A Demon Deacon? A bit of an oxymoron? $10 says he drives a white cargo van with no windows...
So it's Wake on the Flats this Saturday in a game we must win to stay atop the Coastal Division. At 4-5, this hasn't been a great season for Coach Jim Grobe & his team but after giving ThugU all it could handle in a 28-27 home loss last week, The Demon Deacons must win to have a shot at a bowl game. This will be the 4th time in the last 20 months The Deacs will have faced a triple option team (going 1-2 against Navy, the latest game a 13-10 loss to the Mids in a driving rainstorm). If anything, this gives us the advantage as we know how they like to defend the option & where they are weak. Don't believe the "talking heads" on Saturday when they tell you Wake has an advantage. Some things to note about Saturday:
- Wake's offensive coordinator is Steed Lobotzke. Seriously. The best football name ever. And if football doesn't work out, with a name like that there's always porn.
- Wake's previous defenses against the Triple Option have been a 4-3 with a linebacker shaded to one side (almost a walk-up 5-2 which we've seen several times this year) and the secondary in cover 2. Their aim seems to be to limit big plays and keep the game in front of them. Fine by us as we'll employ our long, clock-killing drives to simply wear them down.
- The Birddog, Navy blogger extraordinaire, has a great article on how Navy attacked Wake. The embedded video is particularly good as it illustrates exactly what the Navy coaches were trying to accomplish. Expect more of the same for Tech. You'll see plenty of Dwyer, particularly on the FB trap with counter motion & the sprint draw we've taken to running. Another big day ahead for the Diesel.
The forecast Saturday is for a heavy dose of Diesel....
- With Wake in a cover 2 or cover 4 trying to keep everything in front of them, expect BayBay & the A-backs to settle into the holes in the zone & pick up 15-20 yard chunks with regularity in the passing game. Wouldn't surprise me if we throw 15 times.
- The 3rd down battle. Tech is second in the nation in 3rd down conversions at 54.2%, in large part due to the fact we keep the distance manageable. Wake is 23rd in the country at 45.26%. Neither teams 3rd down defense has been good (opponents convert 41.44% against Tech, 92nd in the nation, while Wake is 95th at 42.31%). Whomever wins the 3rd down battle & gets their defense off the field will be in great position to win on Saturday.
- Wake QB Riley Skinner. The Julius Hodge of ACC football. This guys been in school for 18 years. Skinner suffered a slight concussion against ThugU last week but he's listed as probable for Saturday. He's playing, no question.
Julius Hodge played 19 seasons for the Wolfpack. Riley Skinner is closing in on his "longest tenure" ACC record
- Our base 4-3 defense. Wake's passing attack is short & horizontal. They are a very, very good screen team. We will get torched by the screen if we blitz. The front 4 will need to get pressure without the help of a blitzing LB. Taking away the short routes & screens (as Clemson did to Wake) will force Skinner to throw downfield, not his strength.
- Tackle. Not much to be said here...
- As far as injuries & lineup changes for Tech: Mario Edwards starts at free safety for Domenique Reese (shoulder). Phil Smith will most likely start for Austin Barrick (ankle) at tackle. Expect Izaan Cross in heavy rotation with Morgan & Egbuniwe at defensive end.
The Jackets should be ready as they know the must win these last two conference games to play in Tampa for the ACC championship. Expect more high-octane offense as only Tech has stopped itself since Clemson. Wake is tough & well-coached but just doesn't have the horses to keep up. Jackets 42-Deacons-21. We'll be tailgating on the lawn n front of the Architecture building. See you there...