It's nice to see them give Navy credit, which they deserve, while not letting Wake off the hook at the same time. I think it's a pretty fair assessment? What about you?
From the "If you think it's bad, someone else has it worse" department, Clemson blog Block C had this to say late Saturday night:
F*CKITY F*CK F*CK F*CKYou can check out the whole post here, but I think we can all agree that Clemson fans do have it worse than we do right now. I'm not saying that we should feel the least bit bad for them. But at least we can enjoy the fact that they're in much much worse shape than we are. At least for another 9 days, anyway.
Towards the end of last week several readers left comments on posts, and I even received a couple of emails, all of which said something to the effect of "Remember the other sports!"
First, I apologize for not providing better coverage of the soccer teams, field hockey, etc. I know there are Wake fans who would love to be kept up to date on these teams, and I wish I did a better job helping fill that need. In fact, going into this fall season one of my goals was to provide regular coverage of at least men's soccer, along with the football and basketball coverage.
Unfortunately, I was biting off more than I could chew. With a 16 hour class schedule along with other commitments, there just aren't enough hours in my day to cover everything to the extent it deserves to be covered, and ultimately football and basketball have to take priority over everyone else.
All of that to say, it's time to ask for help. I try to do all I can running this as a one man show, but there are clearly limitations. In order to provide better coverage I'm reaching out to you. Are you interested in helping Old Gold & Blog provide more comprehensive coverage of Wake Forest athletics? If so, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know how you'd be interested in helping.
Hopefully this will be successful and the future of Old Gold & Blog will be even brighter than the present.
Edit: those of you who read this post earlier in the day know what the exciting news is, but due to a couple of issues things have been postponed a week. They've asked us to wait until they announce it next week to tell you about it, so those who didn't read this morning will be in the dark. BlogPoll this week will operate exactly the same as previous weeks. Sorry!
I try hard this far into the season to submit a ballot based on resume, meaning most undefeated teams will be ranked higher than most of those who are not. This will probably continue until teams get a significant chunk of their conference schedules under their belts, which is likely to hurt the Ball States of the world pretty significantly.
Much of yesterday seemed like a bad joke, kind of like the pun in the title. The first half performance was so bad that I literally laughed out loud a couple of times. A glimmer of hope in the third quarter only made the final 24-17 defeat at the hands of the Naval Academy that much more painful.
The most obvious place to start with this one is Riley Skinner. Obviously he couldn't keep avoiding interceptions all season long, but I can't say I expected him to throw four today. After last week's poor performance at Florida State I thought Skinner would bounce back, but it wasn't to be. I've never seen him throw so many poor passes in a game. His fumble only made matters worse. Skinner is still the quarterback of this team. He had a bad day, which happens to everyone from time to time. There's no chance of him being replaced any time soon, but yesterday he just wasn't good enough. It wasn't fun to see.
Skinner's performance stands out the most, but no one else on the offense made his job any easier. The offensive line had another rough afternoon, and weren't helped by Joe Birdsong getting ejected and Jeff Griffin getting hurt. The running game was once again awful and showed no real signs of improvement. The "Wild Deacon" formation used a couple of times didn't look ready for a real game situation. When you have a quarterback who can't throw accurate passes and a running game that can't move the ball, it's going to be hard to win a game.
The defense actually played pretty well. The first half was a bit of a struggle to handle the option, and the injury to Kaipo helped them out a lot, but they only gave up seven points in the second half and spent a lot of time on the field. All things considered, it was a reasonably good performance.
I would have liked to see the Deacs go for it on one, the other, or both fourth and shorts in the fourth quarter. Wasting a timeout to punt the ball was also poor clock management. I try not to act like I know as much as the coaches, but I have to question some of the actions that were taken both in clock management and play calling. I think it's fair to say that it was as much an off day for them as it was for the players.
I'm sure there's plenty more I can (and probably will eventually) say, but I want to get to the pregame questions.
1. If Wake has a run game, can it please show up?
Nope. Not yet, anyway. 45 rushing yards. That's it. I don't think there's much more to say about it. Terrible.
2. How well will Wake contain the option?
The defense struggled with the option early, but improved with experience. The pass defense may have actually been the most dissapointg part. We all know it's hard to prepare for Navy's offense, but I think the defense can be satisfied with it's performance. It wasn't as perfect as last week, but it was pretty good. Kaipo's injury helped, and there were some pretty glaring mistakes, but that's what an option offense will do to you from time to time.
3. Injury avoidance is key - can the Deacs stay healthy?
I asked this question with the basic assumption that a win was more or less inevitable. At that point, we'd just want to get out healthy. Turns out, the win was definitely "less" inevitable... much less. Jeff Griffin was hurt, but otherwise everyone was fine. Still, the loss looms much larger than health after a game like this.
4. Will the parents pack the stands?
Not a good weather day, but the crowd was pretty good and stuck around despite the conditions and the poor performance on the field. Family weekend has been less than successful recently. Same thing happend two years ago against Clemson...we all know what happened in that one.
5. Will the Wake fans honor this Navy team like they did Army last year?
Yep, all good on this front. Fans and players were all very respectful, and I must say that it's pretty cool to see all the cadets stand at attention for the national anthem. The alma maters after the game were nice as well, even if they weren't much fun. Still, very classy all the way around.
Predictions: I look foolish once again. 31-17? Not exactly. One team scored 17, but it definitely wasn't the right one. Navy took care of business. Rough.
As much as I'd like to forget this game quickly, the bye week isn't going to make it easy. I'm sure we'll spend plenty of time breaking down the game. The good news is, it wasn't an ACC loss. Any hopes of going to a national championship game may have gone down the drain, but the Orange Bowl is just as likely as it was before. With others around the conference dropping games all over the place, I have to think Wake is still the favorite to come out of the Atlantic division. I guess that can be today's silver lining.
...but I wish it was.
I spent most of last night trying to forget about losing to Navy, but the facts are the facts.
Dan Collins is so clever..."A sinking feeling..." nice.
I guess the Washington Post has a beat writer for Navy, so here's that perspective.
Heather Dinnich says Wake fell into its trap, which was apparently inevitable.
I'm going to stop the bleeding there, but not for long. My game review will be up in a bit.
Today's live blog will start at 3:30. I'll be posting remotely from the stadium (assuming the rain stops) and Scott will be helping me out by managing comments and such. It's the first time we've done it this way so bear with us if we have issues. Hopefully things will go off without a hitch. Hope you'll join us!
Big win for Wake's #1 soccer team last night, as they defeated #2 Maryland 4-2 in College Park.
Sorry for such a short post this morning - family stuff going on.
There will be a live blog this afternoon, hopefully up and running about 3:30. If you're watching from home, it'd be great if you'd come participate. It was a lot of fun last week.
It's family weekend here on campus, and the weather probably couldn't be any worse. The temperature is hovering around 60 degrees, and I don't believe it has stopped raining all day. Nonetheless, the Demon Deacons will be playing football tomorrow afternoon, and even though there may not be sun, forecasts are predicting the rain will be gone by game time.
