Today, we are treated to a Q&A from Martin Rickman, Wake Forest blogger extraordinaire at Blogger So Dear. With the extreme lack of knowledge of all things Wake Forest, Martin will drop some knowledge bombs on us in preparation for the game tomorrow.
I answered some questions from Martin, which can be found here.
Now, on with the knowledge bombing.
1. At 5-3 with a win over Florida State, Wake Forest could probably be considered a surprise team this year. Are the Demon Deacons a surprise or did Wake fans expect a good season coming in and they just flew under the radar?
This season is a total surprise. The Demon Deacons won three games a year ago, and appeared to still be in rebuilding mode, especially with a difficult schedule that included opening the season @ Syracuse, as well as playing Florida State, Virginia Tech, UNC, Notre Dame and Clemson. But, the team could have pulled out a win against the Orange, had a huge upset victory over the Noles, and did what they needed to do against N.C. State, Duke and Boston College.
Fans would be content with six wins and a bowl bid, and absolutely thrilled with seven or eight wins.
2. Give us a quick scouting report on Chris Givens. What makes him so dangerous? How does Wake try to get him the ball?
He's quick, he runs great routes, he has phenomenal hands and he's physical. All things you look for out of a receiver. He's not the biggest guy on the field, but he has good leaping ability and good body control to get in a position to make a catch.
Wake will use a number of different ways to get him the football, between streaks and fades on the deep routes to using drag routes and bubble screens. He does a lot of his damage after the catch, so getting him the ball in space is a definite priority.
3. When I heard Wake's nose guard was 5'11 260 pound Nikita Whitlock, I assumed their interior defense was terrible. Then I saw Whitlock's numbers and watched him play and was surprised by how productive he was. How is Whitlock able to make up for his size disadvantage and be so disruptive?
Nikita has very good closing speed, so he makes a ton of tackles, even if he is a bit behind the ball to start. He has great technique on stunts and spin moves, and extremely strong hands to get separation and release from the block. It often takes two blockers to take him on, and when he gets free, he really blows up plays at the line of scrimmage.
4. I, probably like most Notre Dame fans, know very little about Wake Forest. What's a cool tradition or pre-/post-game ritual for your school?
I'd say BB&T Field itself is becoming one of the nicer places in the country to watch a football game. Deacon Tower is stunning, the field turf is new and looks great, the bricks are a nice touch, and did I mention it has a brand-new video board that is one of the biggest in the country? The stadium should look phenomenal at night on national TV.
As to good rituals, Wake doesn't have any big pep rallys in the field house or a hill for the team to storm down, but it does have a mascot on a motorcycle. It's a bit of a novelty, but you do get famous alumni/athletes riding on the back of the motorcycle in big games like this one. Other notable Wake faces will "Open The Gate," letting the team on the field. It's something that has only really taken prominence over the last few years.
The thing about Wake is that it is still establishing traditions. The Demon Deacons have never been a football-heavy school, so things are being developed and tweaked. The school is definitely going in the right direction though, and winning seasons will lead to a richer history.
5. Who ya got?
Irish by 10. I think Wake matches up well with Notre Dame, honestly, but I just think ND's skill players are better, and its run defense will be the key to this game. Josh Harris is looking more and more like he's going to go for the Demon Deacons, but as with all leg injuries, it's a day-to-day thing, and can be reaggravated.
The running game has been a disappointment for WF this year, and the Fighting Irish play great run D overall. Tanner Price should be able to pick his spots in the passing game, though, and I definitely see some points being scored in this one. Let's go with... ND 31, WF 21.
Thanks again to Martin and Blogger So Dear!