The Wake Forest Demon Deacons dropped to 5-2 on the season with a 17-6 loss to the #14 Florida State Seminoles on Saturday afternoon. What were some key takeaways from the game?
The Wide Receivers Have To Play Better
Headed into the season, it was assumed that the wide receiver unit would be a much improved unit, but that really hasn’t been the case. This has been an issue since the opening night against Tulane when the receivers struggled to get open against man coverage. On Wolford’s first interception yesterday, Steven Claude did not run a crisp slant route, and it got picked off as a result. On the second ball, it was definitely under thrown on a vertical route, but Scotty Washington has to do a better job of coming back and at least going for the ball.
Cortez Lewis was excellent yesterday and had 6 receptions for 109 yards. He has at least 5 receptions during each of the past 3 games so hopefully he is bouncing back from a rough start to the season. Tabari Hines didn’t do anything against Syracuse, but had a nice game yesterday (and almost had an unbelievable grab), and performed extremely well two weeks ago against NC State. Chuck Wade has had his moments, and I’d like to see Wake utilize more screens and drag routes to get him the ball in space and let him make players miss. Those 3 will hopefully improve, but Wake needs all receivers to be more consistent.
The Defense Is Legit
Florida State was averaging 38 points per game in this one, and the Wake defense limited the Noles to just 17 points. A number of those points came directly after the Wake Forest offense/special teams had a bad turnover that put the defense in a vulnerable position. The defense is now 32nd in S&P+.
Wake has an excellent pass rush/rush defense thanks to Duke Ejiofor, Marquel Lee, and company, but the pass defense is also improving. Limiting Syracuse to just 9 points last week says a lot about the improved secondary. On that note, I was very impressed by true freshman Essang Bassey’s performance yesterday. He looked like he belonged.
Long Snapping Continues To Be An Issue
Garrett Wilson had another bad snap. This time instead of being high and right, it was short and low, and therefore Dom Maggio couldn’t handle it. It ended up giving Florida State excellent field position. Instead of probably starting inside of their own red zone, the Noles started at the Wake Forest 26. For a team that is built around playing excellent defense, ball control on offense with strategic shots down the field, and then winning the field position battle, it’s critical that Wake doesn’t make these kinds of mistakes. Dayton Diemel replaced Wilson and appeared to do a fine job. I would not be surprised if Diemel starts in two weeks against Army.
Offensive Line Will Probably Struggle Against Better Defenses
Florida State’s defensive line is very good, and they rocked John Wolford on Saturday. I commend him for hanging as tough as he did, because that pressure was intense. Wake’s offensive line is now ranked 100th or worse in a 5 of S&P+’s offensive line statistics. They do excel at allowing the backs to convert in short yardage situations, but pass protection remains a major issue. They have improved from a year ago, but they still aren’t where they need to be.
Did you all have any major takeaways from Saturday’s game? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.