Date: Saturday, September 27, 2008
Time: 3:45 p.m. EDT
Location: BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
Broadcast: ESPNU, ISP Radio Network
A win tomorrow means seven in a row for the Deacs, tying a school record. It'd be great to have that win in hand and be looking to set a new record against Clemson. A win would also be Jim Grobe's 50th at Wake.
I hope to never feel like the game is in question, and I'd really like to see the run game have a big day. I'm not totally confident we're going to see it, but we'll see. A well-run option offense is never easy to deal with, so I don't expect a flawless game from the defense, but ultimately I think Wake's talent level will make the difference.
Things to watch for:
1. If Wake has a run game, can it please show up?
I'm done saying "I think the run game will finally show up this week." Now I just going to hope they do. I'll keep hoping until it happens, but I won't get mad about it until it starts costing the team wins.
2. How well will Wake contain the option?
It's never an easy task, and for the first quarter of last year's matchup Navy was having a fair amount of success. It wasn't until an Aaron Curry hit knocked quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada out of the game that things started falling apart for the midshipmen. He's back this year and I think Navy could easily score a lot of points if the Deacs aren't prepared. I hope now that Paul Johnson is gone the option isn't quite as potent, but I'm not counting on that.
3. Injury avoidance is key - can the Deacs stay healthy?
There's so much potential for this season that it would be really terrible to see anyone go down this week. DT John Russell is listed as probable on the injury report with a shoulder injury. There's a bye week next week so hopefully things will be okay even if there's a minor injury of some kind, but it'd be great to emerge both healthy and victorious.
4. Will the parents pack the stands?
As I menitoned eariler, it's parents weekend and there will be lots of families in the stands. With questionable weather and one of the less exciting opponents of the season, It'll be interesting to see just how full BB&T field is.
5. Will the Wake fans honor this Navy team like they did Army last year?
I sincerely hope this is a rhetorical question. These guys are much more than football players and deserve respect from all Wake fans for the contributions they're making to our country. I loved the way the fan base, students included, cheered for Army last year, and I hope to see the same thing tomorrow. I also look forward to seeing the Wake players honor the Navy alma mater after the game. Always a classy touch by Jim Grobe teams.
Predictions: I come to this segment of the previous cautiously, as I looked pretty foolish with last week's 41-36 prediction. I expect a significant margin of victory this week, and I think the Deacs will put points on the board, so I'm going to go with 31-17. Navy is going to beat themselves, so Wake needs to get the job done.
One last thing - someone in last week's live blog (maybe Scott?) said they'd be willing to help out with a live blog tomorrow. If you or anyone else is interested, shoot me an email and let me know so we can try to get it set up.
I didn't get a "Wake up call" up yesterday morning, so I'm going to catch up on a couple of items from yesterday and hit today's news.
A great feature on Aaron Curry and his draft stock, both past and future.
Edward Robinson from Raleigh takes a look at Navy.
Aaron Curry was named the Lott Trophy IMPACT player of the week, but the funny thing is I don't think he was even the defensive players with the greatest impact in the game. Still, a nice honor.
John Delong has written an excellent feature on former basketball coach Dave Odom and the rest of the 2008 Wake Forest hall of fame inductees. A great read.
A Dan Collins feature on center Trey Bailey.
Some interesting tidbits from the Wake notebook.
According to the associated press, Brandon Pendergrass needs to step it up.
Heather Dinnich recognizes Ryan McManus as the ACC's unsung hero so far this season, mostly for the timeout call at the end of the FSU game. I bet he never expected to get so much mileage out of standing up and putting his hands together in the shape of a "T"
This week I had the pleasure of exchanging questions with The Birddog, an excellent Navy blog. I imagine blogging about Navy football isn't always the easiest or most glamorous thing to do, so I'm very impressed with the product over there. I'll post a link once he posts my answers, and his answers are below:
TBD: Boy, I don't know if I'm qualified to answer that question. It may sound a bit odd, but I don't think that "balancing" life is really an issue. Every minute of every athlete's day is so regimented that a lot of decision-making is kind of taken out of their hands. The real marvel is how well these guys handle stress. Imagine having a paper due on Wednesday, a Thermodynamics exam on Thursday, duties to perform as your company admin officer, and hitting the road on Friday for a Saturday game at a top-25 ACC powerhouse. A lot is expected of these guys, and they have a very high standard to meet. Needless to say, it takes a special person to handle the rigors of Division I athletics, a Naval Academy education, and military commitments. But if you can tackle all three, then there's a pretty good chance that you have what it takes to be a good naval officer.One of the unique things about being a Navy fan is that it's easy to relate to the athletes' experience. They live in the same dorm as everyone else, take the same classes, go on summer training, and go through plebe summer like everyone else. Varsity athletes are in every company and have leadership roles within the brigade. They are truly representative of the student body, and I think that makes for a greater connection between fan and athlete that doesn't exist at a lot of other schools. It can create some friction sometimes, too; some people resent athletes due to perceived special treatment. But those guys are usually nerds.
TBD: I'm not sure what this team is capable of yet, since we're only now seeing the team at close to full strength. Rutgers was the first game where Kaipo was anywhere close to 100%, which makes a huge, huge difference. Eric Kettani was injured on his first carry against Duke, but was reasonably healthy against Rutgers. Navy is also breaking in four new starters on the offensive line, and they played what was by far their best game last week. The defense was also greatly improved. I wouldn't say that they're good, but they are at least no longer laughingly bad. If they played last year the way they played against Rutgers, the Mids might have won another game or two. Can Navy win any of those games? I think so. Navy definitely has yet to play their best football of the season.
TBD: Shun White is very good, and he's the team's best home run threat while Kaipo and Eric Kettani are still getting back to 100%. He's getting an unusual number of carries for a Navy slotback; he has almost as many carries through four games this year (63) as he did all of last year (78). He's the one player on Navy's roster that actually looks like a traditional tailback, and so far he's being used like one. He's averaging 10 yards per carry, thanks mostly to several 60+ yard runs he had against Towson, Ball State, and Duke.Kaipo and Eric Kettani will get faster as they heal, but last week they clearly weren't at full speed yet. The next best big-play threat is wide receiver Tyree Barnes. He's big, fast, and isn't afraid to catch a ball in traffic. He has two touchdown receptions in the last two weeks, and had a 100-yard game at Duke. Obviously, that's a big deal for a receiver in an offense that rarely throws more than 10-12 times per game.
TBD: Navy has no favorable matchups against Wake Forest. I'm not just blowing smoke, either. Wake is talented and experienced at every position. Now, that doesn't mean that Navy can't hold their own in this game. But if you're looking for a particular weakness that the Mids will be able to exploit... There isn't one.
5. Do you have any predictions for Saturday's games - score or otherwise?Last week, Rutgers had a lot of success when they spread their formations and ran the ball. That's exactly what has been Wake's bread and butter for years. You know that Jim Grobe wants to get the running game back on track, and I suspect that's what he'll try to do. Unless there's been some kind of epiphany for the Navy defense, it'll probably work.
