Coming off the heels of a somewhat unexpected 24-14 victory over Duke in Durham on Saturday, the Blogger So Dear staff reconvenes for another Roundtable to discuss: what this means for this season, how big a win this is, and what the heck should we really expect from the offense as the season marches on.
We are joined this week by Adam Bridgers, Samurai Foochs, GrumpyDeac, and Chris Wozniak.
Finish this sentence: this is the biggest win for Wake Forest football since ...
Adam: Florida State in 2011. Florida State was ranked 23rd and picked to win the Atlantic (someone fact check me) while the Deacs were picked to be the bottom of the conference. Tanner Price threw for 3 TDs while Josh Harris ran for 2 and the Deacs upset FSU to improve to 4-1 and 3-0 in the ACC. It was also the last year we went to a bowl game.
Samurai Foochs: I'm with Adam. FSU '11. It's really that simple. Not too much more to say that Adam hasn''t already.
Grumpy: FSU 2011 is probably the right answer. We’ve had one ACC win each of the past years, and each one was an “upset.” But, the 6-3 win over VT in 2014 left us at 3-8 heading into a final game at Duke, and the 3-0 win at BC last year left us at 3-3 with a tough ACC slate left ahead. This game was different because of the context: we have four winnable home games left to go with a couple of tough but realistically winnable road games. More than just beating Duke, this put us in a great position to get back to a bowl.
Chris: Virginia Tech in 2014. Neither win was particularly pretty, and neither win was of great consequence, so I'm not quite ready to compare to FSU yet. That it felt like a big win is more of a testament to how far we've fallen in recent years than an actual big win. It's always good to beat Duke, though.
Is the offense closer to what is showed against Tulane, or what it showed against Duke?
Adam: I'd say the offense is closer to what we saw against Duke. A lot of teams play sloppy in their first game, so I think a lot of the concern from fans, myself included, was a bit of an overreaction. The play calling seemed to be pretty much the same in the two games, which is still a little conservative for my taste, but I think the game against Duke was a good idea of what we should expect from the offense for the rest of the year, scoring a few times a game while still being pretty inconsistent.
Samurai: Duke, no doubt. Cade Carney was hyped coming in, and we have a stable of very capable running backs, some we haven't even seen yet (Rocky Reid, for example). We're very capable of grounding and pounding with our personnel as long as the OL can block like that. Mix that in with some deep bombs to playmakers like Cortez Lewis, Tabari Hines, Chuck Wade, et al. and you get what we saw against Duke. Fact is Duke is almost certainly more talented than Tulane, and the offense looked worlds better.
Grumpy: Closer to Duke. I don’t think we have a dominant offense, but we weren’t a dominant offense against Duke either. And, I think the offense has potential to improve by incorporating more of our talent in the receiving corps.
Chris: Hopefully the offense is even better than what we saw against Duke. We still struggled to move the ball for long stretches of the game and kept the cards very close to the vest. I think the offense looks like a more open version of the Duke game than anything like the abomination that was the Tulane game.
How should Wake Forest use the quarterbacks moving forward?
Adam: I thought that Wolford should be the QB going into the season, but I am 100% Team Hinton now. Wolford has yet to get the offense in scoring position through 2 games, and it seems that no defense really respects his ability to run the ball. The read option just works so much better when Hinton because of his athleticism. It doesn't seem like we are going to be relying to much on the passing game this season anyways (Hinton threw just 11 times on Saturday), so I think Hinton should be the starter going forward.
Samurai: Kendall, Kendall, Kendall. I think the Duke game proved the importance of consistency, and at this point Kendall Hinton is a more reliable asset at QB. I have nothing but love and respect for John Wolford for what he's done for the program and what he's sacrificed, but it's Kendall's time.
Grumpy: I agree that Hinton should be the primary QB. Wolford has put it all on the field for Wake in the past few years, but Hinton has more tools to keep the defense on its heels. That said, if things aren’t working out with Hinton in a particular game, or if he gets hurt, I’m glad that we have Wolford ready to go. I also wouldn’t mind seeing what Kearns can offer in that situation.
Chris: Kendall Hinton has earned the starting job for the Deacs going forward. He has shown he has the skills to make plays with his feet and his arm, that he can make good decisions, throw a good long ball, and win us ball games. John Wolford should be the backup, and Kearns should get reps if we're ever up or down big.
What was your biggest takeaway from the Duke game?
Adam: My biggest take away from this game is that we can win 6-7 games this season and go bowling on the back of our defense. The offense doesn't need to be spectacular and do anything revolutionary so long as the defense continues to play the way they have this season.
Samurai: Our defense really is legit. I thought their timely stops against Tulane might be more a product of talent mismatches, but after Saturday, nope, they're just straight up good. Our secondary needs to tighten up, but our rush defense is going to be very stout this year with that front seven. I'm gonna say it right now, I could see Duke Ejiofor somewhere in the All-ACC lists at this rate. Good stuff.
Grumpy: Offensive line improvement. We’ll be facing better front sevens than Duke’s this season, but it was really encouraging to see our O line winning the battle in the trenches this weekend. Hopefully they can keep improving over the season despite the competition stiffening.
Chris: My biggest takeaway from this game is that Duke Ejiofor is a monster on the defensive line. He takes two men to block, he moves inside to disrupt certain packages, he is a menace in the backfield, and he's got all the measurables to be an NFL type edge rusher. He will give teams fits all year.
There you have it folks. Another BSD Roundtable. Jump in with your thoughts below!