Bart Johnston (1-1)
As soon as this game was scheduled, we all knew that it wasn't going to be a walk in the park. ULM has Kolton Browning who is arguably a top 5-10 quarterback in the country, as well as a pretty solid offense which is able to throw a variety of sets at vulnerable defenses. What we didn't expect at this juncture in the season was for the experienced offense to look brutally poor, especially given the caliber of the defenses Wake has played thus far.
As I mentioned in myarticle this week, this is a game that Wake can certainly win. We're playing at home against a team that's not from a traditional BCS conference and are even slightly favored in Vegas. Our defense has proven to be pretty formidable, even with their backs against the wall and given what they're working with in the offense.
I think that they will be up to the task tomorrow of shutting down Browning and the Funroe offense.
That being said, I just don't think we're going to get the job done. I won't be surprised at all if Wake comes out with a slightly tinkered with offense after seeing the lack of success in the first couple of games, but we aren't going to have any wholesale changes which means the offense is still going to sputter up and down the field.
I think the defense plays a pretty solid game but I think mistakes on the offense continue to compound issues with time of possession and field position and Browning makes Wake pay. This game shouldn't be a high scoring affair and just like the BC game should hinge on a few critical plays. I'd be absolutely shocked if either team scores more than 30 points and I seriously doubt there are more then four offensive touchdowns total. I think ULM wins this one 24-14 and I think Wake gets one of the two touchdowns via special teams or defense.
With a loss to ULM Wake will be forced to win every single toss up game just to make a bowl, as we still have four games remaining against Clemson, Florida State, Miami, and Vanderbilt. This loss would cripple our chances at a bowl but given how we've played so far this year we're not close to sniffing a bowl anyway. Here's to the Deacs surprising us (in a positive manner).
John Mundy (1-1)
Thoughts on last week:
Brutal to watch- no matter what formation the Deacs threw out there, they couldn't get anyone blocked. That is a recipe for disaster no matter who or what you're running out there. As coach Grobe said, that has to be corrected.
Watch for increased intensity on defense. No matter the woes on the offensive side of the ball, I would hazard a guess that the D is upset about allowing 200-plus rushing yards. They'll have their hands full in Kolton Browning, but this is a physical Deacon defense that I think will answer the call.
I'm willing to be flat wrong this week. In fact, I hope I am. Quite frankly, even if the defense does its job, I have yet to be convinced that Wake Forest can block anyone. I watched the first half of the BC game again, and it was discouraging.
ULM 38 - Wake Forest 20
Riley Johnston (1-1)
I don't really know what to think about the game this week. The game last week was pretty much an unmitigated disaster other than a few individual performances (KJ, Nikita, Camp).
ULM has one of the better QB's in the country in Kolton Browning, who is very good with his arm and his legs. He will give the defense overall a pretty stout test and will be good preparation for games later in the year against Tajh Boyd and Jamies Winston.
My biggest concern is obviously the option. Coach Grobe took on some of these questions on Tuesday and gave some rather befuddling answers. He said we needed to pass better to set up the run more (which I always thought was backwards), and attributed nearly all of the problems to execution by the players.
I am not an offensive guru by any means, but my untrained eyes saw a lot of plays last week that could not have succeeded with the Alabama Crimson Tide offensive line.
Of course there was a lot of blame to go around for both players and the coaching staff, but I do not believe the players on offense are being put in any position at all to win the game. Not to mention that the coaches need to trust the players and let them go try to win the game themselves.
Enough with the play-calling from the booth after the defense has set. Let your senior QB make the reads and audible into the correct calls himself. You recruit the guys and coach them during the week, let them play the game and win or lose it on their own.
I really like ULM +3.5 and think that it will be a very close game that could go either way. ULM is probably a better football team than Wake Forest, but for some unknown reason I am going with the Deacs again.
Wake 27 - ULM 24
I agree with Bart and believe that a defensive TD will be necessary to get to the desired score. It's also notable that the O/U started at 58.5, and has dropped to 51. That's remarkable and I'm guessing most of the money is from Wake fans who are fed up with the scheme.
Robert Reinhard (1-1)
Thoughts on last week:
I've been a die-hard Wake Forest fan since I was a freshman during the 2008 season. I can honestly say that was the most frustrated I've been watching a Wake team play. I've seen us lose 52-0 to Florida State and I've seen us lose 38-0 to Notre Dame. In my opinion this was worse based on just how confused and unorganized we looked offensively and that it was an outstanding opportunity to win an ACC game. We have more talent than Boston College, but we didn't utilize it effectively. On a positive note, our defensive line was outstanding at pass rushing.
Our offensive line better be ready to play and Tanner better be prepared to hit the hot receiver because ULM's defensive line is coming. Their defensive line literally returned every player who recorded at least 1 tackle last season. Our secondary has been very solid so far this season and they will need to continue doing so going against Kolton Browning. Browning also has the ability to scramble and past Wake teams have struggled against mobile quarterbacks who ad-lib when the play breaks down.
I'd love to sit up here and quote French Montana and say it's ULM and "I ain't worried bout nothin'." Unfortunately, I'm quite concerned. I know Wake is favored according to the Vegas oddsmakers, but I just have a terrible feeling about this game and don't feel that we're going to be able to generate enough offense (see option) to keep up with the Warhawks. I'll leave with this regarding our offense, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got."
ULM: 24 - Deacs: 21
Samurai Foochs (1-1)
Thoughts on last week:
Ugly. As the legendary pro wrestling commentator and diehard Oklahoma Sooners fan Jim Ross is wont to say, "bowling shoe ugly". I wanna give all kinds of kudos to the defense, since they played their tails off. However, every aspect of the offense had better have a "come to Jesus" meeting if we want to win many, or even any, games this year.
Thoughts on this week:
The good news is, I actually am a little more optimistic than most about the offense performing better this week. If I was an offensive player, especially a senior, I would be hopping mad and would make it my life's mission to put forth a better performance this week. I think this group probably has a lot of heart, and I think they'll rally as a team and perform better, and hopefully the coaches can also facilitate that with playcalling that addresses strengths rather than trying to forcibly eliminate weaknesses.
That said, I'm not saying I think it will be easy, but I'm going to stick with more or less my prediction from last week. Wake and ULM engage in a dogfight for three+ quarters and the Deacs put it away with a nice TD drive and some key defensive strength late.
Wake: 24 - ULM: 14