TBD: I cheesed out on making a prediction last year, and I'm going to cheese out on making a prediction this year too. I do think that this year's game will be a lower-scoring affair, thanks in part to the new clock rules and better defenses on both sides. Navy was able to go toe-to-toe with the Deacs last year (offensively, anyway) when Kaipo was healthy. When he left, the offense just wasn't able to keep pace. Navy's best hope is to limit the number of posessions in the game by forcing Wake to make long drives, and hopefully be within striking distance at the end of the game.His point about the new clock rules is interesting and one I had not considered. With such a run oriented offense I imagine the new rules really do shorten Navy's games. I'm interested to see what impact that could have on the game.
Everyone knows the offensive performance against Florida State wasn't exactly the best we've seen from this offense, and in some ways it may have been one of the worst, so let's take an in-depth look and see what we've really got here.
If you missed the "Replay Booth" post from the Ole Miss game, or forgot some of the metrics used, refer to that post for an explanation of what everything means. Feel free to leave questions as well.
If you're reading this from the homepage, you'll find the rest of the post below the jump. It's really long and would make the front page huge, so click below to see the play-by-play and analysis. If you came straight to this post, ignore what I just said and keep reading.
Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W19 1 10 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass Slant Brinkman 0 Incomplete pass thrown into traffic. Skinner probably shouldn't have tried to make that throw, although there may have been uncalled interference (BR, 1). W19 2 10 I Form 4-3 Run Blast Adams -2 Defensive tackle comes untouched into the backfield. Ben Wooster got schooled (-1). W17 3 12 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Pass Rollout Brinkman 0 Really good protection, particularly good block by Birdsong (+1). Great coverage by FSU makes Riley throw it away (TA, 0) Drive Notes: Punt. 0-0, 14:00 1Q. Clearly never good to start with a 3 and out. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards F45 1 10 Shotgun 5-wide Dime Pass Shallow cross M. Williams 1 Quick timing route and a good pass by Skinner (CA, 3). Williams had an easy 3 yard gain but tried to make more of it and lost a couple, which wasn't very smart. F44 2 9 ? ? Run Blast Adams 5 Wake ran this play quick trying to get an advantage on FSU, and caught ESPN off guard in the process. We miss the beginning of the play so I don't know exactly what happens, but it looked like a good push from the whole line and a nice run by Adams straight up the middle. F39 3 4 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Run Option Boldin 5 Skinner and Boldin, who came in motion to the backfield, run the option to the right to pick up the first down. I like this play a lot and wish we would see it more often. Well done by all. F34 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Pass Rollout M. Williams 0 FSU brought a couple blitzers here and the line picked it up fairly well as Skinner rolled left and made a tough throw on the run. It would have taken a pretty incredible catch by Y'lou, but I don't think Skinner had any other options (IN, 3). F34 2 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Off-tackle Adams 0 The center Bailey is pulling on this run to the right but there wasn't any push and nowhere for Adams to go. (-1 for Bailey and Griffin) F34 3 10 Shotgun 5-wide 3-3 Pass Slant M. Williams 3 Skinner gets rid of this ball over the middle to Williams in a hurry, catchable but not perfect (CA, 2). A blitz was coming and Nenon picked it up nicely, but Birdsong didn't do so well on the end (+1, -1) Drive Notes: Field Goal, 3-0, 11:30 1Q. The first three plays were nice, but things stalled again. Skinner looks a little ""off"" already. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards F27 1 10 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass WR screen Brinkman 8 Easy screen to Brinkman on the right (CA, 3). Birdsong misses his block badly again (-1) but Bailey has a nice block out in front of the play (+1). F19 2 2 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Counter Adams 6 Good looking counter to the right. Rinfrette makes an excellent cut block to lead the way (+1). F13 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Dive Adams 1 Dive straight up the middle - looked like Wooster tried to block the wrong guy and the one he missed made the tackle (-1). F12 2 9 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Draw Adams -3 A draw play where everyone picked up their block except for fullback Belton (-1). F15 3 12 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Penalty Holding Griffin -10 This would have been the only touchdown of the game with a nice connection from Skinner to M. Williams, but for a holding penalty in the backfield by Griffin (-1). Wasn't a really bad hold, but they'll still catch you sometimes. F25 3 22 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Off-tackle Adams 16 Good run play to the right picking up a chunk of yards. Nice blocks by both Bailey (who was pulling) and Belton (+1 each). Drive Notes: Missed field goal, 3-0, 8:00. Swank doesn't miss many 27 yard field goals, and it was a bad sign of things to come. It's definitely frustrating to start a drive on your opponents 27 and come up with nothing. Two turnovers, two drives starting on the opponents half of the field, and only 3 points to show for it. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W27 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Penalty Holding Nenon -10 I believe this penalty was called on Nenon (hard to hear - they were talking about Brett Farve over the top of the referee. -1). Was an option draw up the middle by Skinner. W17 1 20 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Pass Post Wooster 0 Trying to hit Wooster across the middle but he was well covered. Pretty good protection, but not a great pass (IN, 1) W17 2 20 Ace tight 4-3 Run End around Boldin 6 Boldin gets the ball on an end around to the left, but 6 yards on 2 and 20 isn't going to cut it. I'd like the play in other situations, though. W23 3 14 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Fly M. Williams 52 This was probably the best deep ball Skinner's thrown all season, and Williams almost dropped it but managed to hang on (DO, 3). Protection was good as well. Great 3rd down conversion F25 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run ? Pendergrass -9 FSU D-end jumps the snap count perfectly and Nenon never even had a chance to make the block. Just a great defensive play, although some snap cout variation would probably help. F34 2 19 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Off-tackle Pendergrass 1 The backside lineback comes all the way across to make this play off tackle to the right. Bailey was pulling and probably should have blocked that linebacker instead of the corner he ended up blocking (-1). F33 3 18 Shotgun 2RB Nickel Pass Sack Skinner -10 Another missed block by Birdsong leads to this sack (-1, PR). Not a good start to the night for him, and it knocks Wake out of field goal range. Drive Notes: Punt, 3-0, 3:00 1Q. A very promising drive goes downhill in a hurry towards the end with some great defensive play by FSU Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W45 1 10 Shotgun tight 4-3 Pass Shallow cross Brown 20 Beautiful play here as Skinner dumps the ball of to Y'lou coming shallow across the middle (CA, 3). Wake's WRs had run of the man coverage and there was plenty of open space for Y'lou to run. F35 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 4-3 Penalty False Start Griffin -5 Flinches a bit early (-1). F40 1 15 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Draw Pendergrass -2 This play was a perfect example of a running back taking too long in the backfield. The blocks were all there but Pendergrass doesn't hit the hole and gets tackled in the backfield by a saftey. That shouldn't happen. F41 2 17 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass Fumble Skinner -7 FSU brought 6 and Wake only had 5 to block with, so there wasn't much they could do. Skinner just needed to get rid of the ball faster (PR). Drive Notes: Fumble, 3-0, 13:00 2Q. In 5 drives Wake has been on FSU's side of the field 4 times, and only come up with 3 points. Ugh. