Hey, it's another week of football! And we're actually feeling confident about Syracuse's chances again! That's neat, and so is Wake Forest, that school down in Winston-Salem with the gentleman above as a mascot. Unfortunately, this season, the Deacons and Orange seem to be fighting it out near the bottom of the conference. But hey -- it's still early. Perhaps this is the Saturday one of these teams turns it around (by default, it sort of has to be).
Below, Robert Reinhard (who you should follow on Twitter) from SB Nation's great Wake Forest blog, Blogger So Dear, stops by to chat all about Demon Deacons football. On top of his responses here, you can also check out ours over there to tell Wake fans everything they have to know about Syracuse.
Obviously things are a bit rocky for this Wake Forest football team. What would you point to as the biggest issue among many for this squad?
Our offensive line has clearly been the team's biggest issue this season. It's tough to realize how important an offensive line is to a football team until you have a bad one. We start a true freshman at center, a converted center at left guard, and a converted left guard at left tackle. They give freshman quarterback John Wolford very little time in the pocket and are unable to generate any kind of run blocking for our tailbacks.
Wake Forest has had a VERY rough time running the ball in recent seasons. Any one reason for that? Or just a combination of factors like running back talent, offensive system and the O-line?
We don't have an elusive back who can make plays by himself or in the open field. We have also had inconsistent offensive line recruiting. We seemed to fluctuate between recruiting smaller/faster offensive linemen and large 6'6" 300 pound linemen. I also think our previous offensive coordinator was very poor, which certainly did not help things.
How are things going with Dave Clawson at the helm thus far? When are Wake fans expecting positive W-L results?
I think Clawson is doing an outstanding job so far, despite his 2-4 start. He is very charismatic, and did an excellent job finishing out the 2014 recruiting class, which was quite weak before he arrived. Now, although the 2015 class isn't official until signing day, Wake is currently on pace to have its highest rated recruiting class ever. I think Wake fans realize that Clawson and his staff did not inherit much talent and are simply looking for week-to-week improvement this season. Wake fans will definitely want to be more competitive in 2015, and definitely want to be bowling in 2016.
The Deacons' secondary is a very good group, but that fact seems to get constantly muddled by the team's other struggles. What do Wake's defensive backs do well that makes them such a big impact on the game each week?
Our corners, Kevin Johnson and Bud Noel, have combined to start nearly 70 games. They are excellent in man to man coverage and have strong ball skills. Just last week Jimbo Fisher called Kevin Johnson the best senior corner in the southeast. They are tenacious and can also help out in run support. Safety Ryan Janvion is also excellent in run support, and will be essential to stopping Syracuse's rushing attack.
QB John Wolford seems like he's had his moments in 2014; Are you guys fans, or still in wait-and-see mode on the young passer?
I think most Wake fans are fans of Wolford. Ideally you could at least redshirt a quarterback, but I do believe he's our best option. His interception numbers may not reflect it, but I believe he's accurate and shows a lot of poise for a freshman. His biggest downside is his height, as he will have some passes that get batted down at the line of scrimmage. Overall, I think he can be a very productive quarterback for us moving forward.
Any Syracuse player that Wake Forest fans are inherently concerned about going into Saturday's contest?
I think Wake fans are most concerned about Syracuse running back Prince-Tyson Gulley. He is averaging nearly 6 yards/carry and could make our defense very tired as the game goes on. If our offense is unable to sustain drives and give our defense an adequate rest, then Gulley could have an excellent 4th quarter.
Alright, so who wins this thing?
I'll take Wake to win this one 17-13. It could very well be blind homerism, but I think with the extra week to prepare we will come out ready to play and find a way to win this game. This is a huge game for our program, and I think we do just enough offensively to make it happen.
Thanks again for taking the time out for these, Robert! And again, everyone: Be sure to follow Robert on Twitter, and head over to Blogger So Dear for all of the Wake Forest information you could ask for.