Wake Forest football preview!

  #1o2 R.P.I. Virginia Tech vs. #62 R.P.I. Wake Forest:

Today’s word of the day is… Deacon!


Old English diacon, via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek diakonos ‘servant’ (in ecclesiastical Greek ‘Christian minister’).


  1. In Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox Churches) an ordained minister of an order ranking below that of a priest.
  2. (In some Protestant churches) a lay officer appointed to assist a minister, especially in secular affairs.
    (in the early church) an appointed minister of charity.


  1. appoint or ordain as a deacon.
  2. One of these two singing in the bowling choir come 7 PM and the other one left to ponder their post-season… pennant, penance.

Wake Forest Head Coach: David Paul Clawson: age=56, (62-55 at Wake; 149-133 overall); has a rep’ for building, lifting, and resurrecting. Db coach early on, tho’ now seems more
parts Rb/Qb whisper by trade.
(was:) $2,189,063.oo ¦ (now) $3,600,000,oo

Baller and .edu David is a 1989 graduate of Williams College in Massachusetts. Where Clawson earned a degree in political economy. A native of Youngstown, N.Y., Clawson was a defensive back for Williams and went on to serve as a graduate assistant coach at Albany.

After this Coach, Clawson really went itinerate or Larry Brown vagabond in the lower echelon college ranks. With tour stops at: Brown, Villanova, Leigh, and eventually at Tennessee. Then he broke in as a head-honcho at: Fordham, Richmond, Bowling Green, and now at Atlantic side Wake. Coach Claw’ has never posted an overall tenured L’ing mark tallying north of .5oo ball by the time he left the given school. I.e. he improved every single program that he served as the head-master thereof. Not everyone can say this either folks. Coach Dee.Cee. had won three-straight bowl games @Wake, although he was o-for-life in the post-season prior to that. And frankly avoiding getting lesser talent(s) exposed on longer post-season prep’ times is regular season Coaching the capitalized Verb.

Also known to be an age-group champion distance runner. 3-cheers on the few who still push the aging envelope!

As the first likable r-shirt commander himself since the final ‘shots fired’ of 1776, or coach Clawson the human quadratic basically only needs four years to win anywhere. Check it out: Fordham: 0-11 in year one, 10-3 in year four. Richmond: 3-8 in year one, 11-3 in year four. Bowling Green: 2-10 in year two, 10-3 in year five. Wake Forest: 3-9 in year one, 8-5 in year four. Or to put this another way… In 2017, coach Claw’s fourth season at Wake, his Deacons not only won eight games; they also finished 31st in the end-of-year S&P+ rankings. And they hadn’t ranked in the top 35 of that since 1948! This is building the verb, people. It is also, rewarding; as coach Claw’ was rewarded with a new 2026 contract for a guy who has never ever lived in the same building for more than five straight seasons no matter his personal venue in the game of life.

Coach Davy is also quite possibly the only coach with conference title rings in the following categories: 1 Patriot (2002), 1 A-10 (2005), 1 C.A.A. (2007), 1 M.A.C. (2013), and 1 M.A.C. East Division (2013) crown.

While only being Conference Coach of the Year four times and only being a lowercase classification National Coach of the Year; twice. Only Head Coach in NC2A History to win 1o games in a single season at four different Division I institutions. I know that’s not the So.East. or murders row— nevertheless… is coach Claw’ the first coach in the history of history to do all of this? Coach Claw’ has also spawned one former underboss into a big whistle in his own right: namely: Russ Huesman: Chattanooga (2009–2016) then Richmond (2017–present).

Home court 1o1…

As this is kinda a social-needia era Frank; or a guy who does a lot with… less.

Daddy Clawson and his wife, Catherine, are the parents of two children,
Courtney and Eric.

2022 record:  8 up 5 down and 3-5 in the A.c.c. (OBSERVE: 100% of L’s were in-house).

Wake Forest Portaling:

  • Wr Walker Merrill (from Tennessee)
  • DLine Bryce Ganious (from Villanova)
  • DLine Nick Helbig (from Wesleyan)
  • Lb Jacob Roberts (from North Carolina A&T)

 Defense: (starters back=3!)

  • mo’ a forty (4o) set; though will toggle into an 8 deep or Nick’ 3o-front for passing downs.
  • 4oth in Total D.
  • 53rd vs. the run.
  • 42nd vs. the throw.
  • 6th in Passing Efficiency D!!!
  • 34th in zone-D!
  • 7.5 from 1o in dLine Havoc. The Dline needs some retooling. De1, Rondell Bothroyd was the main disruptive force on one else, tho’ he portaled off to Oklahoma. Fellow end Jasheen Davis led the team with 13 tackles for loss and tied Bothroyd with 13  TFL (tackles for loss). He’s back, Kevin Pointer is a decent veteran Dt2, and coming in from Villanova is the 6-2, 280-pound Bryce Ganious, a quick interior playmaker who made 58 tackles, four sacks, and ten tackles for loss over the last two seasons.
    Green=good, red=bad.