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W34 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Curl Wooster 11 Great catch by Wooster in traffic on a ball that was a bit high (CA, 2). The line held their blocks very well, particularly Birdsong (+1). Nice first down. W45 1 10 ? ? Pass Flare Harris 11 Nice catch by Harris on a low throw moving to the right (CA, 2). Bob Davie and Mark Jones were telling some stupid food story in the booth and we missed the beginning of the play so I have no idea what formations were run, sorry. F44 1 10 Unbalanced right 4-3 Pass Flare Adams 15 Really weird formation here, with an extra guy to the right - only time I've seen this formation all season. Well designed dump off to Adams (CA, 3) for a big gain to the left. F29 1 10 I Form 4-3 Run Blast Adams 5 This probably seems funny, but this may have been one of the most technically sound running plays the Deacs have run all year. A simple blast play to the right with Nenon pulling from LG. Nenon pancakes his guy (+1), Rinfrette pancakes another with a lead block as the fullback (+1) and everyone else picks up there blocks, too. Perfect. F24 2 5 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Off-tackle Adams 5 Another nice running play, Adams makes a nice cut up field off of good kick out blocks by Bailey and Griffin (+1 each) F19 1 10 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass Screen Boldin 2 Screen play to the left may have worked had Adams not missed his first block (CA, 3). I don't keep blocking stats for him, or else he'd get a -1. Interesting to note that this is Boldin's first catch of the game. He'd had two running plays, but no catches, and we only have 5 minutes left in the half. F17 2 8 ? ? Run ? Adams 0 ESPN was busy showing us the replay of the previous down and didn't bother to show anything but the tackle on this play. Who knows what happened. F17 3 8 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass Slant Wooster 6 Every time Wake goes to 5 wide FSU brings 2 blitzers to outnumber the offensive linemen and get automatic pressure. This means that anything other than a quick pass won't work (as indicated by the fumble on the previous drive). Skinner gets of a pass a little behind Wooster over the middle (IN, 2) but it isn't enough to get the first down. F11 4 2 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass Quick out Wooster 0 FSU brings the pressure on 5 wide again and gets their hands up to bat down the pass (PR, 0). Even before the play I said I would have rather put the 3 on the board than go for that one. Oh well. Drive Notes: Turnover on downs, 3-0, 4:00 2Q. The frustration mounts…it's pretty inexcusible for Wake to only have 3 points on the board this late in the half. I still don't agree with going for it on 4th Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards F17 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Off-tackle Adams 4 Good little run by Adams here to the left. Good blocks by several guys, including McMillin, Bailey, and Looney (+1s) F13 2 6 Shotgun 5-wide Nickel Pass Scramble Skinner 11 Skinner makes an excellent choice to scramble here (and gets a nice block from Birdsong +1) but makes a terrible decision not to switch the ball to his outside arm. It was a great effort and I don't fault him for trying to get to the endzone, but you’ve got to have the ball properly protected. Drive Notes: Fumble, 3-0, 0:30 2Q. Missed opportunity after missed opportunity. Pretty abysmal. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W24 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Pass Flare Rinfrette 12 Rinfrette motions into the backfield and then flares out to the right for a big gain (CA, 3). Ball gets out quick so no blocking worries, and this play worked well all night. W36 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Run Draw Adams 14 Line opens up a great hole on this draw play up the middle. Particularly good blocks by McMillin, Bailey, and a pulling Nenon (+1). That's what a running play is supposed to look like. W50 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Out Brinkman 8 A timing route here and Skinner makes a really nice throw to Brinkman along the right sideline (DO, 3). F42 2 2 Ace tight 4-3 Penalty 12 men FSU 5 Wake rushed to the line after the previous play and FSU wasn't ready for it. Couldn't get the 12th man off the field and Wake gets a free five yards. I like the heads up nature of this. F37 1 10 I tight 4-3 Run Fumble Skinner 0 Hard to tell whether it was Bailey's fault or Riley's here, although it seems Bailey may have been trying to get out of his stance too quickly, either way I'm pretty sure Wake has now fumbled a snap in each game, which is a very easy way to waste opportunities. F37 2 10 I tight 4-3 Pass Play action Parker 11 This may have been the play that was meant to be run on first down, and off the play action Adams made a very nice cut block. Skinner's pass was great and Parker ran a good route over the middle (CA, 3). F15 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Counter Adams 3 This play was slow developing around the right side, and would have been a loss were it not for a good block from Rinfrette who had come in motion (+1). F12 2 7 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Pass Flag Wooster 0 Almost a touchdown here, but Skinner's pass had just a little bit too much on it. Would have taken a miraculous diving catch from Wooster (IN, 1). F12 3 7 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Drag Boldin 0 This was not a smart pass by Skinner, who was facing a bit of pressure but shouldn't have made the throw he did - easily could have been intercepted (BR, 0). Protection wasn't great either, although the pressure came because Adams was left to block 2 defenders and that just wasn't going to happen. He did a fairly good job slowing both of them down, actually. Drive Notes: Field Goal, 6-0, 10:00 3Q. All things considered a pretty good drive, but it once again would have been nice to capitalize with a touchdown. Still, the best drive of the night so far. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W16 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Counter Adams 3 Not a bad run play, but I feel like Adams should have hit the hole quicker instead of trying to break it outside a little bit more. Birdsong probably should have made another block on a linebacker, but it wasn't too egregious. W19 2 7 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Pass Drag Parker 31+15 Skinner did a great job stepping up in a somewhat collapsing pocket and dumping the ball off to Parker for another big gain (CA, 3). F33 1 10 Shotgun 4-wide 4-3 Pass Flare Adams 0 There appeared to be some miscommunication between Adams and Skinner here, because Adams definitely wasn't expecting a pass. I don't think Skinner should have made the pass, he had plenty of time and Adams wasn't open (BR, 1). F33 2 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Cross Boldin 2 FSU brought both linebackers on a blitz, and Skinner realized it and dumped it off to Boldin for a few yards. About all he could have done with it (CA, 3). F31 3 8 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Rollout M. Williams 0 A designed rollout to the right gives Skinner plenty of time, but his throw wasn't accurate (IN, 1). I think Williams was open, so a better throw could have been a big gain. Drive Notes: Field Goal, 9-3, 4:30 3Q. Good to answer FSU's field goal, and not a terrible drive. