With the Virginia Cavaliers kicking off against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons tonight, we chatted with Cameron Lemons Debro of Blogger So Dear about Wake Forest, the matchup with the ‘Hoos, and what he’s expecting out of tonight’s game.
Sam Hartman is a fairly established name in ACC football, but for our readers who may be less familiar with the rest of the Demon Deacon attack, who should Wahoo fans be most worried about among Hartman’s supporting cast?
Jaquarii Roberson is the easy answer, but given my stance on this game and the UVA defense, I’m going with tie: RB Christian Beal-Smith and WR A.T. Perry. Against this 3-3-5, specifically UVA’s, you can’t be afraid of running the ball. They’re going to guess right at times and get TFLs, but we see it time and time again with this defense: if they don’t guess right they’re getting torched.
CBS has been produced here and is head and shoulders the number one back on this team. I’m looking for him to get a bulk of the carries. When the defense gets lulled in by Wake running the ball, that’s where I think Perry comes in. He burned UVA for a touchdown last year when they played the run, I think he does it again. A 6-5 guy who just glides down the field is annoying as hell to deal with. Even more annoying when he’s actually fast.
Similar to how UVA went into last Saturday’s game against UNC having only played far inferior competition, what’re you feeling about how well the Demon Deacons have been tested so far and what’re you expecting against a likely step up in competition against Virginia?
I think they’ve been tested in one area: offensive line. FSU’s line is actually quite good! Jermaine Johnson will be in the NFL as a day 2, maybe 1, pick and Kier Thomas has been pretty good there. The step up in competition definitely comes in on seeing all facets of UVA’s offense. I feel fine?
They’re going to give up points, it’s going to be interesting to see how they deal with giving those up when it’s someone making a good play, not a coverage bust. The defense has been a surprise to a lot of fans, but not me. They’re finally healthy, and most importantly are deep pretty much across the board. The offense also shouldn’t have that much of an issue, but is going to have to pick their spots as they like doing their damage across the middle on *obvious* passing downs and that’s where UVA excels with this defensive scheme.
Considering that the Wake defense is yet to be truly tested — at least against an offense that is as highly powered as Virginia’s — what are your expectations for that unit and where would you expect potential weaknesses to be?
Again, fine? Traveon Redd against Jelani Woods is going to be fun. I don’t think there’s really anyone in the country that has a true answer for a 6-7 giant that isn’t terribly slow. Wicks poses a bit of an issue with his route running ability and Wake knows a thing or two about Highland Springs graduated(Billy Kemp IV and Greg Dortch were high school teammates.)
They’re going to give up yards and points through the air. The hope is that they play pretty much the same way as they did against FSU when Jordan Travis was in the game: stay in their lanes, don’t give up contain as Armstrong can get some yards on the ground, and bait him into some bad throws. Every QB is liable for them, it’s just going to be a matter of if he pulls the trigger. UVA is going to punch them in the mouth, and everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
If they can limit this team to about 30 I’ll say job well done and then the onus is on the offense. Focus is my main concern right now. I’m not all too worried about a rushing game from UVA, and again there’s not really a matchup for Jelani Woods. But last year Caelen Carson and Ja’Sir Taylor were two of the better corners in the ACC, and Carson in the country, this is where you earn your money.
The focus comes with what happens if the defensive line can’t get home as quickly as they have the last few games? Can the back end hold on? Will they break contain and let Armstrong go for 100 on the ground?
It’s been over a decade and two coaches ago since Virginia beat Wake Forest. Obviously much of that is due to rotating schedules across divisions, but is there something about UVA as a program that’s made the ‘Hoos an easy target for Wake Forest?
Absolutely not. I hate playing UVA. Not that there’s any bad blood, but they’re an annoyingly good team to go against. I was annoyed last year, and I was annoyed this year(I truly would’ve rather VT), they’re well-coached, a matchup nightmare and they force you to cross your T’s and dot your i’s. Is it ever an un-winnable game for Wake? No but think this one is just pure luck of the draw and it’s always a fun* matchup.
*fun for the bars that allow me to rack up a tab while I nervously watch
In a broader sense, what are your expectations for this Wake team? What’s a successful season in the Atlantic division?
I am on the expectation of this being a tail year. For me, the median outcome was 7 MAYBE 8 wins. If they play their cards right, they can go into a game in November against UNC 8-0 with the Tar Heels/NC State/Clemson/BC left on the table. There’s not much more you can ask in the Atlantic besides that, just at least give yourself a chance to fight Goliath(Clemson) for a chance for an ACC championship berth.
If they win this game I think they hit that 8-0 mark and then all bets are off. They get Louisville/Syracuse/Army/Duke. Would any of those teams be favored against UVA? In my numbers, I have UVA as Wake’s hardest test until they hit that back four of the schedule. You’re finally healthy defensively, which has been your Achilles heel for the last 3 years, Sam Hartman seems to be coming into his own, the receivers and running backs continue to produce, the offensive line continues to have NFL talent.
This seems like it has the pieces to be *the* year. I will never say Wake will beat Clemson this year, that’s just foolish, but you can still make it a 9-10 win season without that. Win those toss-up games and earn some national respect.
I have avoided this question literally all week. *sigh* Wake 38 UVA 30.
I truthfully think that UNC game was not an anomaly. This is a team that while well-coached, has deficiencies, especially when it comes to the RPO. Time and time again over the last ~7 games, when a team actually is running the RPO, the team kind of freezes and it’s on explosive plays.
I think Wake played an extremely sloppy game last week against FSU and only put up 35 because of a) sloppiness at times but b) taking the air out of the ball and just running it basically the entire second half to run out the clock. If UVA can’t scare this team with a ground game, it’ll allow them to deploy as many combos of 5 DBs as they want, which is surprisingly their deepest unit right now.
Brennan Armstrong can only do so much, and I think Wake plays the type of football that when run correctly just causes too many issues for this UVA defense. I think this game will be close through midway through the fourth, but getting worn down by Wake’s stable of running backs will prove to finally catch UVA off guard enough for Wake to catch a lead and hold onto it.