    Cue: Jasheen Davis. The fourth-year defensive end is a speed rusher who’s primed to become the next big thing on the Deacons’ defensive line; he led them with seven sacks as a part-time starter last year. He’ll need some help up front, though. De1, Jasheen Davis, he legit. As are his whopping 33-Qb-hurries in the last 1.5 years! After him however, there are a lot of unanswered questions, and if the Deacons are going to take another step forward on that side of the ball, As D’cord’ Brad Lambert & Co. need to identify some impact talent along the line. Talent is likely down here, internally in particular and it has dog-walked Depth along with it. This is clearly the third place of the 3-traditional Wake Forest defensive layers. The hope is that all-‘Nova (Wildcat) Dt1 and transferring Dt1 Bryce Ganious is no less than scintillating here. He’s pretty good; and pretty plucky looking physically up top or in the northern hemisphere. A ‘farm strong’ looking kid with a neat wingspan to boot. 6-time all-state (3 dLine and 3 oLine) plus a T&F star and this is an alluring portal get for Wake. After that much of the ’23 front-line work falls to: rookie year early enrollees De2, Kerrington Lee, Dt2, Chris Marable, and Dt3 Ka’Shawn Thomas. They may indeed be ’26 right as rain, though ’23 is a big leap -if not outright ask- here. Though did Eye mention Mister Davis and his Eleventeen Sacks and his 22 TFL (tackles for a loss) in the last ~1.5 seasons, yet? You really do need to account for #3o and his sizzling 4.59 forty time, and mind the sore on this Stud-De (wide side) each and every play. As Jasheen is kinda/sorta their very own c.Moore of yesteryear’s true-blue O&M disruptor fame; don’t seem his listed six-foot-three or 250+ lbs. either. (p.s. you call him: “Davis ⁴”, or so they tell me)! As this kid kinda has that could/should be playing O kinetic feel. (Not to mention Rb1 numerology). Finally, Wake is missing four, that’s (4) ex-starters up front here… so this dLine reboot may take a minute or three.
    Davis is a pass Stud, Wayman is a run End. Their very own c.Moore and j.Engelberger of sorts.
    Depth is okay here. Not deep, not thin. Seems to have come long a bit… Size is right at De though a brick(s) shy of a load at Dt. They are ALL Juniors and ’24 should be even Dt1’s and De1’s better.

  • V outta X in Linebacking Havoc. The Wake 2nd-layer or linebacking corps is getting a big-time tackler. North Carolina A&T’s Mike1, Jacob Roberts will eat up everything in the middle. He, and OLb1, Chase Jones is back on the outside after finishing with 74 tackles. The depth is young, although this ‘backing unit can flat-out move. A very bendy or quick bunch if not a buncha meathead ground-pounders. Early on their fresh legs connected to quick feet could be an issue; though Eye am curious to see how well that 4Q wears? As Ja.Rob’ scored 218 stops with 9.5 sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss at North Carolina A&T. wow; though just how ‘wow’ are the rest when they are not rested itself?
    Roberts is a real live disrupter. The other two are run-fit solid as can be. A very solid 2nd-layer, some say the best of the Deacon-D three. Size is nominal.
    Remember, this one is a twosey. Or two, that’s (2) LIb-twins.
  • 6 in 1o in Secondary Havoc. S1, Malik Mustapha is the truth. After that… there is a LOTTA green wood or unseasoned guys thrown to the fire here. As this Deacon third-layer secondary has to come up with more big plays and stops with just five of the seven picks last year and no one getting more than one. (Linebackers snagged two INT’s). Caelen Carson is good at one Corner spot, and DaShawn Jones is a promising sophomore Cb2, on the other side. Safety Chilean Garnes was second on the team with 71 tackles, and Evan Slocum should shine as a veteran in the nickel job.
    As only one Cb (Caelen Carson) has hardly any pre-season collegiate stats racked up thus far. Wake Forest has depth at linebacker and safety. A theme in the spring that’ll carry into fall camp is finding Cornerbacks behind Caelen Carson, a fourth-year starter who’s missed a handful of games the past two seasons. The Deacons do not have another Cornerback on the roster who has started more than one college game. Wake Forest was able to hire Cb’s coach Chip West away from Syracuse, and that could pay off immediate dividends. West and head coach Dave Clawson go way, way back (to Fordham in 2oo3) and West also has experience working with defensive coordinator Brad Lambert. In three years with the Orange, all of his cornerbacks earned All-ACC honors. Dang. That’s coaching the verb to be sure. What is not so sure is… the little factoid that Wake Forest has struggled in coverage in recent years, giving up 29 passing TD’s in 2o22, among the worst in the country. Though Wake did ink all-everything Cb1 prospect: Antonio Robinson (#1 in-state, KY), and much is expected here; prolly right away expected at that. Wake does have 3 former starters onboard at Fs and Ss combined; though the Cb’s not named: Carson has the used-cars look-n-feel to them to the ex-Flanker1 in me. S is stronger than Cb. Jones takes a lotta risk(s) on film; he does hit a few; though he gets burnt on a few too. Carson has tucked Wr’s away; outfoxing the same. (Too early or too, late)?
Wake base D. a very Even look.
  • D overall: The Deacon defense hasn’t really recovered from Mike Elko’s departure in 2o17. The Deacs averaged a 21.o defensive SP+ ranking with Elko but have averaged 87.2 ever since! That’s (a lack of) coaching the verb; and frankly, at least a modest dip in halt-unit recruiting once their main man got all flannel shirts and Brawny Towels manly somewhere else. Over the past five years, they’ve allowed a ghastly 44.4 points per game in losses. Wake Forest went from forcing 29 turnovers in 2o21 to creating only 16 last season, and there was a four-game stretch in which Wake’s defense failed to force any. Not quite so kinetic, are they? The quickest way to create more turnovers? Generate pressure. Hence mo’ dealing and risk taking thus far in ’23.
    Sophomore coordinator Brad Lambert does have success on his résumé, and he’s got disruptive pieces such as De1, Jasheen Davis, Lb1, Chase Jones, and S1, Malik Mustapha to work with. In theory, the defense will need to offset offensive regression for Wake to keep winning… this appears a bit theoretical to us four indeed.
  • (film-study):
    Saw me some kinda basic, regulation -if not vanilla- thingys here. Wake is a lotta heady thingys, tho’ exotics or Kamasutra they ain’t. Missionary works all the way. A few % puritanical from these Baptists’ if you will. Or, they early-season were… now they are taking mo’ risks…
    Anywho… Wake does elevator in/outta 3o to 4o and 4o to 3o fronts. They will do the same with Cb intensity on-edge. With a lotta base halves behind that. Covering Two. Or quarter-bounce into Cover-4. Wake is northward bound upfront though and this smoked with Clemson a few times too. They ain’t weak-sauce down-low to be sure. D is not asexual and doesn’t make many misQ’s or beat themselves. They rally well and seem to be a bit mo’ athletic than just ‘well coached’. They flow horizontally and try to keep everything in front of ’em. A mite read-react then attacks. This is a good D; mo’ physical than b4 and #3 is just a rubber band looking to ‘snap’ at you in the open field. Really hitty baller there.
    Wake pursuers well down the L.O.S. (line-of-scrummage) and makes a lotta backside plays. Pretty dang tight tackling team to boot. Lb’s can bite forward or occupy shallower hook zones and if we had a real Te boot/drag that should midfield be available here. Ditto a jump-pass like Navy with Satubach when they nibble forward as their 1st-moves go.
    #3o is a quick blitzy guy with a knack for this. Rb’s gotta mind his store here.
    This D does a lot too. Twists, loops, zone-blitzes, heistations (like the O mesh-point) thereof. They really Elevators up/down in/out of pre-snap looks. Eyeballs and heads on swivells and I’s and Q’s please report to the Worsham Field dancefloor! In fact, they have done mo’ of this as mo’ of ’23 has moved along.
  • ∑ (summary): returning D production=59% (75th most). The whole D is your secret sauce offender here. They are said to be paying at a really high level. (Near) peaking like the colours outside, even.
    So, understand what time it really (defensively) is here… jus’… watch.
    Wake (lately) runs a higher-risk higher-reward D that is predicated on taking or making turnovers away from you. Some of that high-risk vis-à-vis high-reward concept is due to the fact that they have not conceptualized uppercase high-end halt-unit Talent(s) overall by the bye just yet. So, one way to deal (foreshadowing intended) with that is to deal lessor guys on gap-jumping blitzes and odd-ball alignments. The caveat being; that you still have some lowercase guys trying to range or make up ground when the opposing O finds the vacancy that the dealt guy just left. This leads to some chunky plays that Wake just cannot get to in time to prevent. Hell, or high-h2o here folks. Though Wake does make some big D plays for all this risk to be sure.
    Mustapha can be downright mustuffa, when he wants the work. Tho’ he hard to manage/predict. Very good player when he (finally) decides to be. Kinda their André Davis on D. Will could do a video on him, for it. Bakers-12, loaf, loaf, then? BIFF! BAM! POW! Adam West —Batman!
    Wakes one bugbear has been run-fits going misfit and opponents breaking contain. In particular vs. the off-Ot run. King Tut’ and Coach Steve Martin please report to the game-breaking dance floor.
    However, Wake is tight as Foxtrot in the redzone. Where the field is SMALLER/shorter. And that seems to speak to recovery speed -or the lack thereof- to us.
    D only starts one Senior; should be even better next year for it.
    D rolls 17 deep. Which is basically code for: 1-G, 1-Forward, and 1-Center or 8-deep in hoops terms.
    This is an extremely solid if not spectacular D. Very solid. You have to go’on and straight beat ’em. They won’t be giving you much.

