I exchanged questions and answers with RAJohnston of Blogger So Dear to share some insights into tomorrow's game. Everything seems spot on except his assumption that Blacksburg rednecks ride choppers, we roll on raised Wranglers with fat tires and Super Duty F-350's. My answers can be found here. Many thanks to RA for joining us.
What's the contingency plan if running back Josh Harris can't play? Will it come to that?
Right now its looking like Jroc isnt going to be able to go. Coach Grobe said last night on his radio show that he would be an emergency back only. That leaved senior Brandon Pendergrass as the starter. He has seen a fair amount of time in the past, and has gotten around 40 carries already this year. Not sure if it is some gamesmanship by Grobie or not, but he doesn't usually mess around with the injury reports. Harris did not practice this week and was in sweats talking with coaches and trainers on Wednesday when I went out there. Usually, if you don't practice, you don't play. That being said, it would not surprise me at all if the coaches did try him on a series or two early to see if he can be effective at all.
If Harris is unable to go, backing BP up will be RS-freshman Nick Knott out of Texas. He is a smaller guy that has exceptional speed. He is also the half-brother of current Wake Forest stud Chris Givens, so you know that bloodline runs deep. Knott got his first career touchdown earlier this season, and once he gets to the outside can cause a world of hurt for the other team. He is a bit undersized, so it will be interesting to see how he can take a hit or two.
A couple of other options include moving wideout Michael Campanaro to RB to get him some carries (very quick, and player RB in high school), and also getting the bruiser Tommy Bohanon some extra touches. The final option would be to dress true freshman Orville Reynolds. The coaching staff considered pulling his redshirt in the pre-season because of his elite speed and quickness. He is the fastest player on the team, and will wreak havoc on punt and kickoff returns when in the game. I doubt the coaches want to pull his redshirt at this juncture in the year, but it may come down to that.
Do you own a chopper? Do you plan on owning a chopper? Are you a fan of American Chopper; Lil Wayne Ft. Rick Ross – If I Die Today?
I do not own a chopper, nor do I intend to in the near future. I don't watch American Chopper. I am a fan of Lil Wayne though, so that atones for my mistakes I would hope. Who do you take me for anyway??? I'm not some redneck, Blacksburg hick ;-).
You'd best describe your offensive line as... "big and beefy", " plus-sized gymnasts", "a liability", "adaquit", or __________ (fill in the blank.
I will take "big and beefy" for $200 Alex. This is a line that has certainly had their fair share of troubles, but I think that they have matured into a really solid line. I guess deceptive would be a pretty good word too. They are some of the most fun guys you will ever meet, and they can joke around, but once they get on the field, it is all business for the hog-mollies up front.
Joe Looney just got named to the ESPN mid-season All-American team, which is a great honor. The line has come a long way as a whole the past couple of years, and has developed into an elite pass blocking line. The rush blocking could use a little help, but the players seem to be in the correct position to make the seals and execute, it just hasn't all come together yet, particularly on the outside runs (some of which can be attributed to lack of receiving blocks on run plays as well).
If Tanner Price doesn't get injured against 'Cuse do you guys win?
Who knows? I like to think that we would have, but we had so many little things go wrong in that game, that it is difficult to pinpoint any specific thing that could have overall cost us the game. Bygones are bygones and we are 4-1 now, so that's all that matters. Of course it would have been nice to be 5-0 at this point and one win away from bowl eligibility, but at this juncture in the season, we need two more wins, and the way that we are playing right now, I am confident that we can get those two. If for some for some reason we are sitting at 5-6 going into the Vandy game, I will rethink my opinion on this matter.
When the Hokies have the ball, who should we keep our eye in defensively?
Hmmm, where to start??? Our defense has been remarkable this year, especially considering how woeful they were last year. It shows exactly what a year of experience can do for even the worst defenses. Everything starts up front at the d-line. We have "The little engine that could" in Nikita Whitlock. People have been telling him his whole life that he can't plug up the middle, and yet he does it anyway. We have Zach Thompson and Tristan Dorty out at the edges in the 3-4, and they are very versatile as well.
At linebackers, Joey Ehrmann had a fantastic week against Florida State (safety, INT, nearly another INT), and is finally maturing into the guy that the coaching staff thought he could be. Kyle Wilber hasn't been getting the press that he deserves at OLB/DE, but had a phenomenal day rushing the QB against 17 year old Bobby Hart last weekend. We just lined him up across from Hart nearly every play and let him go at it. In the middle there, Mike Olson and Justin Jackson are two of the harder hitting MLB's I've seen at Wake in quite some time, and they haven't even really been starting. Scott Betros and Riley Haynes have started most of the games, so that gives you an idea of the depth in there.
In the secondary, everything starts with Cyhl Quarles, who leads the team in tackles. He is a really hard hitter with an NFL body, and has come a long way from not making the right reads last year and giving up playcalling duties to some of the younger guys. Josh Bush is a converted CB, and has taken a ton of heat from the Wake Forest fanbase, but he has come out of his shell and excelled in the secondary with the switch. Bud Noel and Kenny Okoro both bring the element of physicality at the corner and aren't afraid to get after you. Noel should be a four year starter for the Deacs (just a RS-freshman now).
There are definitely some deficiencies in the run defense (despite the good numbers), and I think Thomas and Wilson will get some yards on the ground, but overall I am really impressed with how far this group has come. Expect some turnovers from playmakers tomorrow
Did you expect Wake to be 4-1, what would you consider a successful season, and who you got?
Honestly, I slept on the Deacs this year, and didn't see this coming at all. I would love to be able to say that I saw all of this coming, but I was very skeptical that after a year like last year the guys would be able to come out and respond like this. I picked the Deacs to go 4-8 in the preseason roundtable, and while I have not been proven wrong yet, I highly doubt we will go winless from here out. The start has definitely exceeded most fans expectations, and has raised the bar. Since this is the first 3-0 ACC start ever for the Deacs, so we are in a bit of uncharted territory. I obviously want to get to a bowl, and while it is a long shot that we beat Clemson in Death Valley, I have aspirations for another ACC Championship Game appearance. I know it sounds like a pipe dream, and it probably still is at this point in the season, but hey, if you are gonna dream, dream big. In reality, I want us to get another 3-4 wins against the teams remaining, which is a very difficult schedule still. That would put us at 7-8 wins, and would make Wake fans really happy heading into the next two years, where Coach Grobe really thought we could compete for an Atlantic Championship.