An Insider’s Look at Wake Forest
By Ben Neuwirth
WZBC Sports talked to Les Johns, publisher of Demon Deacon Digest in the Scout Media network, about Boston College’s game against Wake Forest on Saturday. BC beat Wake 17-14 in Winston-Salem last season and each team comes into Alumni Stadium sporting a 1-0 record.
1) John Wofford had a tough year last season, posting only a 55% completion percentage and putting up 9 TDs to 10 INTs, however he had a strong opening game against Presbyterian, throwing for 3 touchdowns and running for another. Is Wofford the answer to Wake’s QB position and if not who is?
John Wolford and Kendall Hinton have now competed head-to-head in six camps (including spring football) and it’s been a razor-thin margin every step of the way. That being said, there’s no doubt that Wolford went out this fall and flat-out took the starting job away from Hinton, who was the perceived No. 1 guy on the depth chart entering camp. Wolford had an exceptional fall camp and has a greater number of weapons surrounding him. With a skilled and deep group of wide receivers, Wolford was the right choice to lead the Wake Forest offense.
2) BC’s biggest strength is their pass rush, where Harold Landry was a preseason All-American. Do you have confidence that the Demon Deacon offensive line will be able to hold up to the Eagles’ pass rushers?
The key for Wake to slow down the Boston College pass rush on third down is to be successful on first down. They have to keep the Eagles off balance and avoid being predictable. Wake starting center Ryan Anderson stated this week that the Deacs ‘screwed themselves’ last year, but getting into two-minute end-of-half situations last year against Boston College, allowing Landry to have a monster game.
3) Head Coach Dave Clawson has a 14-24 record since he took over as Head Ball Coach in 2014, what’s the fan’s perception of him? Is there any possibility of a change?
There’s no chance of a change. Wake had their first winning season and bowl victory since 2006, and most fans understood he took over a rebuilding effort. Recruiting has been solid and the program has been investing in facilities. Overall, the program is headed in the right direction, and fans are excited about the future. The 2017 schedule is much more challenging than last year, however, and making a bowl will be a tall task — making Saturday’s game against Boston College that much more important.
4) What’s the unit to watch on Wake Forest’s offense and defense? Which matchup are you most looking forward to?
A guy to watch on offense (and special teams) is redshirt freshman Greg Dortch, who electrified Wake fans last week with his two touchdown catches and 76 punt return yards. He also had a kickoff return called back for a holding call that didn’t help spring him.
Defensively, look for sophomore safety Jessie Bates to be all over the field making plays. He tallied 100 tackles his in his freshman campaign, and was second in the conference with five interceptions.
5) Who will win and why?
I’m going with quarterback experience as the difference maker tomorrow. Wolford is a senior with 34 collegiate starts under his belt, versus just the second start for Brown. A late-game ill-advised pass from Brown is picked off by Jessie Bates for a Wake score and the Deacs win 28-17.