While this was a game that featured two football teams of very different skill levels, culminating in a 51-7 Wake Forest victory over Presbyterian, there are still some things that we can discern from last night. I’m not crowning our asses yet (RIP Denny Green), but there were some good looking things that went down on the gridiron last night.
Samurai will have the regular 3 Up, 3 Down column coming, but I wanted to just take a look at some other things that our readers have been focusing on leading into the game.
Greg Dortch could be the real deal
I would be remiss if I didn’t start off with the RS-Freshman out of Richmond. Not only did Dortch catch two touchdowns in his debut, he was electric in the punt and kick return game. He finished the game with 4 catches for 55 yards (2 TDs), 4 punt returns for 76 yards, and a kickoff return for a TD that got called back (it likely was holding, but didn’t impact the play in my opinion). He appears to have the speed and versatility of a Kenny Moore or Michael Campanaro and that is thoroughly exciting to think about for four years.
Arkeem Byrd has that gear we haven’t seen in the backfield in a while
I would have liked to see Byrd get more touches last night outside the tackles to get a look at what he could do there, but understand that we were working on a limited playbook last night due to the opposition. The carries that Byrd did get showed why folks were so excited when he flipped to Wake Forest from Missouri on National Signing Day in 2016. His 51 yard burst showcased his speed and agility, and he has a gear that we haven’t seen in a Wake Forest backfield in quite some time. He finished with 7 carries for 75 yards on the night.
Quarterbacks John Wolford and Kendall Hinton both looked sharp
While there was a lot of discussion about these two and who would start throughout camp, both looked pretty damn good when they were on the field last night. Wolford completed 11/15 passes for 107 yards and 3 TDs and ran for another one, while Hinton missed just one pass on the night (a screen/short pass if I recall correctly), finishing 7/8 for 124 yards with 2 TDs. Based on what I saw overall I don’t think anything changes for the Boston College game because Wolford looked very sharp and had some zip on his throws that were impressive. His second touchdown throw to Cam Serigne across the middle was a thing of beauty. Should Wolford be out for a play or two, Hinton would come in, and perhaps we will see certain packages that Hinton can play in as well.
Zeek Rodney will be a big player on our DL this year
One of the biggest offseason “acquisitions” could be the return of Mr. Zeek Rodney. Rodney took last year off for personal reasons and has seemingly returned with a vengeance. His stats weren’t eye-popping last night (2 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack), but he was consistently in the backfield while on the field. Pairing him with Duke Ejiofor on the defensive front is a scary proposition for ACC teams to have to face this season.
Justin Strnad might be the guy we have been looking for at the future at LB
There was a lot of discussion throughout the pre-season and spring ball about the depth at linebacker, and RS-Sophomore Justin Strnad may be an answer to some of the questions. He finished the night 4 tackles, 2 TFL, and an interception (which admittedly was thrown right to him, but he did make a nice play on it and returned it for 22 yards). While Kemp has the rover position locked down and Jaboree Williams and Grant Dawson should be starting for most of the year, Strnad looks like a guy who could force himself into some playing time and help the team this season.