In the world of modern sports media, a narrative can do a complete 180 on a dime, quickly replaced by another. Throughout its football history, however, Wake Forest football has largely followed the same script and been immune to any of these quick changes in perspective. Sometimes, though, there are exceptions — even in Winston-Salem.
In this space last week, we bemoaned the lack of offensive production in a disappointing 7-3 showing against mighty Tulane. What had been a rosy outlook for a possible 6 wins and bowl eligibility quickly became, “Will Wake Forest score against an ACC opponent?” Many fans turned their eyes to Saturday’s matchup at Wallace Wade Stadium anticipating the worst. What they got was…well, let’s break it down simply:
- Wake Forest scored 24 points.
- They won a(nother) football game.
- It was an away game.
- It was a conference game.
- It was against a Big 4 rival who had beaten the Deacs four straight times.
Now, I realize that Wake Forest still hasn’t anointed Kendall Hinton as the starting quarterback. At least not yet. But it was refreshing to see the coaching staff make an in-game adjustment and stick with it. Too often, coaches fall in love with a plan and get burned. Dave Clawson, to his credit, had seen enough- at least in Durham. That was just one of a few refreshing changes on Saturday.
Perhaps my favorite changes were found in the rushing totals, with a running back carrying for over 100 yards in a game. Cade Carney has been a football star nearly his entire life, and I had the good fortune of watching him dominate in high school a couple of times. I also knew that the moment he chose Wake Forest that Clawson was going to end up having to consider starting him. He was going to outwork everyone- and thus far, he has. He wasn’t the only one toting the rock, either, and the Deacs rolled to over 200 yards on the ground. I’ll take that any day.
We’ve heard the term “explosive plays” enough over the past few weeks that I shan’t linger on it, but is sure was nice to see some on Saturday.
The most important change, obviously, is the outlook (again) for the Deacs’ season. Next up for the Deacs are the Delaware Blue Hens, undefeated after wins over mighty Delaware State and Lafayette. This is a game the Deacs should win, frankly, putting them at 3-0 and halfway to the Magic Number of six wins.
Spare me with the, “Mediocrity should not be the holy grail” talk.
Let me be clear: this program has to get to a bowl game, and soon. The schedule sets up well for it, and, by golly that defense may be enough to carry them through. If, by chance, the offense follows…
Am I getting ahead of myself? Perhaps. But the 2016 Demon Deacons are going to tell one hell of a story, one way or another.