Defensive letter-grade:


Offense: (returning starters=4)

  • 7oth in Total O.
  • 6oth in ground O.
  • 71st in aerial O.
  • 65th in Passing Efficiency O.
  • 95th in zone-O.
  • Qb1 now Qb(n)one: Gone is all-everything Hartman (to N.dame). That hurts and this jus’ in… rain is still rumored to be, wet. Accordingly, the obvious place to start is the most important position on the field. Quarterback Mitch Griffis steps into the role he temporarily held to start last season. Griffis was solid against V.m.i. (288 yards and three touchdowns passing), then Sam Hartman was back for Week 2. Now Griffis takes the reins for the Deacons. What the 5-foot-1o, 188-pound fourth-year Qb1 lacks in size he makes up for with precise throws, mobility, and a competitiveness that’s a requirement under head coach Dave Clawson and offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero.
    Enter ’22’s Qb2, Mitch Griffis. Recall… that since 2o17, Wake Forest ranks in the top 25 nationally in Total QBR (14th), passing yards (16th), yards per pass (23rd), and passing touchdowns (sixth). The Deacons’ past three Qb1’s: John Wolford, Jamie Newman, and Hartman, have all been tremendous success stories. No pressure here, right?
    LOL… anywho, onto Griffs… Griffs is a somewhat lowercase looking: 5′1o″ ‘ish or slightly d.Fluite built 188 lb., Ashburn, Va., Commonwealth escapee. Being: Broad Run H.S.’s career passing leader in every single category, Regional Player of the Year and 1st-team All-State does not suck. Second team All-Virginia by USA Today, a three-year scholastic starting Qb1. His old man: (Matty) is only the head football coach at Broad Run and young Griffs is only an Academic all-conference selection @Wake. So, you’d have to think the gridiron head game is pretty well- ironed out here. Mitch is also one of the (very) few clean-cut Semper Fine looking Qb1 prospects… what with zero javelins/piercings and likewise zero ink. As not many Clearasil or clean-skin hommies remain. Mitch carries a local B.B.Q., N.I.L., (prolly helps keep his oLine happy), he is said to swing a mean stick (quality though hot-tempered: Golfer) and he is camera turnkey savvy while not taking himself way toooooo social-needia seriously. i.e., this is a ’23 breath of fresh air.
    He does some Cuban volunteer (kido’s) work on the side with his soccer-start g/f and he gets kisses from his bestie. As Qb1 itself goes… Mitch has started over half a season (now) in relief of the dinged-up Hartman last year a couple of times. Due to the cv19 mulligan, he is a fourth-year r-Soph’ or reasonably seasoned at this point in his career. Griffs had some Ivy League offers; so, this is not a dum’-jock of a Qb1. Listed as a pocket Qb1; though seems to hurl better than ground to me. Kinda (in a way) their very own Grant Wells of sorts. Albeit per mo’ pass and less rush. His mesh with the signature Wake ‘slow-mesh-O’ is on its way. And oh yes… there is this passing fancy as well… Washington ‘skins came to run routes at Broad Run during the offseason, and they asked for him to throw to them! After that, the requests kept coming. wow. (He is their off-season localized pitch-hitter Qb1 on the side!) That counts. As does his rep’ as a: ‘natural born leader’. First to arrive last to go from the Practice facility. Griffs also carries a: can ride: “clutch” tag as late-game heroics go and this dates back to his H.S. work as well. Griffs is a mo’ in-your-face guy when need be and has the rare bandwidth to connect with basically ’23 everyone. In ’23 the logs and splits show us that so far… Giffs -as one H.S. source put it to me- “dominated the Va.H.S. scene, so there is that.In ’23 Splits R&D terms and we see… Griff’ -although not a: mitch (male-beeyotch) outright- has been cooling off the same as the weather of late. Not autumnal awful, though his RTG metric has dropped every week less one. That, and two of his five QBR games have been atrocious whereas one was virtually bad itself. i.e., we really need to make this Qb1 be *the* one to show that he can beat us here. Griff is just a little worse Away than at Home. However, he is one, or two actually redeeming thingy(s)… he is a grinder and he is a closer; to be sure. As Griff is +9% better in the 2nd half overall and he is a downright clutch -if not stellar- +2o% better in the 4Q of play! A.B.C. men. Always, be; closing. Mitch surely seems to get with that. Surprising and most impressive. Good on him. Finally, and although nobody’s rusher via pocket-protector trade… the only time Mitch gets upfield at all is during the same 4Q heroics. When he takes it upon himself to become mo’ than himself. Again, this is an admirable cardiac trend.
    Qb2: Michael Kern can game-manage -if not- outright play.  Kern’s in his fifth year in the system and is something of a glorified Mark Leal if you will. Dependable if not a game-maker his ownself. His 139 up to a nifty looking 161-Qb-ratings makers in the last three years of relief bullpen duty tell you he is efficient if nothing else. Said to be mo’ parts passer than rusher; a throwing climber or Baltic Ave. man’s son.of.Juergensen in O.G. terms..
Mitch’s girl is a real SocHER for Wake!
  • Rb1: Running back Justice Ellison has a broken-in if not tested 3o7 career carries, yet no other returning back has more than 14 totes. Overall, the ground game averaged just 3.4 yards per carry in ’22; yet Justice Ellison averaged over four yards a pop with a team-high 7o7 yards. He’s back, he is where we shall ’23 Rb, start…
