Clemson vs Wake Forest Preview

by - Correspondent -
Last year Wake held the Tigers to 12 points which were the fewest scored in a victory since 1991, when the Tigers held off Georgia Tech, 9-6.

This one could get ugly. Not just Pontiac Aztec ugly, but Roseanne Barr in a string bikini ugly.

QUARTERBACKS- CJ Leak floored recruiting experts, coaches, sportswriters, and fans alike when he chose Wake Forest over Notre Dame two years ago. Now as the Demon Deacons’ starting quarterback Leak is the one being floored; in his case, by opposing defenders. Wake Forest’s offensive line has been porous, allowing nine sacks in two games while Leak has struggled to complete only 24-55 passes for two interceptions and no touchdowns. Meanwhile, Woodrow Dantzler has evolved into perhaps the finest quarterback in the ACC and one of the most versatile triggermen in the nation.

Advantage: Clemson

RUNNING BACKS- With Keith Kelly throwing himself in the mix with two touchdowns last week Tommy Bowden now finds himself with a logjam of sorts at the tailback position. Travis Zachery, Bernard Rambert, and Kelly all have big-play ability and it might be difficult to find enough playing time for each of the three. After losing Morgan Kane to graduation Wake Forest must now rely on relatively untested sophomores Tarence Williams and Jaime Scott. So far, both backs have struggled to find running room, with each averaging less than 2.6 yards per carry.

Advantage: Clemson

CLEMSON RECEIVERS VS. WAKE FOREST SECONDARY- In games against Appalachian State and North Carolina- two teams that rely heavily on rushing the football- Wake Forest has allowed a total of 429 yards through the air on 26 completions in 47 attempts. Simply put, Rod Gardner could have a field day against the Deacons. Can you say overmatched?

Advantage: Clemson

WAKE FOREST RECEIVERS VS. CLEMSON SECONDARY- The Deacons have averaged a mere 5.3 yards per pass attempt thus far, which is a reasonable number considering that Leak has been forced to run for his life on most passing plays. Alex Ardley was robbed of an interception last week against Missouri; don’t be surprised if he makes up for it this Saturday against Wake.

Advantage: Clemson

CLEMSON OFFENSIVE LINE VS. WAKE FOREST DEFESIVE LINE- The Clemson front five rose up to a daunting task week against Justin Smith and Missouri, effectively controlling the potential All-American for most of the afternoon. Things should be much easier for the Tigers as they take on a Wake Forest defensive front that features two starting sophomores. It won’t be a picnic, however, as senior defensive end Bryan Ray has established himself as one of the more effective defenders in the ACC with four tackles for loss in the Deacons’ first two games.

Advantage: Clemson

WAKE FOREST OFFENSIVE LINE VS. CLEMSON DEFENSIVE LINE- With all of the problems Wake Forest has had so far controlling the offensive line of scrimmage, the Tiger front four could be poised to have a breakout afternoon. Throw in Reggie Herring’s penchant for blitzing and this matchup could spell disaster for Leak and company.

Advantage: Clemson

LINEBACKERS- The Tiger linebackers continued to establish themselves as an elite unit against Missouri and should have the opportunity to do further damage against the Deacons. Clemson fans might have good time listening to Jim Phillips if Wake Forest starting linebacker Ed Kargbookorogie makes a play on Saturday.

Advantage: Clemson

SPECIAL TEAMS- With the emergence of Aaron Hunt at placekicker, Tony Lazzara as kickoff man, and Jaime Somaini at punter Clemson seems to have finally established efficiency and coherence in kicking the football. Wake Forest kicker Tyler Ashe and punter Matt Brennie have been solid thus far but the Deacons have allowed and incredible 20.1-yards per punt return and have given up a touchdown on a bad snap.

Advantage: Clemson

COACHING- Jim Caldwell has taken his share of criticism from Wake Forest fans since taking over the ailing program in 1992. While Caldwell hasn’t exactly distinguished himself as a strategic mastermind, attracting talent to a school where attendance hovers around 20,000 isn’t a particularly enviable task. At Clemson, it seems that Bowden and his staff has the ball rolling. The sleeping feline of the ‘90’s appears to be roaring into the next century.

Advantage: Clemson


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