Duke vs Wake Forest: The Good, Bad, and Ugly
Not a single thing went right for Duke.
What went wrong?
Just about everything in the game. Defensively, Duke was completely unable to stop the Wake running game. Deacon Chris Barclay ran for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half (both career highs), and spent the second half with his pads off. Wake ran for 256 yards as a team, and threw a ridiculously low total of 4 passes, completing them all of course. On offense, Duke scored 14 points in the first half for Wake Forest. QB Mike Schneider coughed up a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, and also threw an interception that was returned to the Duke 3-yard line. When the Blue Devil offense wasnt turning the ball over, they were stumbling and sputtering against a very mediocre Wake defense. Granted, Wake executed their scheme very well, but Duke was stopping themselves with mental mistakes.
Player of the game:
One player on the Duke defense had a decent game. Senior DT Matt Zielinski recorded eight tackles, including five solo stops. Zielenski did a good job of getting into the Wake backfield and seemed to be one of the few Blue Devil defenders that played with any urgency at all. For his efforts, Zielenski wins TDD player of the week for the second time.
There isnt much analysis to be done, as Wake Forest dominated this game from the outset. Despite the relatively similar talent levels of the two teams, Wake executed their offensive and defensive schemes very well and Duke did nothing right. WF coach Jim Grobe and his players deserve lots of credit for their outstanding performance. As my high school football coach used to say, They lined up and physically wrecked us.
The Carl Franks era ended Sunday, as he was dismissed from his position as head football coach at Duke University. This years team has severely underperformed to this point, and sooner or later Franks was going to have to own up to that fact. The move comes during the middle of the season, which might seem odd to some, classless to others. Despite what many nay-sayers think, this was definitely the right move. Duke currently stands at 2-5. Despite returning almost every starter from 2002, the team had regressed to a point where they are getting blown out by average ACC teams like Wake Forest. This is a by-product of poor coaching. Athletic Director Joe Alleva had said that the team this year needed to show more improvement in the win-loss column. The way the team played on Saturday, there was no chance they would have won a game the rest of the season. The players looked unprepared and played uninspired. The head coachs job is to make sure that the team is ready to play every week. Franks failed at that task.
There is enough talent on the 2003 Blue Devil squad to compete with anyone in the ACC. Im not saying Duke could have won the conference championship, but on any given Saturday, they should have a chance. Franks was not giving the players a chance. Dukes 5th year seniors have NEVER won an ACC game. Im talking about good players like Chris Douglas, Alex Wade, Drew Strojny, and Matt Zielenski. They have never been on the field for an ACC victory. I think the athletic department at Duke owes them the courtesy of giving them the best chance to win an ACC game before they graduate. With the dismissal of Franks, I think the administration is trying to grant that wish.
For that, the administration has my thanks.