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W35 1 10 Shotgun tight 4-3 Pass Reverse Pass Boldin/Brinkman 0 Lobo reaches into his bag of tricks for this WR pass. It set up fairly well but Boldin's throw wasn't on target. I suppose that's forgiveable (IN, 0). W35 2 10 Shotgun tight 4-3 Run Option Skinner 0 Back to the WR motion option, which is usually a play I like. FSU stayed home and had an extra defender in the area, which basically meant there was no read that would have been successful. Good defense. W35 3 10 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Penalty Facemask FSU +15 Pocket protection broke down on this play thanks to McMilling and Griffin (-1). Got lucky with a facemask call which probably should have been a no-call. We'll take it. W50 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Penalty Offsides FSU +5 FSU finally got caught trying to jump the snap for a 5 yard penalty F45 1 5 Ace tight 4-3 Pass Play Action Wooster 0 Really bad pass by Skinner here - I think Wooster was open but the pass was about 5 yards behind him (IN, 0). Nice blitz pickup by Pendergrass. F45 2 5 I Form 4-3 Penalty PI FSU +15 Another play action play here - FSU called for grabbing the jersey of Boldin - no stats. F30 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run Dive Pendergrass -4 Run up the middle gets broken up by a well timed FSU blitz. Bailey wasn't able to pick it up fast enough and the play broke down (-1) F34 2 14 I 3-wide 4-3 Run End around Boldin 0 FSU stayed home and Boldin had no where to go as he got the handoff around to the left. Pretty terrible effort on a cut block by Harris from FB (-1). F34 3 14 Shotgun tight 4-3 Pass Scramble Skinner 3 Birdsong got absolutely schooled outside on the left and Skinner should have been sacked (-1). Skinner did well to escape and get a few yards. Drive Notes: Missed Field goal, 9-3, 15:00 4Q. Missed field goal number two, and at this point in the game it was a scary thing to be missing these field goals. Not good. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W38 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Penalty Holding Bailey -10 Replay makes it look like this holding call on Bailey was a pretty terrible call. By the time he did anything that looked remotely illegal Pendergrass was already 15 yards up field. Would have been a 30 yard gain and a great draw play up the middle. W28 1 20 Shotgun 4-wide Nickel Pass Flare Pendergrass 2 Eh. Nothing to say about this one. W30 2 18 Ace tight 4-3 Pass Play action Brinkman "0, -5" Double play action, first to Adams up the middle then to Boldin on the end around. It was effective and Brinkman was wide open down field, but Skinner once again failed to make an accurate throw (IN, 0). Brinkman gets the bonehead award to subsequently kicking the ball through the endzone, costing Wake 15 yards. W25 3 33 I Form 4-3 Run Dive Adams 9 It wasn't likely Wake would pick up a first down, so I like the idea of picking up a chunk on the ground and getting field position. Nice run. Drive Notes: Punt, 9-3, 10:00 4Q Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards W37 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Run ? Adams 0 Can I give the whole o line a minus on this one? I don't think anyone made a good block - there were 5 FSU guys in the backfield around the ball. I'm not even sure how Adams got back to the line of scrimmage. I'm doing it. Minus 1 for all. W37 2 10 I Form 4-3 Pass Play action Harris 6 Nice play action play to Harris flaring out of the backfield (CA, 3). W43 3 4 Ace 3-wide Nickel Run Dive Adams 1 Tough play call here - I'm surprised it was a running play. There wasn't really any penetration, but there was no push and no hole. Tough. Drive Notes: Punt, 9-3, 4:30 4Q Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards F22 1 10 I Form 4-4 Run Dive Adams 2 Hard to get any yards no matter what you do when the opponent has nine guys in the box. Seriously. 9 defenders between the tackles and within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. I guess that's what happens when you have the lead late and will obviously run, but dang. F21 2 9 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Pass Scramble Skinner 5 Skinner did well not to try and force a pass here. Slid to stay safe and stay in bounds. Good. F15 3 3 Ace 3-wide 4-3 Pass Out Boldin 0 Skinner's pass once again pretty much uncatchable (IN, 1). Good protection. Drive Notes: Missed field goal, 9-3, 2:45 4Q. Pretty low point in the game right here. Chance to seal it dissapears wide left. Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards F11 1 10 Ace 3-wide 4-4 Run Counter Pendergrass -3 Again FSU brought nine guys. Can't block 'em all, although a better block from Belton might have gotten them back to the line of scrimmage (-1). After this play FSU calls a timeout and as ESPN sends it back to the studio for an update, Bob Davie calls it ""an incredulous night."" I'm not an English major, so correct me if I'm wrong, however I'm pretty sure a night can't be incredulous. You can be incredulous about the night, but I don't think the night itself can be ""incredulous."" Apologies for the digression, I just couldn't help it. F14 2 13 I Form 4-3 Run Counter Pendergrass -1 Counter play gets blown up when Belton doesn't hold his block (-1). F15 3 14 I Form 4-4 Run Dive Pendergrass 0 Rinfrette misses the block from FB this time (-1). Bring on Swank. Drive Notes: Field Goal, 12-3, 2:00 4Q. I was very confident Swank wouldn't missa nother one, and I'm glad I was. Good kick, way to seal the game. It was interesting! Ln Dn Ds O Form DForm Type Play Player Yards F22 1 10 Victory - Kneel Kneel Kneel -2 - F24 2 12 Victory - Kneel Kneel Kneel -1 - F25 3 13 Victory - Kneel Kneel Kneel -1 - Drive Notes: End of game, 12-3 Final.
So first of all, it was enough for the win. Considering the magnitude of the game, I don't think any of us are going to complain about the play in a game against FSU as long as we win. Nonetheless, it's worth noting just how much the team struggled.
Take a look at Wake's starting drive positions and the results of those drives:
Drive Start Drive Result Wake 19 Punt FSU 45 Field Goal FSU 27 Missed FG Wake 27 Punt Wake 45 Fumble Wake 34 Turnover on Downs FSU 17 Fumble Wake 24 Field Goal Wake 16 Field Goal Wake 35 Missed FG Wake 38 Punt Wake 37 Punt FSU 22 Missed FG FSU 11 Field Goal FSU 22 Final Avg. Start Avg. Points Wake 49 0.8
Wake basically started on the 50 all night long, and yet they didn't even score 1 point per drive. Five times the Deacs were inside FSU's 30 to start a drive. They started in field goal position!!! And what came of those five drives? One field goal. That's it. One field goal. As an offense, I really don't believe it can get much worse than that.
How about Skinner? Not his best outing either:
QB DO CA IN BR TA BA PR Skinner 2 12 7 3 1 1 2 2 game total 4 41 14 4 4 1 4
I'll update this with Baylor stats eventually, too, but compared to last game Skinner didn't have nearly as good a game. He threw as many poor passes in this game as he did against Ole Miss, while throwing a lot less passes. He was relatively close to really only throwing about 50% good throws. Rough.
The receivers didn't have as much to work with, so I can't really complain about their numbers, but here they are (0's are uncatchable, 3's are easy catches, things in between, are, well, in between):
Player 0 1 2 3 Adams - 0/1 - 1/1 Boldin 1 0/1 - 2/2 Brinkman 3 0/1 - 2/2 Brown - - - 1/1 Harris - 1/1 1/1 Parker - - - 1/1 Rinfrette - - - 1/1 M. Williams - 0/1 1/1 2/2 Wooster 2 0/2 2/2 -
Not a lot to say about that.
Offensive line? Actually made some decent plays tonight, albeit not too many good opportunities. When FSU started stacking the box like crazy in the fourth quarter there wasn't much they could do. A couple of penalties really hurt the running game as well. It's hard to say definitively that they're making progress, but my subjective opinion is that they are. I think they'll have a productive week against Navy.
