Weighing In On Wake

Wake Forest tailback Chris Barclay has always drawn comparisons to former FSU tailback Warrick Dunn. His No. 28, his stature, his running style and - most importantly – his numbers all resemble Dunn's.


Barclay – the ACC's active leader in career rushing yardage – has a few of Dunn's career marks in sight. Owner of 35 rushing scores, Barclay needs two to equal Dunn. The Wake back is 539 yards short of Dunn, who has 3,959 rushing yards, seventh in ACC history.

"The comparisons are an honor," said Barclay, who had the opportunity to chat with Dunn at the Kentucky Derby in the spring. "He was one of my idols growing up."

Barclay says a friendship was forged and the two keep in regular contact.

Despite missing the first game of the season because of a violation of team rules, Barclay still ranks fourth in the NCAA among active players in career rushing.

"Our kids admire him, he's never been in trouble since he's been here, it was way out of character for him," Wake coach Jim Grobe said. "He handled it well, never pouted or had his head down, came back when he was able to and went to work.

"From the time he got here you could tell he was a guy who had a little more maturity then everyone else, he comes to practice in a business like manor, he has never had a bad practice, he has just always been one of those guys who's really handled it well."

ABOUT FACE

After the offense flailed in the first four games with Ben Mauk behind center, Grobe returned the keys to senior Cory Randolph, who had been moved to wide receiver since losing the quarterback job.

The Deacs have also opted to return to their misdirection, option-oriented attack and have shelved an experiment with a West Coast passing attack. Wake also replaced its two starting receivers.

Randolph responded by completing 20-of-25 passes against Clemson last week.

TOUGH PERFORMANCE

Wake got a gutsy performance from linebacker John Abbate in its 31-27 triumph against Clemson last Saturday. Blood gushing from a cut on his face, Abbate tallied ten tackles and intercepted two passes against the Tigers. Four stitches were needed to close the cut after the game.

Abbate, whose parents are both FSU grads, earned the Bronko Nagurski Award for defensive player of the week for his efforts.

"It was fun out there," Abbate said. "That's why you play college football right there."

FAMILIAR FOES

Wake has 21 players from the state of Florida on its roster… Demir Boldin – brother of former FSU and current Arizona Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin – made his first start at receiver for the Deacs last week…Wake's Chris Davis (No.2) and FSU's Chris Davis (No.5) are both from St. Petersburg.

LOOKING BACK

Xavier Beitia kicked his first – and only – game-wining field goal with 1:05 to play to push the Seminoles over the Deacs 20-17 at Groves Stadium last season. Lorenzo Booker set up the clincher with a 46-yard run on a draw play on FSU's final drive.

Wyatt Sexton had an interception and a fumble returned for defensive scores that put Wake ahead 14-3 at the half. He atoned by throwing touchdown passes to Willie Reid and Dominic Robinson as the Seminoles escaped upset for the second consecutive week.

ETC

- something has to give – FSU allows 73 rushing yards per game, Wake averages 211. Since 2001, the Deacons have rushed for an average of 216 yards per contest at the expense of the Seminoles.

- C Steve Justice – a Florida native – and tackle Steve Vallos have been on the field for all 379 of Wake's offensive snaps this season.

WAKE PLAYER AND COACH QUOTES:

(By: Wake Forest SID)

Wake coach Jim Grobe:

On getting that close win:

"It seemed like it had been a long time since we had a quality win. We've been close so many times over the past year and a half so it was good to break through and get another one."

On the impact of winning on the young players:

"I think it's big. We do have some young players, and they have been practicing awfully hard. When you practice really hard and don't have anything to show for it, it's tough. That's a win that will stick with us for a while. That will help us down the road."

On Cory Randolph starting at quarterback:

"We won a football game against an ACC team, a good ACC team. Cory played really well. I was proud of him. I expected him to play well Saturday and he didn't let me down. He was special on Saturday. He's a guy that's been playing a lot as far as previous starts at quarterback. He has never been out of our offensive scheme being a receiver and playing quarterback. The problem is that he was only getting about a third of the reps in practice. That's the only thing I worried about. The week of the game, he got plenty of reps and looked really good in practice. Generally when you have a good week of practice, you play well on Saturday."

