Football midseason report

Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Athletic Communications

Photo courtesy of Wake Forest Athletic Communications

With its 2-4 start to the 2014 campaign, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons find themselves halfway through their first year under head coach Dave Clawson.

And, while many Wake fans have their sights ahead towards better days in the future, the 2014 season is still in full form and has Clawson’s full attention.

To recap what has transpired this year, Wake opened the season with a 17-10 late loss against Louisiana Monroe before coming home to top Gardner Webb 23-7. Wake then hit the road to take on Utah State where the Deacons suffered a double digit loss only to come home and squeak by Army 24-21. Wake recently dropped their last two games including a 20-10 defeat at Louisville before getting overwhelmed 43-3 at No. 1 Florida State.

However, to look forward, Wake has to put its past behind it. While reaching a bowl is still a possibility (although highly improbable), the Deacs can still have a somewhat respectable record in the ACC.

With a defense that ranks 10th in the nation and is led by seniors Kevin Johnson, Merrill Noel and juniors Brandon Chubb and Tylor Harris, Wake has the ability to stuff teams on the remaining schedule, especially Boston College, Syracuse and N.C. State. Currently, Wake gives up 24.0 points per game, and the majority of those points have come off turnovers. Credit defensive coordinator Mike Elko for doing a tremendous job with this group.

Wake’s offense has struggled and is a major cause for Wake’s losing record. While freshman quarterback has shown signs of promise throughout the season, he has not been given adequate time from a porous offensive line that is getting physically overwhelmed by opposing teams.

Wake’s rushing offense has been even worse than their offense as a whole, which currently ranks dead last among close to 128 Division 1A football teams. It currently averages a mere 31 rushing yards per game with three games ending in negative rushing yards.

If Wake Forest wants to win another game, they will have to fix their offensive woes. As Clawson has pointed out in many press conferences, sometimes there are not quick fixes for some of the offensive line issues that have been occurring. Wake has a young offensive line that has not had the time and energy to develop not only on the football field but in the weight room as well. Clawson is certainly in the midst of a true rebuilding process at Wake Forest.

With that said, the rest of the games on Wake’s schedule are winnable based off of how well the defense and special teams have been playing. If a few tweaks are made on the offensive side of the ball to develop a run game and alleviate pressure from Wolford, Clawson may earn his first ACC win while at Wake Forest.

However, if the Deacons continue to get beat up front, post negative rushing yards, and put their defense in compromising positions due to turnovers, expect Wake to respond from its bye week this coming week with more losses.

Wake’s future in football is bright recruiting class that is currently ranked top-35 by 247Sports coming in to Winston-Salem in 2015. Sometimes, timing is everything, but if Wake wants to be competitive this season, they better hope that the time is now.

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