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WTWF: Wake Forest Demon Deacons

This week's What To Watch For focuses on Louisville's offense.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports


Louisville's offense goes as far as Lamar Jackson will take it. We've learned that multiple times this year and it won't likely change this season. With that being said, Houston, Florida State, and Boston College all did a good job of containing Jackson and held him to only a handful of chunk running plays. Jackson's huge run in the NC State game turned out to pretty much win the game for the team. What makes this offense work at this point in the season is the threat of Jackson taking off at any moment.

Houston sent outside blitzers as well as delayed blitzes to put quick pressure on Jackson. BC did similar things with Steven Daniels blitzing non-stop through the A gap. FSU utilized their overall team speed to string Jackson out to the boundary so that he couldn't get up field as easily. Typically, teams that play man have the most trouble stopping running quarterbacks but I think that Wake will struggle even though they mostly play zone. Wake doesn't have the team speed needed to cutoff the angles and force Jackson towards the sideline. I think that Jackson will be able to escape through the middle as Wake doesn't blitz all that much and their defensive line doesn't make a lot of plays.


Louisville leads the nation in sacks allowed as well as sacks allowed per game. Wake is only a few spots ahead of that with two fewer sacks allowed on the season. Both teams start freshmen at both tackle spots and both have struggled to give their quarterbacks enough time to make multiple reads on passing plays. Wake doesn't seem to have the mental mistakes that Louisville has been plagued with, but they don't do a great job with speed or power. Louisville tends to do a good job when it can create a pocket against 3 or 4 rushers. Where they run into trouble is when pressure comes from different angles.

The upper hand in this game belongs to Louisville as Wake's front seven hasn't done much at all this year to strike fear into anyone. On the other hand, UofL is coming off of the best game they've had in a few years. Sheldon Rankins and the other highly regarded members of the front seven are still great talents and one would assume that the BC game has gotten them back on track. When it comes down to it, Wake doesn't have the athletes on defense that Louisville does. That should lead to Louisville having a much better game on offense than they did last week. Wake will have to continue to find ways to help their offensive line out.


The UofL football team hasn't beaten an FBS team by more than one touchdown since the BC win last year. The streak has reached double digits and for a team that has an offensive head coach, it's a little surprising. Bobby Petrino said this week that his offense "Isn't very good". Well, he said the same thing last year as well. Before this season, I wrote that it was time for the expectations to be raised when it comes to this football program. Part of that expectation should be that this offense should perform at the level that was expected when Petrino was hired. So far, we've seen flashes of that production but not all the time. Louisville has faced good competition this year and that should be acknowledged. But, at some point you have to outplay those teams.

Now, I also said that we wouldn't see the traditional "Bobby Bump" this year. I really thought that we would see a similar performance this year and not the regression that's been shown so far. I didn't expect for UofL to have the offensive line issues they've had because I expected JUCO players to be utilized. Will Gardner looked healthy during fall camp so I expected him, or another experienced player, to start at quarterback. With Jamari Staples and James Quick coming back, we can see that the offense might have been inexperienced this year, but not nearly as young as what it is now.

Bobby Petrino wanted to implement his new offense this year and he's done so. At some point we should expect to see better results. This game is the perfect opportunity.