland. If the Clemson game is the obvious one to have circled, this Maryland game strikes me as the easiest to overlook. I hadn't really had a second thought about this game until I sat down to write about it and realized it isn't much of a gimmie.
I'm guessing I'm not anywhere close to alone when I say that this game is the one I'm most excited/nervous for this season. Not only are Wake and Clemson expected to finish 1-2 in the ACC Atlantic Division, but the last couple of years have created an interesting rivalry between the two teams. Wake is definitely eager to get back on the winning side.
I hope this finds you all begining an excellent long weekend!
I'm guessing most of your plans don't include Old Gold & Blog, and that probably good since most of mine don't either.
I'll be taking a break from the preview until Monday, so unless there's some sort of breaking news this should be it until then. Enjoy the time with family and friends and I'll see you back here in a couple of days.
Coming off of the first conference game of the 2008 season Wake will face the Naval Academy on September 27 at BB&T Field. That weekend is the 2008 Family Weekend, meaning we can all look forward to (or dread) the appearance of Mama Deac at the game.
The last couple of years have created an interesting rivalry of sorts between Wake and Florida State. No one would have ever expected me to be able to say that even three years ago, but after a 30-0 shutout in Tallahassee two years ago and an impressive Thursday night victory in Winston last year, the Seminoles definitely don't like the Demon Deacons very much these days.
September 6, 2008 is a date we've all had marked on our calenders for some time now. It's all but guaranteed to be a landmark day in the history of Wake Forest football. No longer will people look at BB&T Field and scoff at it's size and amenities. Wake is finally joining the big time with the huge addition of a new press box, complete with a club level, suites, and media areas that will certainly all be top of the line.