Player + - T Birdsong 2 3 -1 Nenon 3 2 1 Bailey 2 4 -2 McMillin 2 2 0 Griffin 1 4 -3 Wooster - 2 -2 Rinfrette 3 1 2 Belton 1 3 -2 Looney 1 - 1 Harris - 1 -1
And that's that for the offense. Clearly, a sub par performance, and I think the most siginficant thing to take away is the team's complete inability to put points on the board, particularly considering the field position they were given. I grant that FSU played a good defensive game, and I'm not saying Wake should have hung 40 on them, but nonetheless I think more could have easily been accomplished. Fewer penalties, better passes, and turnover avoidance all would have made a huge difference.
Oh, and making fied goals. That helps too.
Still, Swank did well enough to get the job done, so I won't give him too hard a time.
You know the saying "doing more with less?" I've said to several people this week that I don't think Wake could have done less with more. I think the analysis bears that out. Hopefully we're in for a better week this time around.
This week's BlogPoll came out this morning and Wake moves up three spots to #14. Seems pretty fair, and I like this week's poll as a whole. You can see the whole thing here.
For the first time (when I've submitted a ballot, anyway) I don't even appear in the C-K Award for ranking your team significantly higher than everyone else. Seems like people are finally realizing what I'd like to think I knew all along.
The only other ranked ACC team is Clemson at 23, but I'm kind of hopeful that they'll lose that honor in a couple weeks.
I know I said this morning that I thought I'd have the offense Replay Booth up now, but getting things formated for posting are causing me a few issues. It'll have to wait until after classes this afternoon.
Like the title? I though it was pretty creative.
Actually that's a lie. I couldn't come up with anything else so I went boring. And then wrote seven sentances making fun of myself for doing so. That way I could put more "content" in this post with very little effort. Does that count for creativity?
The only changes I made to my blogpoll Ballot this week are already reflected in Monday's post, so I won't post it again, but that's my final ballot. I'll link to this week's poll once it's up.
How does the team prepare for Navy's option? By utilizing small, quick, and completely unknown walk-on freshman. Interesting stuff.
Wake, Vandy, and Northwestern are all getting more respect. Wouldn't it be crazy if Vandy kept winning games and the Wake/Vandy game actually ended up being a pretty big game?
Tomahawk Nation breaks down the Semionles' loss to Wake. I'm finishing up my offensive review this morning and will have it up by lunch time.
Wake produces lots of turnovers. No kidding.
Obviously the polls came out on Sunday (Wake at #16 in the AP, #15 in the Coaches) but Raleigh's J.P. Giglio, an AP voter, posted yesterday about Wake's big jump in his ballot. He was pretty bearish on the Deacs early on, so it's nice to see him give respect where it's due.
ESPNU's video review of Wake/FSU
After being an idiot and totally forgetting to submit a ballot last week, I'm hoping to come back strong. I took what I think is a pretty serious, if somewhat cursory, resume approach to this ballot, as every single team on the ballot is undefeated at this point. At the same time, things like having USC ranked #2 indicate that it's not entirely resume, although the impressive win over Ohio State may actually be justification enough on its own.
I think that's enough of an introduction, so let's get to it:
Small Forward Ari Stewart commits to play basketball for the Demon Deacons. A great pickup - I'll have more on this later.
Dan Collins with more post game coverage, today on the defense.
Great article about how complimentary Bobby Bowden is of Jim Grobe, and rightfully so.
Preliminary blogpoll ballot will be up later this morning, and I'm already through the first half of the "Replay Booth" for the offense against FSU. That'll be done either this evening or Tuesday at the latest.
Last night the Wake Forest defense put on the best performance I've seen in the last three years, while the offense and Sam Swank did just enough to ensure the 12-3 victory.
Although we'll spend plenty of time analyzing everyone's play and why things ended up the way they did, those things are not all that important right now. We could even make a big deal about how some blogger predicted Wake would win in a shootout 41-37, but that doesn't seem very important right now either. . .
What does matter is that the Demon Deacons are 3-0 overall, 1-0 in the ACC, and just defeated one of the stronger opponents in the division. FSU's offense was terrible last night, but their defense kept them in the game and put them in position to possibly escape with a win. There is plenty of tallent on that team and they will definitely be competitive in the conference. This is a really good early season conference win for the Deacs.
The win further establishes Wake in the driver's seat of the division. The Clemson game still looms large in the future, but one of the three biggest hurdles has been passed (I consider Clemson and at Miami to be the other two big hurdles). There was plenty of excitement leading up to this game, and I think it caused all Wake fans to become a bit anxious. Now we can all exhale.
After the Ole Miss game I was not very complimentary of the Demon Deacon defense. I was crititcal of the secondary for some missed assignments, soft coverage, and just about anything else I could give them a hard time for. Before this game I said several times that I was worried about Wake's defense, particularly the secondary. It was those concerns that led me to predict such a high scoring game.
They definitely shut me up last night. They put on one of the most stifiling defensive performances I've seen. They caused turnovers on two of FSU's first three offensive plays - not possessions, but plays. That's unheard of! When all the dust settled Wake had caused seven turnovers, including two forced fumbles (Ghee and Patterson) and five interceptions (two from Patterson, one from Curry, Smith, and Vaughn). Kevin Patterson was responsible for three turnovers all on his own. Incredible!
The turnovers are the statistic that jumps out at everyone, but even when they weren't forcing turnovers the defense were making big plays. In total they held FSU to 220 yards of offense, came up with two sacks (but were in the backfield causing problems on nearly every play), and swarmed the ball very well. The only thing I noticed during the game that could have been better was open field tackling, but at this point I couldn't really care less.
Things weren't quite as perfect on the offensive side of the ball, but the performance was good enough to get the job done. The endzone was elusive, but scoring position was not. The most glaring mistake was Riley Skinner's fumble at the two yard line, which could have been prevented pretty easily if Skinner carries the ball in his outside hand. It wasn't his best passing night ever, but 17-30 for 217 yards isn't anywhere close to being bad. The deep ball to Marshall Williams in the first half was one of the most perfect throws he's made all season.
The running game continued it's struggles, although I think film review may indicate that things are starting to improve. FSU's defense played a good game themselves and deserve a lot of credit for keeping the Seminoles in the game. The offense's sloppiness manifested itself in the form of penalties; there were many more last night than there have been in the prior two games. Wake was just lucky that FSU was even sloppier in that department.
Sam Swank definitely didn't have the best night of his career, but he still hit four field goals - and only would have needed two to win the game. When he came out to kick the final field goal to seal the victory I said that there was no way he would miss that one and that I had complete confidence in him. That's the incredible thing about Swank - even when he's not at his best, he seems to be able to completely block out whatever has happened before and focus solely on the kick he's about to make. It would have been nice to get 21 points out of him last night, but 12 were more than enough.
Finally, let's take a look at the three questions I asked in Friday's preview:
1. Will Florida State be prepared to play a game of this magnitude?
It doesn't seem that they were. Their domination of FCS schools didn't translate to last night's game, and their offense didn't seem the least bit prepared for the speed and pursuit of the Deacs. Their defense did a fine job, but the whole package wasn't there. Having their kicker, Gano, back from injury for his first game probably wasn't the best situation for them either. If he had made that first field goal we may have been looking at a very different game.