    r-Jr., Justice Ellison returns as does his sidekick or Rb1b: Christian Turner. As this is one of the better 1-2 Rb1/Rb2 A.c.c. top-2 rushing punches right now. Both are B— caliber guys. Justicar or Justice Ellison is an Ashburn, Va., escapee who escaped in ’22 for: 7o7 yards and seven majors (TD’s) to boot. Good for 3rd-string All-A.c.c. Rb1 and the: A.c.c. All-Academic Team 1st-string does not hurt one-iota (1ι). ‘juice’ (a big Rb1 moniker to live up to, to be sure) is listed at 5′1o″, and 2o8 lbs. He seems smaller (i.e., shorter) than that to me upon breaking tape. Anywho… he is a rusher nearly only— (as he only averages 6.5 snags/year in receiving terms). As this is a steady Rb1 more so than a smashing or game-breaking Rb1. Very steady. And he will hit peeps on turnovers when turned tackler and he seems to buck up a notch vs. BIGger named opponents. Eye do like that. Still yet, he does have a history of right leg dings (St.Culbreth help) and that may be a slower here. Also saw a film of them working his left knee (St.Nikon bless); and again, maybe he’s not on 2 good wheels full-time? That said, he did play Rb1, Wr, and Qb in high school; so, a threat of trickeration is in the air here. And he did catch the ‘ball (a lot) more in scholastic terms, in fact, Ellison enjoyed better Wr than Rb stats by-the-bye. Strong defender (Cb1) with ½ of his Picks returned for 6. Again, this guy seems like he could/should be a mite more explosive than he D-1 is. As he seems to wear a bit as the year wears on. Though, his old man balled for Franky least we forget.
    The other Rb1b: (Christian Turner): goes: call-sign: (Cee-Tee), is a 5′11″, 2oo lb., r-Jr. He is core-tore all the hell kinda up lookin’ freak. Think: Cyrus Lawrence’s level of ‘core’ exercising.
    And then he transferred to Indiana? Dang.
    Rb2’ish: Quinten Cooley, well; he kicked rocks to: Liberty.
    Rb3’ish: Will Towns did say put. Also staying put would be his: 5′11″, 2o3 lbs. Will is a r-Soph. and he is the more elusive or dartier guy on film. Will had nice though not good and not great scholastic statistics. So, this is either a ‘find’ or a bit of a ‘reach’ as a Rb1 take goes. Not sure yet, time=tell here… as this is a graffiti kinda kid who actually has a knack for the outdoors. Interesting. to be sure.
    Film-room: Claiborne is their King-Tut’; he shakes peeps and they stay, shook.
  • Wr(s)/Te1: Wr1: A.T. Perry transferred (up) to the NO.Saints. That leaves Griffis’ with four receivers returning in 2o23 who (STILL) had at least 5oo+ receiving yards last season. Wild ain’t it? And it shows you just how salty the Dec’s throw-shapes were in ’22. As this is (easily) the deepest and prolly the most Talented part of the ’23 Wake O. There may not be a pure star to A.T.P.(erry). alpha here, though there are a handful of semi to pretty-goods and that does not suck. As the Top-3 returning Wr’s: Jahmal Banks, Donovan Greene, and Taylor Morin had great production last year, combining for 126 snags, 1,853 yards, and 23 TDs. This may not be a singular apex-predator vanguard unit; though it is surely a very deep catch-crops itself. Throw in Wr3, Merrill Walker from Tennessee, and this group is more than fine and deeper than it is fine itself. As 2 of the Wake Top-4 Next Level prospects catalog or log in Wide Receiving here. (Morin+Banks and 9 of the Top-10 if you count: Green too!)
    Banks is a Swann/Stallworth type; he goes and gets the rock for his ownself. The rest? Not so much. The catch is, they go down easily; not very fighty, easy to tackle. Banks is my kinda Fl1— he uses Nitschke’s forearm blows and punches right back with punchers. Prolly make a good stalker/cracker-backer too.
  • oLine: Only 40% of ’22 1’s have ’23 returned here and that is something of a left-tail or Experience Curve and prolly Learning Curve foible (if not Gap, (pardon the x’s and o’s punny)) for the blocking Dec’s. This from a ’22 O-line that struggled in pass protection has a whole slew of parts to replace. Luke Petitbon is back from an injury and has moved to starting C1 with redshirt senior Michael Jurgens shifting over to G1. That’s cv19 or sixth-year center Michael Jurgens who is at guard for the first time; Jurgens was Hartman’s center and roommate and has played in 49 career games, the most of any of the offensive linemen. So, the internal G-c-G wedge is the more surefire part here. Edges and Ot-play are less known or at least less proven. As the offensive line departed a pair of All-A.c.c. performers, it has a couple coming back too in Michael Jurgens and DeVonte Gordon, with veteran upperclassmen players finally getting their chance at their inheritance spots. Won’t be many misQ’s here, though they will miss M.J. and DeVo’ at some point down-low upfront. There is some depth here; though the thesis of thought is that ’23 is a year away from being deep on being primed or ripe. (Such is the inherent nature of cyclic r-shirting work).
    Odd or left-side is studly. Expect Wake to go here when the chips get big-n-blue. Even or right-side is a real live mess in the last two contests, however. Even-Ot1 is just plum, bad.
Wake base O: 2-wide Spread/’gun with Hb and Wing.
  • O overall: Over the last three seasons, O’cord’ Ruggiero’s offense has scored nearly 1,4oo points, the highest-scoring three-year period in school history. Gonna be tough to better or keep that pace; though pacing they should still enjoy. Besides Qb1, the rest of Wake’s offense has a “what’s old is new again” theme. Almost every player on the two-deep has spent at least three seasons at Wake Forest. As they are the sworn enemy of the left-tail or short-side of the Experience and the Learning Curves alike.

