Monday, August 29, 2011

Wake-Syracuse: Some pre-game observations

-- Wake Forest kicks off its football season in Syracuse Thursday night. While it's not automatic that statistical trends carry over from one season to the next, keep this in mind:

Syracuse couldn't score last season and Wake Forest couldn't keep a team from scoring. The Orangemen were 99th among 120 FBC schools in scoring, at 21.0 ppg. The Demon Deacons were 110th in scoring defense, at 35.8 ppg., allowed.

Syracuse went 8-5 and won a minor bowl game at Yankee Stadium. That was primarily built on its defense, one of the best in the country. Wake Forest went 3-9 primarily because of its defense, which allowed 5.8 yards per snap.

There were reasons for this: Wake had terrible injury problems, which forced coach Jim Grobe to use up what depth he had. The Deacons will never have great depth. Their starters can usually match up with ACC peers, but the second and third strings often represent a big dropoff.

Grobe is hoping all the pain of last season now has some give-back, in the experience some underclassmen gained.

-- Syracuse coach Doug Marrone made much of Wake Forest's size and experience along the offensive line.

Certainly the Deacons need for that line to be the team's best unit this season. A lot of time has been invested in developing the juniors and seniors in that group. This is a bigger O-line than Wake typically assembles, and that should lend to good pass blocking.

-- Obviously any quarterback has a big responsibility, but particularly so for Syracuse's Ryan Nassib. Marrone, formerly the offensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints, runs a particularly complex pro-style offense. That puts a ton of read-and-react responsibility on Nassib to distribute the ball.

He's now in his second season as a starter. It figures Wake will run a variety of blitz schemes Thursday, intended to fluster Nassib, because it's no secret there are extra-big demands on Nassib's real-time decision-making.

-- Grobe has been intermittently frustrated this preseason with how many practices have been missed due to injury. As Grobe put it the other day, his players don't always distinguish between the value of being healed and the value of getting better through practice.

He didn't quite use this word, but it sounds like he's concerned some of his players are soft.

-- Rick Bonnell


Anonymous said...

Its going to be a long season for the Deacs. And I suspect, the last for Mr. Grobe.

JimCaldwell said...

Any coach who can win an ACC championship at Wake Forrest should be given a larger than life bronze Statue in front of the school with an isignia that reads "the magician"

Whoever "anonymous" is, is delusional to think the deacs would ever find a coach as good as Grobe....Moron

Anonymous said...

Yes, Deacs will suck. No, Grobe isn't going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, Deacs will Suck." Based on what? The QB Tanner Price is a stud, they have two breakway TB threats, a ton of WRs, a seasoned OL and a very good PK. The defense will be better just because they have more upperclassmen, less injuries and more depth. Grobe is going to push this bunch to the max. He hates losing. A brutal schedule portends 5 wins, maybe 6. That is far from "sucking". If you want to find that type of team go look in Durham or Chapel Hill. Oh sorry, Chapel Hill does not suck. They just cheat.