2. Will Wake get to Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson?
The defense did an excelent job putting pressure on the FSU's quarterbacks. They never had very much time to make throws and were forced to scramble on many occasions. FSU's offensive line was overmatched and didn't help out their quarterbacks at all. I was actually very impressed by Ponder's speed, but ultimately it wans't enough to avoid the Demon Deacon pursuit. The defensive line did an excellent job and deserves a lot of credit in this defensive performance.
3. Can the offensive line and running backs build on their second half success in the Ole Miss game?
Eh. . . not really I guess. This performance wasn't any worse than any other, and on review I think it may actually prove to have been a little bit better. Nonetheless, it wasn't "good" and still has a long way to go. Maybe I need to quit asking this question every week and then things will get better. Who knows at this point.
Umm. . . yea. . . 41-37. . . high scoring shootout. . .I don't think Vegas will be hiring me any time soon.
So that's that. A big win for the Deacs and an excellent defensive performance. I'll hole up in the "Replay Booth" over the next copule days so we can get a full breakdown of things. 3-0 for the second time in three years looks pretty good to me. Let's keep things rolling!
A huge win for the Deacs last night, even if it wasn't pretty. I'll have my full analysis up in a few hours, but for now let's take a look at what the papers are saying:
Dan Collins for the W-SJ, Edward Robinson in Raleigh, Corey Clark from the Tallahassee Democrat, Matt Zemek at Scout.com, and others which I will add as a find them.
Ish Smith broke his foot and needs surgery. He'll be out six weeks.
My game recap is coming late this morning.
Tonight's live blog will start about 6:45. Come join us for some good conversation during the game. Remember, this isn't exactly the same as a chat room. If there are some of you who are clearly going to be around for the game and be a regular participant I'll put you on the list of approved commenters who do not need approval, but I can only have 10 of those. Other than that, I'm going to have to approve all comments, and if several people say the same thing at once I'll probably pick the one who says it best. I want participation from everyone, but I also don't want things getting out of control. Now let's get a win!
As much as I enjoyed the week off, the anticipation of seeing the Deacs on the field again tonight has me very excited. When you're watching the game, grab that laptop and join me for tonight's live blog. Should be a great time to enjoy the game and talk about it with other fans. With the 7:00 kickoff, I'll try to get things up and running about 6:45.
Here's a quick look at what the bloggers are saying about this game:
If you missed it, yesterday I predicted a 41-37 victory.
Chant Rant says Jimbo Fisher is the one with something to prove in this game.
Tomahawk Nation has an incredibly extensive preview of the game, ultimately concluding FSU will win 28-23.
In MSM-land, Dan Collins has a final look at the game, and it seems coach and the team are a little bit anxious. Journal columnist Lenox Rawlings blasts FSU for their weak schedule, Vegas for the spread, and the AP voters for buying into all of it. Impressive stuff.
I realize that a win would be an upset if you asked Vegas, but I'd expect a little bit more respect from Caulton Tudor. His article is very complimentary of the Deacs, but he acts as if a win tonight would be a big surprise.
"Seminoles set to conquer Wake Forest" - a pretty bold headline if you ask me.
There are a few other articles from Florida papers, but they don't say anything we haven't already read several times this week.
Two years ago a Demon Deacon team on the way to winning an ACC championship went down to Tallahassee and defeated Florida State 30-0. A year later, on a Thursday night in Winston-Salem, the Deacs proved it wasn't a joke, this time winning 27-24. Can the Demon Deacons make it three in a row?
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008
Time: 7:00 p.m. EDT
Location: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Broadcast: ESPN2, ESPN360, ISP Radio Network
Florida State obviously has the advantage of playing this game at home, but other factors may help nullify some of that advantage. Although Preston Parker is back this week, several significant suspensions still remain on the defensive side of the ball for Florida State. Furthermore, Wake is coming of a bye week which provided plenty of time to get healthy and prepare for this game.
Florida State basically started the season with two exhibition games, playing Western Carolina and Tennessee-Chattanooga, meaning they're still fresh and healthy at this point, but they also haven't really been tested. The Ole Miss game was a challenging, physical outing for the Demon Deacons, and I think that experience will serve them well down in Tallahassee.
When I first looked at this game back in July I wasn't so convinced that the bye week would be a good thing, but I'm definitely singing a different tune now. Considering the magnitude of this game, as well as the opportunity it provided to get healthy, I think the bye week worked out very well.
Here are this week's pressing questions:
1. Will Florida State be prepared to play a game of this magnitude
I really think the fact that Wake has played two games againts FBS opponenents while FSU has played none is a big deal. The begining of the season is always a difficult time for teams because of the lack of real game experience. I realize the Noles have played a couple of games, but neither will rival the level of competition they'll face against Wake. I think we'll see FSU come out a little bit slowly, maybe make a few dumb mistakes and allow Wake to grab an early advantage. If this happens I feel very good about Wake's chances.
2. Will Wake get to Christian Ponder and D'Vontrey Richardson?
Much like the Demon Deacons, Florida State has a young and inexperienced offensive line. Even against the two FCS foes they allowed a few sacks. If Wake's defensive line can exploit that weakness and get consistent pressure on the quarterback it could reduce some of the load on the secondary. Since the secondary has given me some cause for concern so far this year I wouldn't mind that at all. Of course, FSU's quarterbacks also have the ability to run the ball themselves, and Wake will have to watch out for that as well if they want to be successful.
3. Can the offensive line and running backs build on their second half success in the Ole Miss game?
The third quarter drive against Ole Miss that saw Brandon Pendergrass break of back-to-back big runs was a huge step for the running game. The question is, was it a fluke or can the performance be repeated? I'm hopeful, but not confident, that it can be done. Florida State has a very talented defensive front that can definitely make things difficult, so the running game will really have to be on top of things to be successful.
I think I may be in the minority here, but I see this game as a high scoring affair. Both offenses are potent, and with what we've seen from the defenses so far, they could easily give up a bunch of points. I think there will be several lead changes, but ultimately Wake will come out on top, 41-37. With this prediciton I expect the same number of scoring drives from each team, but I trust that Riley Skinner will lead the Deacs to one more touchdown than FSU comes up with. It may end up being one of the most exciting ACC games of the season.
I'll be running a live blog here during the game, and trial runs have indicated that it should be a whole lot of fun. If you've got internet access while watching the game (or can't see the game for whatever reason) then plan on hanging out here to talk about it with other Wake fans. I'm looking forward to it!
Any other questions you're looking to see answered? Have a different prediction for the game? Leave a comment!
I'm not sure what happened here. I wrote this late last night and somehow it didn't get posted this morning. My sincere apologies, and the game preview will be up soon.