    Green=good, red=bad!
  • ∑ (summary): returning O production=46% (117th most!). There are question marks here… albeit tradecraft not (yet) being among ’em. (See: below for coaching poaching down @Wake). As offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero is still in place -no one has successfully plucked him away yet- along with a diverse and potentially dynamite receiving corps, the floor should remain reinforced.
    Still, yet, can a new starting Qb1 (likely 5-foot-1o sophomore Mitch Griffis) create the same ceiling? And where will the offensive line regress after jettisoning three starters? That, and the Wake O is whispered to have had a pretty banjaxed or beat-up spring and August Camp (Godspeed). So, you have to wonder just how far they are long being where they want and/or could actually be?
  • (film-study):
    Saw me some retro looks here. Like double-pulls, lotta oLine reaching and off-T thingys. Kinda basic meat-n-potatoes Dinty Moore Stew with a dash of ’23 R.P.O. seasoning(s). C1 is wild to watch, he literally (left-arm) points/extends well across the Line-of-Scrimmage and if you timed his Flex just right, he’d be making unheard-of offensive offsides from a C1. Qb1 is a quick/darty and brave one on their hesitation goes/Qb-draws and/or Plunges. You really do gotta have plucky Dt’s and Mikes (yikes) alike to deal with this internal business here. Qb1 is not afraid to take risks, not on passing, not on pitching. Be that early, on time, or late. He seemed smaller upon breaking tape to me than his listed metrics as well. I’d like to see Lawson or Strol’ chin-check him a bit. Wake has some very compact bunch looks. So, assignment football is paramount here. Wake will go quads and try fo’ some quick hitting short+++ to just medium looks. A bit more in-line and kinda a slightly vertically extended West Coast look if you will. Rb1 (Godspeed) got shaken up vs. the Tigers; we shall see about that. Tho’ they are plucky at full medicine as Rb(s) go. Just not very big. Receivers will run peeps off vertically to throw something ‘coming back’ underneath. Again, the depth of this surprised me a bit. Qb1 is a bit Kosar or sidearm cockeyed at times; might be a deflection to be nabbed here. That and oddly enuff, there is little screening here. Windows are shut, and insects are kept out via glass. Which does make some hesitation move on the mesh-point sense. It is hard to see into the flats like dats for a shorite Qb1. Finally, this kinda shortie/lowercase Qb1 holds the ‘ball; for a while. He looking and looking and looking for something/someone to come open… And do recall, this is a collapsing V-cup bag of a blocking scheme. Via design/intent. It looks worse than it TFL-allowed is. This is also something of a borrow on Ragsdale’s famous Giles Co. O. Qb & Rb’s much block for each other here.
  • 59% run:pass 41% mix. Carney is your secret sauce offender here; he has a very sharp ypc marker for limited looks.
    Wake is 133rd or dead-last in punch-in-rate (TD’s) in the zone. Like Todd Greenwood is all over here. However, our defensive punch-out-rate is zone 3rd worst! LOL. Something(s) gotta give here.The whispers along the campfire also say… Mitch presses as Qb1. You can genie takeaways when he presses and tries to do/get too much all at once. They also say he is: ‘o-ver-ra-ted’. (clap-clap-clapclapclap). And that he hates Playboy and full-frontal pressures. Which is not a good (slow)-mesh-point swagg; is it?
    Wake O puts in a lot, that’s a LOT of G-c-G work via schematic habit. VT Dt(s) and Mike “Please stand up, please stand up”!
    Finally, this is not that dynamic of an O. More parts starter E.S.M. coursing in Norris, or: Statics. They are singles and doubles hitters. Not HR 22ov power jackers or Mr. October smackers.
    11ov, or… dOmesticated.
    As in… Wake Forest is deforested or 13th of 14 teams in the A.c.c. for league games in scoring offense (14.o ppg)!

