With the season opener tomorrow night at 7 at Groves Stadium, the long wait is finally almost over!!! As most who are reading this probably already know, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons host FCS Elon tomorrow night in the first game for both teams.
It is a unique game for both teams because of how absurdly young each team is. The Deacs are one of the youngest in the FBS, while Elon is one of the youngest teams in the FCS (hell the Phoenix don't have a player on the roster who has ever thrown a collegiate pass before). This article serves as a "what to watch for", primarily from a Wake Forest perspective tomorrow night.
- First things first, the Deacs will debut new uniforms this season and in my opinion they are quite sharp. I'm excited to see how they look under the lights of the stadium!
- Sophomore John Wolford will begin the year as the starting quarterback for Coach Clawson, but on his heels is a highly touted freshman quarterbacks in Kendall Hinton. Hinton is listed as second on the depth chart, and Clawson says that Hinton needs to be prepared to play.
- Who the hell will start/play the most snaps at running back??? Coach Clawson submitted all five running backs as options on the depth chart, with three freshmen and two sophomores. The highest regarded is probably Rocky Reid, who has battled a leg injury for much of the preseason. Clawson stated that he knows Tyler Bell, Matt Colburn, and Isaiah Robinson will all play on Thursday.
- As with all the other positions there are many new faces at wide receiver too, with the starters currently R-Fr Cortez Lewis, Fr. Tabari Hines, and graduate transfer KJ Brent.
- The biggest thing I am watching for is how the offensive line blocks. I'm not usually that interested, but it cannot possibly be worse than last year, where Wake had one of the worst rushing attacks in NCAA history.
- THE BIGGEST QUESTION IS HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ALEX KINAL TO STUD OUT AT PUNTER!!!! Although that will likely be masked a bit by the fact that it's El....oh who the hell are we kidding...o/u still at 7.5 punts!!!!
- The defense is replacing Bud Noel and Kevin Johnson at cornerback, can Brad Watson and grad. transfer Devin Gaulden come in as serviceable replacements? If so, the defense could be quite good, as the front seven is one of the best in the ACC (seriously).
- Can Elon get anything going against the linebacking corps? Brandon Chubb, Marquel Lee, and Hunter Williams are one of the best corps in the ACC and I expect them to wreak havoc on the experienced Phoenix backfield.
Overall I am really just looking for a semblance of improvement. The Deacs should win this one handily, but it is a game that Coach Clawson and Co. can use to figure out where to go headed into a big week 2 game in Syracuse.
Hopefully the team will get some morale built up and that lends itself into good practices over the Labor Day weekend and into next week.
I am really excited about this year and the future of the Deacs and it's almost gameday baby!!!