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Final Thoughts on the Wake Forest-Florida State Game

Got the chance to watch the Wake-FSU replay tonight. I don't do as good of a breakdown as the guys over at Tomahawk Nation, but here are some of my thoughts after having a chance to know what was coming and watch to see how we are executing.

Hopefully this will benefit at least one person that reads it! This is also replacing my Three Up, Three Down, because I think it's a little more comprehensive and inclusive.

Enjoy! Comments are certainly welcome since I am not a head coach, nor pretend to be a football expert.

Click through for thoughts on the offense, defense, and special teams against Florida State.


  • The growth in Tanner Price from last year to this year is truly remarkable. He doesn't get flustered in the pocket, hardly ever throws a ball that is any danger of being intercepted, and makes the right read on an extremely high percentage of his passing plays. We are truly lucky to have him for the next two and a half years.
  • The offensive line continued to do a great job in pass protection, but did not fare as well in the running game. On a lot of plays in the first half, we tried to run to the outside, but didn't have a lot of success. It seemed like the line was positioned well and looked good in swinging out, but for one reason or another (aside from a couple of good cuts by Harris), the running game couldn't get going. Against a defensive line that is as good as the Deacs will face all year, I was very impressed overall with the line. Michael Hoag struggled at times on the right side, but he had some really good seals on the edge too. Joe Looney continues to anchor the line, and did a formidable job all day on the left side.
  • It is becoming increasingly obvious that if Price can get 3-4 seconds to throw the ball, the opposing team is in trouble. Our receiving corps is one of the best in the conference (and perhaps in the country honestly up to this point), and they do a great job of taking what the defense gives them and turning it into a lot more. 
  • Coach Grobe said something about the blocking of the receivers earlier in the year, but on the bubble screens (particularly Givens long run after the catch to set up our first TD), I thought our blocking was outstanding on the outside. I think it can be better on running plays though, and that is what prohibiting us from getting the longer runs once the RB's get to the 2nd level. I noticed that Andrew Parker did a really good job blocking on a couple of plays.
  • The early reverse runs set up the Campanaro to Davis TD (right after the Givens screen pass), and it took just a split second of over-committing by Greg Reid to spring Davis for the easy score. Jimbo Fisher can say that Reid slipped all he wants, and while that may be true, it was just a misplay by Reid that allowed his man to get by him.
  • I liked Brandon Pendergrass' vision after a couple of catches, and I feel confident in his ability to pick up yards on the ground if Harris can't go on Saturday vs. Virginia Tech. People think he is a bruising back that doesn't have a lot of speed, but keep in mind he has scored on a long TD run before in his career, and the threat is still there.
  • Josh Harris finally made a couple of cuts upfield instead of trying to get to the outside all the time and it paid off big time. 136 yards on 13 carries is nothing to scoff at. Unfortunately, Harris hurt his hamstring on a run after his second big run, and he is questionable at this point for the Virginia Tech game. He did not practice today (Wednesday), or yesterday, and his status is very much up in the air. If he is not able to go, BP will be the go-to guy, and Nick Knott will be 2nd string. This may bring Orville Reynolds into the mix, as he would almost certainly dress. I would imagine that he would be an emergency option only at this point because the staff doesn't want to burn a RS on a guy like Reynolds that can be a threat on special teams and running back.
  • I can't imagine being any happier with our defense right now. We gave up 30 points, but man did we do an outstanding job containing the "superior talent" of FSU throughout the game. Without the 5 turnovers, there is no chance that Deac's win the game, and almost all of them were forced by Wake Forest.
