Griffin Kurzius of Blogger So Dear joins the show today to talk Wake Forest football. Follow him on Twitter @Griffin_Kurzius. You can see the questions I answered for him over at BSD right here.
1. Let's keep it simple: do you have a quarterback controversy in Winston-Salem? John Wolford had himself a pair of 300 yard outings before getting his ankle dinged, but Kendall Hinton's mobility earned him ACC Freshman of the Week accolades last week in relief. Who starts on Saturday?
GK: This is something we commented on earlier in the week. Let’s be clear: if healthy, John Wolford is the starting QB. If not, we have a viable back-up with Kendall Hinton who can dazzle with his feet and run the offense. Given his performance against Army and Dave Clawson’s offensive history, I would be shocked if Hinton didn’t get a wildcat package going forward.
2. Ok. Let's be honest. After failing to score more than 17 points in your last two outings against Syracuse and Army, Indiana fans are of this notion that Dave Clawson's offense is, uh, relatively benign. Outside of the quarterback position, where's Wake capable of exploiting a vulnerable-at-times Indiana defense?
GK: Let’s start off at where Wake cannot exploit… the offensive line. Most Wake fans believe we have a variety of playmakers at wide receiver between KJ Brent (formerly from South Carolina), Cortez Lewis (great hands, better hand shakes) and freshman Chuck Wade. Also, sophomore tight end Cam Serigne, a former Freshman All-American, a perennial mismatch against a linebacker due to his size and speed. The glaring problem is the offensive line does not give these playmakers enough time to separate from the defense. The same goes for the running game. The Demon Deacons rotate two true freshmen Tyler Bell and Matt Colburn and sophomore Isaiah Robinson. Bell is a home-run hitting back who often gets looks on third down as a passing back. Colburn is a burner who makes people miss on the outside. Meanwhile, Robinson is the traditional powerful between-the-tackles guy. Wake has talent at skill positions to expose the Hoosiers suspect secondary. The battle will be: can Indiana get the quarterback before these athletes do their damage.
3. Having said all that, your defense has looked fairly stout so far in 2015 -- ranking 16th nationally in total defense. What should scare Indiana fans most about having to move the ball downfield consistently against this group?
GK: This game will be an interesting test for the Wake defense. As you said, the defense ranks high, partially due to its talent/experience and partially due to its early season schedule. Thus, this game will reveal how far this defense can lead the anemic offense, and frankly, how far Indiana’s high-powered offense can overcome its defense. The Demon Deacons are anchored by arguably the best linebacking corps in the ACC. Brandon Chubb, Hunter Williams, and Marquel Lee are battering rams waiting to pummel opposing running backs. In our Q + A with BSD, you called the Indiana offensive line "[one of the best] in the Big Ten that tends to create holes that you fit a Silverado through." While Jordan Howard might be a Mustang, these three linebackers are Ford F150’s eager to engage in off-roading. The weather doesn’t look good in Winston-Salem for Saturday. Expect a ground-and-pound game. So the question remains: who will fare better in wet, muddy conditions- the Silverado offensive line or the F150 linebackers? (P.S. I don’t work for a car company or Consumer Reports, I swear!)
4. Okay, now calm us down. Overall -- what's the biggest area of concern for Wake fans heading into this matchup?
GK: Quick preface: the Demon Deacons averaged 1.3 yards per rush for a total of 39.9 yards per game on the ground. Last season, we knocked the entire house down. This season, the foundation is being built. Right now, we are starting two freshmen at the tackle spots and our line is better than last year, because it couldn’t be any worse. So, for every. single. game. this. season. The offensive line is the biggest concern. This line keeps the coaching staff up at night, makes the fans cringe and worry about our young and talented quarterbacks.
5. Kevin Wilson said he was going to "kick Wake Forest's ass" in the spring. Brian Knorr is your former defensive coordinator. Indiana fans are already looking ahead to a possible undefeated matchup against Ohio State and maybe bringing College Gameday to town. Real talk: y'all are pissed, right? Wake fans want this one pretty bad, yeah?
GK: WE ARE FURIOUS. NOBODY MAKES ME BLEED MY OWN BLOOD. NOBODY!!! But seriously, we aren’t used to people calling us out… especially in football. Especially by a non-conference team. Is Dave Clawson using this is motivation? Hopefully… But as fans, it is more of a mocking/parodying way to get amped for this game. With our schedule, wins won’t come easy. It’s a game that we earnestly have a chance to win. Any opportunity at home is one to capitalize. It’s homecoming. But let’s be serious: a team thinks they come to OUR HOUSE and kick OUR ass. Not up in here. NOTT up in here!
6. Okay, give us a prediction.
The game will be decided by two phases: Indiana’s pass rush versus Wake’s offensive line and Indiana’s run game against Wake’s linebackers. I think the Indiana offense will set the tempo in this game and dominate the time of possession. Wake’s defense will stay strong, but will wear down in the fourth quarter. The Demon Deacon offense doesn’t have enough fire power to pull off the mild upset at home. Indiana 27, Wake Forest 16.