During ESPN2's broadcast of Friday night's tilt between Wake Forest and Boston College, it was mentioned that Wake Forest's offensive playbook is written in pencil.
If that is indeed the case, the erasing can begin in earnest.
Tanner Price's two flubbed option pitches in the first half led to two quick Boston College touchdowns en route to a 24-10 dismantling by the Eagles at Alumni Stadium on Friday night. Boston College outgained the Deacons 314-246, led by Eagle running back Andre Williams' 202 rushing yards. The Deacons only managed 55 yards rushing while gaining 191 through the air.
After managing a paltry 18.5 points a game in 2012, it was imperative that the Deacons do something- anything to establish a running game to free up Price and his star flanker, Michael Campanaro. In April, coach Jim Grobe announced that the Deacons would be returning to the option attack run used during the Ben Mauk era at Wake Forest. For the past few months, most of the talk and excitement surrounding the 2013 Deacs was about the "new" offense.
After a less-than-stellar debut in a 31-7 victory over Presbyterian last week, fans in attendance were left to question if this new offense could actually work against the bigger, stronger opponents awaiting Wake Forest down the road. After Friday night's woeful display in Chestnut Hill, the answer right now is a horrifying, resounding, "No."
Certainly, turnovers tell a good portion of the story. The aforementioned Price fumbles dug the Deacons an early hole, and a bad interception on a ball thrown way behind Campanaro ended an early drive that was showing signs of progress. However, when the coaches perform their post mortem on this game the most glaring statistic should be this one: 1.4 yards per rush.
"I think part of our problem right now is we're trying to do some different things and we're just not real good at it right now," Grobe said. "We just have to do better jobs as coaches teaching and making sure that the things we've got installed are things that our guys are capable of executing."
The reality of Wake Forest football is this: when the Deacons don't have a run game, they lose and they lose often.
Eight different Deacons carried the ball on Friday, including four tailbacks. None of them made a measurable dent, if you consider that the Deacs' 55 rushing yards came on 39 total carries. By comparison, Williams' 202 came on 36 carries.
Perhaps no sequence of events illustrates the Deacs' current problems than the final 52 seconds of the first half.
Trailing 17-7, senior Nikita Whitlock came free and blocked a Boston College punt, which was downed at the BC 3. Four plays later, three of them Josh Harris runs up the middle, it was Boston College's ball. It was as disheartening a sequence as any football fan could ever see.
"When we blocked the punt at the end of the half, we've got to get that in," Grobe said. "We've got to have a better mentality when we're down there - and that's us as coaches - that's not the kids. We've just got to do the things that we need to do down in the red zone, especially short yardage stuff where we can get the yards we need."
Campanaro showed no ill effects from his injured hamstring, finishing with 5 catches for 86 yards and a spectacular diving touchdown for the Deacs' first score. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Williams also played well, gaining 48 yards on 4 catches before going out late in the game after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on the Deacs' final scoring drive.
The Deacons next take on the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at BB&T Field on Saturday, September 14. Kickoff will be at 12:30 and the game will be televised by RSN.
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