  • Nikita Whitlock and Kyle Wilber arguably each had the best game of their careers on Saturday. Whitlock was in the backfield all day long, deflected a pass that resulted in a Ziggy Allen interception, and had a couple of TFL. Wilber attacked from all angles and positions, and was incredible in overpowering 17-year old Bobby Hart.. This was a situation of our coaches knowing what was coming, FSU coaches knowing what was coming, and us doing it anyway. Wilber dominated the kid, and showed what the difference between a 5th year red-shirted senior, and a wet behind the ears 17 year old kid is. Hart will no doubt be a great player, and has big time potential, but Wilber gave him his "Welcome to the ACC" game.
  • Joey Ehrmann certainly had the breakout game that he and Dan Collins were looking for. Although he lined up incorrectly on his interception (great heads-up change by him at the last second, and kudos to A.J. Marshall for yelling at him), he got back into position before the play, and made a great break on the ball. No doubt he got a ton of crap from his teammates by getting caught from behind so easily. He also just missed a second interception that could have gone for 6 on a screen pass in the first quarter that Trickett delicately got over him. Joey then made the game-changing tackle in the end zone for a safety in the 3rd quarter. I thought he should have been rewarded by the ACC with some accolades, but if he keeps playing like this, the honors will come sooner than later.
  • Bud Noel certainly showed the Seminoles what they were missing out on. He was everywhere on the field early on, and made a huge interception in the 2nd half to take away a TD from the Noles. "Back in Black," was his proclamation after the Boston College game, and not only did he have the swagger to say it, but he backed it up in a way that only Bud could!
  • Mike Olson is simply a beast at MLB, and he made two HUGE hits by filling up the holes in the offensive line.
  • Nothing needs to be said about Cyhl Quarles other than he broke a mans back with a hit in the first quarter (Note: I do not take this lightly, best of luck to Chris Thompson in his recovery, and hopefully this will not end his playing career).
  • Shoutout to Josh Bush. He has certainly taken his fair share of bashing (some deserved, some not) from on here, and Wake Forest fans over the past 3 years, but he had a huge INT in the waning minutes, and had a helluva deflection to take away another FSU TD as well (actually two).
  • I don't remember a Wake Forest team ever hitting as hard as this team does, and that hit on Clint Trickett to force the fumble in the first half was an absolute demolition (Justin Jackson and Nikita Whitlock I believe). Also evident by knocking out Chris Thompson and Andrew Datko again.
Special Teams
  • Still causing a few problems, as they have not been too special at all this year. Alex Wulfeck did a great job of getting the first snap from Logan Feimster down on the field goal, and it was pretty incredible that Jimmy Newman was able to get it through the uprights, despite the ball seemingly not being upright.
  • The blocked XP could have come back to hurt us, and I'm not sure exactly what happened there. Couldn't really see the snap, but it seemed like Jimmy hit a line drive that just didn't get above the linemen.
  • Lovell "Scooby" Jackson is bound to break a punt or kickoff return for a TD soon, but he also made a couple of plays that I'm sure the coaches talked to him about this week. The opening kickoff was probably better left in the endzone to take from the 20, and he also didn't field a punt that rolled for 15-20 yards after it landed at around the 40. Greg Reid returned our first punt for 7 yards early on, and Scooby either needs to do that, or get under the ball and call fair catch.  Those yards can be pretty vital in close games like we are used to playing in.
  • Our kickoff and punt coverage was mediocre at best. There were a couple of holding calls on FSU, so it is hard to know whether or not we would have made the plays without the holds, but Newman had to make two tackles in the game. That is never a good sign of things to come.
  • Alex Wulfeck had a few good punts, but also nearly had one blocked (in the 2nd quarter I believe). It also appeared that we may have had a fake punt set-up, but we either did not like the look, or decided not to run it at the last second (on the delay of game).
Overall, the Deacs played a great game against a very good opponent. We knocked Clint Trickett out of the game, and made Jimbo Fisher realize that E.J. Manuel probably should have been in from the beginning. Bjorn Werner and Brandon Thomas got their numbers in, and also gave our O-Line a challenge, but we rose to that challenge well and came out the victors. Proud of the team, and now we look ahead to Virginia Tech on Saturday night.

Certainly no rest for the weary. #GoDeacs!