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04 September 2008

Blog Swap: Old Gold & Blog

I recently had the opportunity to ask Zach of Old Gold & Blog, a Wake Forest blog, a few questions about this weekend's game:

(1) Last time Ole Miss played WF the Demon Deacons had a strong running game. What's the difference in the Offense now versus then?

Riley Skinner. Two seasons ago Skinner was a redshirt freshman starting for the third time in his career. In that game he was 4-5 for 43 yards. Skinner is all grown up now, and I'd argue that he's the best quarterback in the ACC. Last week against Baylor he threw the ball 36 times for 27 completions, 220 yards, and three touchdowns. He's matured into a great leader, he makes smart decisions, has good awareness in the pocket, and is incredibly accurate. The offense you see on Saturday isn't going to look very much like the offense of two seasons ago.

(2) Tell us a bit about your stadium renovations and what that means to the WF fans.

Saturday's game will be the grand opening of Deacon Tower, the $47 million project to update the press box on the west side of the stadium. The new box not only has a huge media area, state of the art television broadcast booths, and coaches boxes, but also a new club level, suites, and chairbacks in the middle sections of the stadium. The difference between the old box and Deacon Tower is night and day.

What this all means is that the Wake Forest's football program is here to stay. The program has total support from the school, the A.D., and most importantly the fans. Wake may never be able to put 60,000+ people in a football stadium because it just isn't possible with the alumni base, but the school and the fans are clearly dedicated to making it the best experience it can possibly be, and everyone is very excited about the tower.

(3) Now that WF is the ACC's only ranked team in the latest AP poll, do you feel that WF has the best shot at winning the ACC?

I do. As much as I've tried to defend the ACC in the past, I think after last weekend I'm going to have to drop most of my arguments. Wake has clearly made itself the front runner now, and although I still worry about the trip to Tallahassee to play Florida State and Clemson's visit to Winston-Salem, at this point it really does seem like it's Wake conference to lose. It's still early, and I'm not ready to declare the Deacs the champions today, but things to seem to be coming together to make it a strong possibility.

(4) How will Hanna affect your game plan for Sat?

If it's pouring rain Saturday there will probably be an negative impact on Wake's offense. Based on what we've seen so far, it looks like the passing game is going to carry the Deacs this year, and obviously that's more difficult in the rain. Still, for all the talk about Riley Skinner and the passing game, the defense is really the strongest part of this team. I'd be surprised if they let anyone score too many points this season, and bad weather would work to their advantage. I think you'll see Wake stick to a very conservative offensive game plan to avoid turning the ball over, take the opportunities that present themselves to put points on the board, and rely on the defense to get the job done.

(5) You asked first so: Any predictions for Sat? How far can this Wake team go this year?

I know, I know. I've got to save my actual score prediction for Friday's preview, but for now, even if the weather is bad, I still think Wake wins by two touchdowns. If somehow the weather gives us a break, I think there could easily be a 17+ point margin.

As I said before, things are lining up well for Wake to win another ACC championship, and I feel like there's a pretty good possibility of seeing that happen. The way things stand right now, I'd be surprised if Wake wins less than 10 games this season.

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