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  • Greywolf

    Rye, I didn't want to put this out publicly as I copied it from another site, but I thought is might be of interest to you. 

    "The name of the game is scoring, and we can start there.

    First, the defense was responsible for 35 points, not 42, since Wake Forest scored one touchdown off a pick six thrown by NC State redshirt junior quarterback Bailey Hockman. Minor difference but worth pointing out. Thirty-five points is still too many.

    Two of those five remaining WFU touchdowns were the end results of two failed but correctable defensive stops, and a third came after what should have been a turnover.

    Let’s start with the missed fumble. On second and six from the NC State 16-yard line, Wake Forest running back Kenneth Walker appeared to have reached inside the 10-yard line when NC State sophomore safety Jakeen Harris wraps Walker up by the legs. As Walker is twisting towards the ground and falling over Harris, NC State redshirt sophomore corner Malik Dunlap rips the football out and emerges with what looked like a fumble.

    The refs didn’t apparently get a good look, nor did the replay officials. Wake Forest retained possession without a review. Slow down the tape frame-by-frame, and you will see Dunlap loosening the ball away from Walker's grip as his knees are falling on top of Harris, who is on the ground and not letting go of his tackle.

    That is textbook good defense on NC State’s part, and it was not rewarded. Instead, two plays later WFU quarterback Sam Hartman finds receiver Jacquarii Roberson for a well-executed, hard-to-defend touchdown. The game should have still been 14-0 in the latter portion of the first quarter, and instead it’s 14-7.

    On it’s next drive, Wake Forest had a fourth and 11 at the NC State 39. Boldly, and perhaps motivated because his defense was not stopping the Wolfpack, Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson went for it with the Deacons trailing 21-7 in the second quarter.

    And Clawson was rewarded.

    The play unfolded as if two Wake Forest receivers inadvertently ran the same route, but the Deacons almost benefited from it. Harris for NC State seemed to be more drawn to the shallower route runner than Taylor Morin sneaking up behind that, and newcomer sophomore safety Rakeim Ashford had been beaten by Morin on the play. Recall that Ashford is in the game because starter and team captain Tanner Ingle, a junior, left the game after two plays with an injury.

    NC State also did not bring pressure on the play, choosing to rush just three. Harris probably still could have made a play on the ball had he seen the receiver coming.

    That play led to a touchdown run by Christian Beal-Smith, which came after NC State failed to properly set the edge on a play going up the middle for nothing. That was a theme on this night.

    On tape, it looked like sophomore corner Cecil Powell, who otherwise would have been in perfect position to get Beal-Smith in the backfield, lost the ballcarrier in traffic up the middle and in the process gave up containment, opening the edge for Beal-Smith to turn the corner for the end zone.

    All of that sequence featured correctable mistakes and were not a talent issue.

    On its next possession, trailing 21-14, Wake Forest faced a third and 19 from its own 41, but Hartman found Roberson down the seam on a perfectly thrown ball despite decent (but not great) coverage from NC State junior nickel Tyler Baker-Williams. More importantly a slight but definite stumble by a closing Harris coming in help opened up just enough of a gap for Roberson to make a catch. If Harris doesn’t stumble, it’s probably not a complete pass and a Wake Forest punt.

    Here’s what you didn’t see as much of Saturday: balls being thrown over NC State’s heads, as was too frequent the case in 2019. You didn’t see the front unit being consistently manhandled in the running game. Much of Wake Forest’s rushing yards came from bouncing runs outside that were initially stopped after NC State did not properly set the edge. As mentioned before, that's a correctable issue.

    The game was tied 21-21 at halftime, when it might have been a shutout if it were not for a few unlucky breaks and correctable mistakes. Would we all be feeling better about the defense at that point?

    Clearly NC State's defense has work to do. It did not perform as well as needed against Wake Forest, but the Pack offense was able to produce six touchdowns and a field goal to negate that.

    However, there are signs that by cleaning up a few areas and getting a tad luckier, better days can be ahead for the defense."

    This is why I say in another post, "correctable mistakes" and why I'm not tore up over the defense allowing what they allowed. The 3-3-5 is not a scheme, it's an alignment that can have as many men on the line of scrimmage as any 4-2-5 or 4-3-4. There is nothing magical about a 4-man line. The 3-3-5 puts more in pass defense and offers more options to rush the passer and stop the run.

    Tonight should tell the tale.

    September 26