Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Grobe Is Calling For Reinforcements

Deacs may move freshman Josh Adams into the RB rotation.

The possibility that Adams will play this season suggests several things:

-- Dissatisfaction with the current running backs, nominally headed by De'Angelo Bryant and Kevin Harris. Bryant fumbled at the Clemson 1 in the first quarter of an eventual 27-17 defeat and finished with six yards on five carries. Harris, a redshirt freshman, is averaging 6.4 yards a carry. He likely will start Saturday.

"We haven't given up on De'Angelo Bryant," Grobe said. "We just need him to be a more forceful runner."

-- A belief that Adams is a potential difference-maker. The most recent Deacons runner to play as a rookie was Chris Barclay, who gained 703 yards in 2002 and became the ACC player of the year for a 4-7 team last season.

-- The belief that this season, which featured the school's first 5-0 start in 19 years, can be special if Wake can improve the running game, long the Deacs' calling card. The corollary to that is the undeniable difficulty of the schedule's second half: After State, Wake plays North Carolina, Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Maryland.

This comes after Wake ran for 31 yards on 31 carries against Clemson, it's worst rushing performance of the season--though not the first time that the Deacons have been held under 100 yards.

@ UConn38992.6
@ Ole Miss532404.5

Although Grobe isn't happy with what he's seeing from Kevin Harris and De'Angelo Bryant, the tandem has put up good numbers. They are combining for about 15-16 carries per game and over 5 yards per carry.

Kevin Harris392486.4
De'Angelo Bryant542354.4
Team Total2318683.8

What struck me when I looked at Wake Forest's season statistics was the sheer number of guys that have carried the ball this season. Fourteen different Deacs have at least one carry (with the bulk of touches going to Harris, Bryant, and the now-injured Micah Andrews--but still). When Jim Grobe says running back by committee, he ain't kiddin' around. At least eight players have carried the ball in each of Wake's last three games, which illustrates the numerous looks and wrinkles that Wake Forest's offense can throw at you. Hopefully the Pack learned some lessons from what Clemson did last weekend.