Offensive letter-grade:

BONUS: this is one of the MOST consistent teams Eye’ve scouted in decades.
Nearly symmetrical about themselves.

Special Teams: (each returns)

Wake ranks 78th in Net Punting and so do/does the four different Dec’s who have booted Punts in the last 1.5 years give/take. (Including the PK1 Matty down below). Mora, Ivan… -no (coaching the verb) relation- seems to be the P1 du jour or de année’ here. (NO relation to the Wr1/PR1 who sounds/spells (nearly) the same). Anywho… Mr. Mora is a r-Soph’ from Dalton -double deuce- Georgia. He is on a buncha preseason Watch Lists (Ray Guy among ’em) for overall P1 and that could be a clue. Ditto being a highly unusual H.S. team Captain; tritto being the No. 3 kicker and No. 1 punter by Kohl’s Kicking! Dang. Wake is footsie loaded for bear folks. Was merely Kohl’s #1, that’s no.one or numeral-uno ranked P1 outta their 6oo P1’s camp! Dang, that counts. Was also ~75% on his H.S. F.G.A.’s and can place-kick and KO in a pinch. (H.S. long make=49 yards so he has at least enuff leg). Also, all-State (foutball) or soccer, twice; and got 2-zebra ball blings to show for it. Cousin, Adrian Mora, kicked for Georgia Southern from 2oo8-11; older bro’ Eder played soccer at ‘bama. So, there is legwork D.n.a. in play here. Ivan was additionally a 3-time all student-athlete in H.S. and that rolls honor to boot. Has a leg range of right at 60 yards for a career punting long. Has had a punt sent back or snuffed out. Has also improved and added a ½-wedge or I20 (inside the 2o) directional punting to his game as of last year.

The real jump forward can occur on kickoffs. Wake’s touchback percentage (17.2)% last season was the third worst in D-1. If Mora doesn’t improve in that area, lead-footed true freshman Tyler Black could KO-specialist take over.

  • 55th in Punt Returns | 4oth in KO returns.
  • 2nd best in punt coverage!!! | and yet in 84th suicide-squad. Go fig’ here?
  • WF has blocked o kicks and allowed o kicks to be blocked.
  • WF has blocked o punts and allowed o punts to be blocked.
  • Wake does take near 11-man F.G.A. block risk(s) at times; there could be a Trickeration opening here to the Will side. (i.e., wide).

5′11″, 184 lbs., Matthew Dennis is your incumbent PK1. 98% P.A.T.’s and 86% F.G.A.’s as a rookie year P5 PK1 does not such and neither does Matthew ‘the menace’. His turnkey Howdy Doody satire looks-based attempts aside… this is an interesting PK1 to be this dang young. And this is a veteran or big-time recruiting get for Wake. Rated as the No.1l Kicker in the 2021 Class by 247sports; All-North Carolina Kicker1 by Rivals.com. He was only keepin’ it 1oo in high school. As in 100% on his FGA’s! WoW. Never read that before; though never read he missed 7 P.A.T.’s as well (94.89% from 17 yards); go fig’ on this?!? Though still yet, 56 of 57 P.A.T.’s would seem like that scholastic chip-shot foible is collegiate behind him. All-A.c.c. Academic Team never sucks. Top-11 in basically every single ’22 kicking category National as a nugget-year or rookie voter never ever sucks. As Matty is a rarefied (in the specialization era) Triple-Threat… PK1, P1, and KO-specalist1 if need be, all rolled into a three-way, one. Only had one make north of 38 last year… seems to be something of a Benard King or mid-range specialist (46 is his Wake career max’ make). Although, enough toe into the ‘ball to KO would beg to differ here. Zero kicks blocked thus far. As this is a very accurate guy who stays within himself and that nearly weaponized the PK1 position for the Dec’s.

Thus ’23 far… Dennis has not been much the booty Menace… what with 91.7% on P.A.T.’s (1-miss) and 84.6% (2-misses). That’s not Miss. Dennis caliber work. That’s pretty solid. With zero career blocks on coming up on ~45 F.G.A.’s for his collegiate lifetime and he can punt and double leg-duty dip in a traveling squad pinch. The only knock is his average+++ leg. A booming K1 he just ain’t. Look for some pooch-punts or go for it on 4th-n-short just into positive territory here.

Special Teams letter grade: Wake is reasonable here. They do what they can with what they gots. They do not gots electrifying housing guys, however. A likewise reasonable B- is about fair.

Unit Rankings:

  1. Wake D.
  2. Wake O.
  3. VT D.
  4. VT O.


  • motive: As bowling Post-Patterns in the post-season go… Wake needs this and yet if anything? VeeTee may just need this even worse. EDGE=hometeam here.
  • weather: There is a chance for some weather here… this would only injure the naughty-looking Wake slow-mesh/hesitation. EDGE=check at ~3:2o PM to be (mo’) sure.
  • health/off-field: both teams are about evenly dinged up headcount-wise. VeeTee is mo’ dinged up where its limited star power counts most. EDGE=Decs.
  • penalties: Under the venerable Davy Clawson, Wake typically averages right at a tricentennial or 3oo yards LESS of yellow laundry per year than their opponents do! wow. Disciplined 1o1. Only 7th best here this year. They suck. And yet they are way way way ahead of us here. EDGE=Decs, by a mess, too!
  • intangibles: T.O.P. (time of possession) and the all-important Turnover Margin are both kinda close. Though Wake trails in neither. EDGE=Decs, by a cumulative little bit(s).
  • fatigue: This is our R&R nadir or S&C testiest test of the year. Wake was OPEN a fortnight ago to boot. EDGE=Decs, by quite a ‘fresh legs’ logo-3 bit, too.


R.A.T.T.: ...the key(s) to opening this boney of a lock are, what(s)?

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Illation, conclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of  Decs who could preach @Tech=11

the takeaway:


…the takeaway(s) here is that after 7 straight bowling post-seasons… the Winston-Salem poachers are out!