On playing in a tough atmosphere such as Florida State:

"It's hard, especially offensively. The defense usually doesn't have the same crowd problems because they don't want to hurt their offense. (The crowd is) usually cranked up the most when your offense is on the field, so it can be tough. Making checks is tough on the quarterback. He's got to concentrate. It makes it tough on the 10 other guys if we're trying to make checks at the line of scrimmage. It's a tough environment there's no question about it. Nebraska was an exciting environment, but we didn't play very well there. We haven't played well the last two times we've been down to Tallahassee. I think the key for us is to feed off the crowd and be excited but do your job. Typically what happens is your players get excited, but they forget to take care of business. You have to block and tackle if you want a chance to win."

On playing Florida State tight at home:

"I think the last couple of times we've played them here we've played them good. We did not play them well at all in Tallahassee. I think players and coaches like playing in big venues in front of big crowds, but in our case, we have to think while we're doing it. The last couple of years we've been down at their place, we've played hard but not very smart. The key for us is to have a game plan offensively, defensively and in the kicking game that we can go out and execute without having to spend too much time thinking about checks."

On Florida State:

"This might be as talented a team as we've played since we've been here. Defensively, I think they very well could be the best we've seen over the last five years. From an offensive standpoint, they've put things together. They've had some young quarterbacks that played great last week. They had nearly 500 yards of offense against Syracuse. This maybe the most balanced Florida State team we've played."

Sophomore linebacker Jon Abbate

On being on the other side of a close game:

"It felt real good. We played last season against Virginia Tech down to the wire, and we came a little bit short. It felt real good to come away with the win this time."

On the excitement of winning over Clemson:

"Playing a team like Clemson, and winning against them was incredible. Clemson is a top notch team in the ACC and they have unbelievable athletes. To come out with a win is a definite confidence booster."

On playing an away game with an intimidating atmosphere:

"You can go play a top 10 team like Florida State, in Tallahassee with 85,000 plus fans, and they all hate you. You just want to play, its just fun, that's what college football is all about."

On the motivation going into Florida State:

"To be the best, you have to play the best and beat the best. Florida State is the best. It's a challenge for us and we just have to accept it with open arms."

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Demir Boldin

On the win over Clemson:

"That win Saturday for the team was great. We had fallen short in a couple of games. That win against Clemson I think it brought us together as a team. It was motivation coming in to next week's games."

On his brother, Anquan Boldin:

"Yes, it's a sibling rivalry. It's all in the family. It's all in fun. He teases me and he always gives me advice, whenever we're at home together during the summer. We'll work out together and run routes. He's always given me guidance about the game."

On how the Florida State environment will affect the game:

"I was in that environment for the four years my brother has been there. I've always looked forward to actually playing on that field, so for me it's going to be a great experience. I don't think its going to have any affect on our performance."

Senior quarterback Cory Randolph

On the team's attitude:

"I think attitude on our team is very positive right now. We got a much needed ACC win last week, but we must focus on FSU. We have got a great challenge ahead of us, and I think our focus for the game will be very good."

On playing a game in his home state:

"For me, being from Florida, I look forward to the game. You see great players like Charlie Ward and Warrick Dunn having played there, and you dream of playing in an atmosphere like FSU. I like the challenge, the challenge of 85,000 fans rooting against you makes it that much sweeter when you come out with a win."

On the Clemson win:

"I think we have a lot of confidence, knowing that we can not only play with one of the top teams in the ACC, but also that we can beat them. It gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season."

Junior linebacker Pierre Easley

On the win against Clemson:

"We started the season off slow. The win against Clemson was very big and it helped our confidence. We need that confidence to go into a place like FSU, which is going to be a real big game."

On playing Florida State:

"You're going to be jacked up to play FSU because of the tradition that they have, but our coaches do a great job in coaching and preparing us for the game."

On Florida State's tradition:

"The tradition at FSU is unbelievable. I grew up an FSU fan. It's going to be great playing for Wake Forest and going into FSU to play against them."

On how to play well against Florida State:

"We need to tackle and play hard, and we will do that well. I don't think the players will be intimidated. We played them well in the past, and I think we will go down there and play them well."

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