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Previewing Eagles-Demon Deacons with the SB Nation Wake Forest blog Blogger So Dear
Today we sit down with SBNation blog Blogger So Dear to talk Jim Grobe, Josh Harris and Wake Forest chance to go bowling.
BC Interruption: This weekend's game could be renamed the "ACC Atlantic Pillow Fight" as the cellar dwellers are primed to battle it out. BC has been marred by questionable coaching, and poor defense. What has been the primary reasons behind WF's struggles?
Blogger So Dear: You know, for Wake it's just been a combination of everything. When our offense has been good our defense has been bad, when our defense has been good our offense has been bad. Our special teams has been a roller-coaster ride with Jimmy Newman and Chad Hedlund at plackicking and the Aussie Alex Kinal at punting. The biggest problem I guess has been the offense.
Coming into the year I think most Wake Forest fans expected a step forward from Tanner Price and the passing offense, yet it seems that there has almost been a regression. While I am not completely blaming Tanner for our problems on offense (offensive line play, injuries to receivers, suspensions), he also does not seem to be progressing at the rate that he needed to in his third year as a starting QB.
The Deacs rank 103rd in scoring offense, 112th in rushing offense, and 92nd in passing offense. That's just not going to win a lot of games overall. The only game that our offense came alive was against Army (sorry if that's a sore point for y'all), and the Black Knights are even worse on defense than the Deacs are on offense.
BCI: BC has been atrocious against the run this year. Wake Forest has been equally bad running the ball. Do you expect Josh Harris to get more touches this weekend, or will Jim Grobe stick to the pass?
BSD: I expect Jim Grobe to keep doing what Jim Grobe has been doing all year (career?). That is play conservative football and keep it close no matter who the opponent is. There should be a flowchart out there for Jim Grobe and Wake Forest football that should be easy to make. Whether or not we have more talent, less talent, or roughly equivalent talent to an opponent we always try to gut it out and keep it close. We've done that so often that it really makes you question whether or not we have played "not to lose" for so long that we have forgotten how to win and blow a team out.
With that being said, I think we will pound the ground with Josh Harris and DeAndre Martin this week. Since Michael Campanaro is back I think we may throw the ball a little more than usual, but the Grobe gameplan is run the ball, play good defense and hope we make some FG's to try to win by 2-3 points.
BCI: Speaking of Jim Grobe, how are the fans reacting to this season? Is Grobe's seat hot or are fans happy with how the season has progressed?
BSD: I've been battling this question pretty much all day because I've been listening to the David Glenn Show talk about N.C. State and Tom O'Brien down in Raleigh. If you had asked this question 2-3 years ago Wake fans would have looked at you like you were crazy, but as noted by a poster on a prominent Wake Forest message board, unless if Jim Grobe finishes 4-0 this season (BC, ND, N.C. State, Vanderbilt), he will have a worse record in the past four years than Jim Caldwell had in his final four years as the Wake Forest head coach. That is pretty mind-blowing when you think about how much success Jim Grobe has had at Wake and how much Jim Caldwell struggled here.
Most fans are pretty upset about the season. I still think that it is a majority lunatic fringe that wants Jim Grobe fired right now (I'm talking 5-10% of all fans), but I agree that something needs to change. While I think this year overall has been about how I expected it to go, especially with all the injuries and suspensions, it's not necessarily the 4-4 record against a weak schedule that has fans pissed off, but rather the way that we continue to hurt ourselves with poor coaching decisions that jeopardize our chances to win the football game.
If Wake Forest can win on Saturday and then steal one in their final three opponents then the Deacs will be bowling for the second straight year. Even against a weak schedule that is the goal every single year for Wake Forest football. It's hard to be upset with any coach that has taken Wake Forest to 6 bowls in 11 years (if we make one this year).
Some people will never be happy with any coach, but I think it is fair to say that if the Deacs miss a bowl game this year and then don't win 7-8 games next year (returning nearly every single important player on both sides of the ball), there will be a lot of heat on the seat of Coach Jim Grobe.
BCI: Four games left for the Demon Deacons. Give me the best and worst case scenario for the remainder of the year including possible bowl games.
BSD: Best case scenario is 3-1 with a loss to Notre Dame. That would mean a road win against N.C. State and home wins against Vanderbilt and Boston College this weekend. That would put the Deacs at 7-5 and either back in Nashville or to Shreveport for the Independence bowl. I think a repeat trip to Nashville would satisfy most Wake Forest fans, and while the Independence Bowl isn't a desired destination, a bowl is a bowl is a bowl.
Worst case scenario is 0-4. Losing out, finishing 4-8 and losing nearly all goodwill with the fan base over the past couple of years.
BCI: Alright prediction time. What happens on Saturday?
BSD: I think the Deacs take care of business against the Eagles. Coming off of an ass-whooping on national television last Thursday at the hands of Clemson, Wake Forest has had a couple of extra days to lick their wounds and reassess the remaining schedule. The goals that Wake Forest set at the beginning of the year are still attainable against a reasonable four team schedule.
I think the rushing game sees the best game of the year (rivaling Army at least), and the Deacs control the TOP and the pace of play. The Wake Forest defense has actually done a really good job the past few weeks, the Clemson game obviously non-withstanding, and I think BC could struggle with the defense at times.
I'll take the Deacs 24-17 over the Eagles in a somewhat convincing win by Wake Forest standards. Best of luck this week to the Eagles and it's always great to talk to our brothers over at BCI!
Make sure you stop by Blogger so Dear for all of your Wake Forest news and opinions.