Clawson’s reward for this level of success you ask? How ’bout departing two defensive coordinators in six years to different jobs and brown-dwarfing several stars to the transfer portal, including Rb1: Kenneth Walker III (to Michigan State) in 2o21, his replacement Rb1: Christian Beal-Smith (South Carolina) in 2o22, stud-Qb1: Sam Hartman (Notre Dame) and another possibly emerging star De1: defensive end Rondell Bothroyd (Oklahoma) in 2o23.


Yes, Clawson is indeed coaching the verb…

…although this many star departures are pretty dang verbose.

As Wake is a solid, veteran; always-be-r-shirting team —with a more than solid Head Coach— though their ’23 footing is not quite as pinnacle-looking as it was before.

’cause if this Program does not dip a bit this is prolly Professional (or: level-up) coaching the verb.


xxx’s & ooo’s:
Gotta favor the more settled Staff who is way further right-tailed across the Experience, the Learning, and the Familiarity Curves alike; all 3.

formulae here favors:
A B-side guy having an A-side rise up and carpe diem the way.

This is just that kinda outta know-where, day!


Has *the* Don Trumped himself or is old-man Joe out-FOX’ed and plum Tuckered, out? BeRock O’biden his time? Kamala the non-Ugandan non-Giant?

Now that your fascist blood is big pumpin’… the polytrix of Fight Club here rate about an 8.

Both squadrons need to straighten up and fly right; right about now… funk; show, lover(s).

As a win -for either- team does quite a dang bit for the rest of their year. As Wake’s roe is tough to ho’ (see what I did there fascists plural?) and VeeTee’s is closer to an off-season off-ramp, on the L.


  1. Δ1=33% the home team rises up and Gips one for the Gipper or something akin. As this is where you are supposed to learn how to win, first.
  2. Δ2=5o% the away team is too well coached; too Talented and figures out way(s) to do just enough to get by or nick this one late.
  3. Δ3=8% that we need extra innings here. (Hence the bonus percent). ; )

#ChallangeA.c.c.epted… there are 1,440 minutes in a day and yet again our guys gotta go the distance and maybe even dance all nite and dance a little Ric Flair longer if they wanna win here.

the optics…

Wake typically wins the 1st-half by about 125 aggregated PPG tallied/year. The 2nd-half however and not so much. As this is breakeven or a slight deficit spending. Due to the fact that Wake lacks quality depth. i.e., the time to get them is in the Championship Rounds when even their superior coaching the verb can no longer conjugate conditioning or lack of P5 Top-22 depth itself.

BONUS: ditto Coach Clawson being just south of .5oo in the closing month of collegiate business or November itself. A.K.A., again, this is due to what depth Wake does have getting early-season long-minutes and getting close of business beat-up and worn, down.

the skinny

Wake Forest was 7-o last year when allowed teams to hit 62% or fewer of their passes, and yet a fugly looking 1-5 when it gave up more. BTW, Most of those L’s came on the road. Though 62% is your 62 MBs of in-game Mercury or barometer.


WWI: “The Great War”…

Trench Warfare favors…

Lo.FM (Long-field Management©)

  • The VeeTee O is now a centric 67th best on 1st-downs | whereas the Wake D is a downright salty 11th best in 1st-down defense!
  • The Wake O is a better-than-average 48th best on 1st-downs | whereas the VeeTee D is a precisely matching better-than-average 48th best in 1st-down defense.
  • The VeeTee O is, however, a nearly pitiful 117th best on 3rd-downs | whereas the Wake D is a thrifty 25th best in 3rd-down defense! yikes.
  • The Wake O is an okay enuff 52nd best on 3rd-downs | whereas the VeeTee D is a below-average 89th best in 3rd-down defense. Hmmmmmm…

Lo.FM Analysis:
So, here we see that although only truly dominant on 3rd down D vs. our 3rd down O… anything VeeTee can d0 on any down Wake can do on any down, better. A rarified 4×4 twice perfected sweep. Electroluxed, Shop Vac’ed. They won everything. And Eye’d have to say that that favors Wake Forest here. The only quibble would be in weighting the advantage itself. EDGE=Wake fair-to-middling, maybe mo’?

(UPDATE: Wake did most of this work vs. their 2 bum-fights… EDGE is NOT
as big as I had first thought here, closer to push, actually).
3:30 PM tip!

TTT (Time To Throw©)

  • The Hokie O is a leaky-looking 97th-best in T.F.L. (tackles for a loss) allowed O | whilst the Deacon D is a solid-looking 39th best in T.F.L. inflicted D! Dang…
  • The Deacon O, however, is a very user-friendly 120th best in T.F.L. allowed O | whilst the Hokie D is a reasonable 49th best in T.F.L. inflicted D! wowow…
  • The Hokie O is an immodest 82nd best in Sacks allowed O | whilst the Deacon D is a near brutal 14th best in Sacks inflicted D! Shoot…
  • The Deacon O, however, is a stunning 3rd from last (127th best) in Sacks allowed O | whilst the Hokie D is a respectable 44th in Sacks inflicted D! w0w0w0w!

TTT Analysis:
So, here we see that although one could rightfully write that both D’s have the EDGE -’cause they do- the Wake Forest Oline, sucks. I mean they are inviting, nearly begging you to run a train on their road (game) all nite and hung up, wet. This was not surprising; this was shocking. Though this is (yet again) why you run the maths, not yo’ moufs. EDGE=Hokie D. Though the Hokie D must at least turn this into a field-position win. Possibly even into a defensive score.

3-game splits…
The Wake O has felt a bit sleepy of late here. Cutting close to 2o ypg from both their rushing and passing triune totals alike. The Hokie halt-unit has actually tightened a bit vs. the run of late (Ripley’s: Believe It Or Not), and yet softened vs. the throw which has created a net deficit of about an extra 1st-down-n-change allowed to the bad guys. Go fig’ on that mix, too? The Hurrying Hokies O has actually gained +2o extra mo’ ypg in their last three. All of which is on the ground as chucking has dropped by 43 ypg. Though rushing has covered that bet by two 1st-downs overall to the good. The Deacon D has been close to Swiss or neutral of late, though just a mite worse vs. the run and a nearly matching mite better vs. the pass for a net 9′ Δ or change.