I got a question two days ago from a Will:
Where has Jordan Williams been this season? I know he was injured in the pre-season, but he isn't listed on this week's injury report and considering he was good enough to play as a true frosh I'm a little concerned when he's not on the field (huge deep ball threat). Do you know what the deal is? Is he injured, and if so, will he red-shirt?First of all, sorry for taking so long to answer you question. As for the status of Jordan Williams, he has sat out the first two games with what I'm pretty sure is an ankle injury. I believe he was listed as "questionable" for the first two games, but obviously never saw the field. Since he isn't on this week's injury report at all, and given the fact that the team is coming of the extra week to get healthy, I have a feeling we'll see him down in Tallahassee. I don't think he's going to be getting a redshirt this time around.
For this week's installment I had the pleasure of exchanging questions with Jerry Scott from Nole Spear It (clever, eh?). His answers to my questions appear below, and my answers to his questions are here on Nole Spear It.
1. Florida State has put up some big numbers the last two weeks and looked good all around, but both games came against opponents who didn't have much chance to put up a fight. What can you take away from the first two games that will apply to this Saturday's game against Wake Forest?
Jerry Scott: The biggest thing Florida State can take away from those two tune-ups and apply toward the Wake Forest match-up is confidence. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the team has their ‘swagger’ back, but the offense is obviously gelling and the defense has let up 7 points in two games, I think that works wonders for a team that has lacked confidence and a true belief that they can get it done. FSU has played an enormous amount of freshman (as many as 30) the first two weeks and I think the lesser talented competition allowed FSU to really get those players acclimated and in sync with what the coaches want/expect from them out on the football field.2. Do you like the two quarterback system? What are its benefits? Are there any significant downsides?
Of course the downside to playing lesser talents in Western Carolina and Tennessee-Chattanooga is that you truly don’t know how those performances will translate against serious competition, like your Demon Deacons.
JS: I’m really not a proponent of a two-quarterback system and I don’t know that Jimbo Fisher truly wants to go that route. When I think of great Quarterback play, it’s an individual that pops into my mind, never a QB tandem and I think there’s a reason for that. Generally if you’re using a two-quarterback system you’re admitting you don’t have one capable QB, thus you rely on two to get the job done, I don’t think history is on your side in that situation.3. What effect, if any, do you think the remaining suspensions will have on this weekend's game?
The benefit to having a two-quarterback situation is being able to bring in somewhat of a curveball to the game to give the opposing defense something else to prepare for. Also you’re keeping two Quarterbacks relatively focused on the task at hand, what’s that saying ‘Two heads are better than one’; I think that applies when using a two-quarterback system. One may see something the other didn’t and collectively they can exploit those weaknesses. I think the downside occurs while one of the QB’s is on the field. Is he second guessing his decisions for fear that he will be pulled for the other guy? While on the field you’ve got to trust yourself, have fun, and just play. Thinking too much puts the QB and his team in jeopardy.
JS: We’re definitely going to miss several of our starters on defense; LB Dekoda Watson, DT Paul Griffin, and CB Patrick Robinson. Watson really came on last season and proved to be disruptive on defense. Derek Nicholson, Kendall Smith, and Toddrick Verdell have been fantastic early on and Freshman LB Nigel Bradham (from Wakulla County) has also impressed in the limited action he’s seen. I think we can carry the void Griffin leaves, as his fill in, DT Kendrick Stewart has been an absolute masher on the line. I never thought he would become the hard hitter that he is. The hardest hit from a suspension stand point will probably be felt in the secondary. Tony Carter and Patrick Robinson were as close to lockdown corners as you can come and with Robinson suspended, the Noles will inevitably miss his ability to shadow receivers and disrupt passes. Michael Ray Garvin, Patrick’s back-up, is a senior and he’s seen plenty of playing time in Mickey Andrews’s extensive substitution packages, so I’m confident he can stop the potential bleeding.4. Where do you think Florida State matches up favorably against Wake? What areas concern you?
With that said, we are returning two ‘key’ suspended players for this weekend’s showdown; WR Preston Parker and DT Budd Thacker. WR Preston Parker has been the bread and butter of our offense. He single handedly restored the excitement into Florida State Football last year and he single handedly crushed those hopes by getting arrested for gun charges over the summer. Having talked to the players and coaches they are extremely excited to get Preston back as he provides excitement and a much needed/welcomed comic relief for his teammates on the field. Budd Thacker is one of the vocal leaders on defense and it will good to have his run stopping abilities back on the field.
JS: I would like to think we match-up favorably in the skill player department: WR/PR Preston Parker, WR Corey Surrency, WR Greg Carr, WR/PR Bert Reed . Our receiving unit is so deep this year. I mentioned four players and we still have others that will contribute on Saturday (WR Taiwan Easterling, WR Rod Owens) that have looked outstanding thus far in the season. Again the downside to playing Div-IAA (FCS) schools early on is; are these guys really that good or were they able to exploit the weaker competition? We will certainly find out Saturday when we play one of our toughest opponents of the season at Doak Campbell Stadium.5. It never hurts to ask....What will the final score be on Saturday? How many games will Florida State win this season?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our Quarterback play. Drew Weatherford was a heck of a competitor and brought FSU its first outright ACC Championship in Jacksonville when they upset the Hokies, but the new guys on campus; Christian Ponder and D’Vontrey Richardson are completely different breeds. Using NFL analogies: Weatherford was like a Trent Dilfer, he could hang in the pocket and make the short throws, but if you asked him to move out of the pocket or throw the ball down field, you would receive a mixed bag. Ponder and Richardson can handle the short, intermediate, and deep throws. They can also leave the pocket at will. They don’t have 33 starts under their belts so the decision making isn’t necessarily where you want it, but it’s coming and you can see it which makes it exciting as a fan.
As far as our weaknesses go, I’m a bit concerned about our Pass Defense. The Div-IAA schools didn’t light us up, but they had marginal success, whether that’s due to a lack of focus while looking ahead to your Demon Deacons, I’m not sure, but I hope so. It’s something to definitely keep an eye on. On the flip side, our pass protection concerns me as well. It really has nothing to do with the results thus far as Ponder didn’t get sacked in Week 1 and may have once or twice in Week 2, but the line is so young that it’s hard to know whether they will hold their own against tough competition like Wake Forest.
JS: Saturday will be a true test for this football team and the fan base can’t wait for it. It may not get the National Media’s attention, but this fan base, along with its coaches/players, is dialed in. As far as a score prediction, it’s hard to discount the defenses in this match-up, but I’m going 28-24 Florida State. There’s no way Wake Forest comes to Tallahassee and takes care of business three years in a row. The madness has to stop and I think it will Saturday night.Good work as always from Jerry. Many thanks, and make sure to visit Nole Spear It.
I think the Noles can go 8-4, maybe 9-3. It’s really tough to project the season without them having played a formidable opponent. After Saturday I would have a more definitive answer for you, but at this stage in the game, this is about as deep I can get into it, as there’s still too many unknowns.
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Welcome to Old Gold & Blog, the only Wake Forest sports blog on the web. I'm a current student at Wake Forest and have been covering Demon Deacon athletics since fall 2007. Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to subscribe to the RSS feed, and feel free to shoot me an email if you have any comments or questions.Email Zach
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