Wake Forest kicks off its 2016 season in just 9 days when they host the Tulane Green Wave at BB&T Field. Though Tulane should be a run-heavy team, Wake Forest will still need quality play from its defensive backs in this game and every game for the remainder of the season. The defensive backs struggled at times last season. What can we expect out of the unit in 2016? I previewed the DB’s with Mark Rogers of Mark Rogers TV.
Wake Forest’s defense intercepted just 6(6!) passes in 2015, which was 111th nationally. Forcing turnovers can be a bit fluky, but some of the fundamentals in forcing turnovers (a strong pass rush, decent coverage skills) were lacking. Graduate transfers Devin Gaulden and Zach Dancel were brought in from Wisconsin and Maryland, respectively, but both left a lot to be desired in terms of coverage skills and pursuit angles.
Clawson has addressed these issues, however, mostly in the 2015 recruiting class. Dionte Austin, a true freshman in 2015, ended up replacing Gaulden midway through last season and got better as the year progressed. Though he lacked ideal body weight, he competed very hard and is set to take a step forward in 2016. At safety, Wake Forest will insert Jessie Bates, who redshirted last year and is a member of the 2015 recruiting class. He intercepted 9 balls as a high school senior, and has performed very well in spring practice and in fall camp.
What else can we expect from the unit? Check out my appearance on Mark Rogers TV.
Many thanks as always to Mark for having me on his show. He does an excellent job covering all things college football. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @MarkRogersTV and check out his YouTube channel.
How do you all think that the DB’s will perform in 2016? Let us know in the comments section below!