3-game analysis:
So, here we see that the overall cumulative call is for a 1-point VomiT or a single FTA-make to win this one for Wake. As these two are virtual identical isomers or mirror mirrors on the wall, recently. Trending toward each other— convergence— as Wake held a bigger statistical edge over VeeTee earlier in ’23.

H/A splits…
The Wake O cuts right at -6o ypg from itself in your house. No thanks to their run-shapes being outta-shape (~61 ypg grounding) out on the road. Their aerials are nearly static @Away. The Gobblers homesteading D is a little less lame in Lane. As the Hokies actually run-tighten by about 4o less ypg yielded in the 24o6o. Even if they are mo’ passing fancy user-friendly in their very own Blacksburg backyard (3o ypg worse). The V.P.I. O goes for kinda the same little bit mo’ @Home. As the Techsters throw better on Beamer Way. Though do understand this is very likely a throwaway outlying betterment due to Wells being sat and Jennings being out. We need more Drones’ data points here. All fingers point to that. The Dec’s-D is mo’ deliberate on the road; in particular vs. the airwaves. Where they disallow about35 ypg to the good. Their run-fills are only off by a few ypg worse or a nominal difference when going AAA TripTik and traveling.

H/A splits analysis:
So, here we see that the w.Forest has a few mo’ sojourning Ents than I had thought. As this metric predicts right at a full-play Vomit in favor of the Deacons. As Wake runs and passes a bit better though their run-fits on D are the bonus-pointer as Road Warriros go. It has been climbing and downright ascendent of very recently late.

Our handy dandy friend, the so-called: Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is merely calling for a nifty +16-point Tech Triumph. (Albeit off of only one data point (O.d.u.) mind yah).

Wake Projected S&P+: 48th.
Decs Projected S&P wins: 8.o W’s.

the call

…understand what this Deaconzing animal truly is folks…

Coach Claw’ is basically a Bill Dooley+++.


Or a fabulous flooring guy. Not a roofer. Not a ceilinger.

Orange Glow galore all over the neat-o keenest Linoleum. He good at dat. Tool-time 1o1 and make no mistake on the hammer mark he can mosaic tile up.

Is he -and therefore Wake- a ceiling guy or a roofer?

Well, he needs that kinda Talent first; to be sure either way.

As this is a near original-school worker bee kinda guy. And so are his wooden blocking/push sleds at practice and hitting pine-cone trees outside.

Nevertheless, the tacit point is… although he can out-coach you schematically;
superior ballars can still out-Talent him metrically.

the sportlight

Dave Clawson has guided Wake Forest to seven consecutive winning seasons and 19 victories since 2o21. Pretty fair-to-middling work if you ask me from little ole (typically) Weak Forest.

The Deacons should be a bowl team once again this fall but contending for a spot in the A.c.c. Championship or a finish in the top half of the conference will hinge on the development of quarterback Mitch Griffis and a defense that allowed 28.3 points a contest in ’22.

Still yet… it is a good thing there’s an on-ramp to the meat of the schedule, giving Wake Forest a month for players to acclimate into new roles and find comfort levels.

There’s little to be comfortable about once the calendar turns to October. A grueling eight-week stretch starts with a trip to Clemson, includes a game against Florida State, has a short turnaround game at Duke, and ends with trips to Notre Dame and Syracuse. That’s a big ask for even an elder statesman-stacked team that although it does ripen/season in a year; it is never confused for being Top-44, deep.


“It shouldn’t work, but it does.”
—A.c.c. Coach on: Wake

That pretty well sums it up.
Gestalt Theory 1o1.


The Verdict:

The Deacons haven’t won in Blacksburg since 1983.
And they won’t be winning in B’burg until at least 2o25!


And although only about 124 miles just barely nor-by-nor-west separate them here; this one appears to be hard to parse to me. Could very well take 65 minutes (or mo’) to be sure.

Nevertheless… and with only 17 mo’ shopping days until the 3o4’s annual adult license to steal erstwhile known as October 31st…

As ‘bear’ said… you learn to win @home, 1st.

The caveat being… these two are basically stuck on 17. Both scored and allowed; a lot, of late. That makes this a race to a 3-play game. Or, the 1st one to 4-plays, wins.

...methinks Pry leverages his Skeleton Key and just barely picks this lock, late.
And someone is about to go post-season sub-Deacon to Deaconate here.
The other one is bowling excommunicated or must reallllly November prostrate thyself.


upset Index=44%


Virginia Tech=3o, Wake Forest=2o


Please support the VT F.C.A.!





8 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I am thrilled that Bourbonstreet gives us the nod it would be a good win but not sure this team can finish with a win but here’s to hope great write up thanks

    1. they are Pitt+++.
      Hence the closer look.

      (Though similar invites/vulnerabilities).


  2. Thank you Bourbonstreet for your excellent prognosis.

    Can’t go with the Hokies until they show me the coaching ability to win. Coach Clawson wins this one easily.

  3. Now what just a moment my soothsayer from the Hills of Blue—-Wakes Defense is vulnerable to mobile QB–Score VT

    Wakes slow Mo offense Achilles Heel is DT penetration that can turn Deacon’s mesh to mush

    Wet balls suck in the vertical sense.

    As the leaves turn, God blesses the Hokies with a win on elements & up the middle penetration.

    VT 24. Wakey Leaks 14

    Let’s Go….Hokies!!!
    Exorcise the Demon Decs

  4. Excellent analysis except for your call on the weather. You think there is a chance for weather. I have looked into this closely and there is a 100% chance of weather in Blacksburg all day.

    1. happy ’bout this—–>b.street

      might just slop their slow-mesh-point for us.


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