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Wake Forest Mailbag

This week we get into some “What ifs” in the mailbag.

Clemson v Wake Forest Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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This is the most fascinating aspect of all of this right now for me. At this moment, none of the remaining top local players look to be headed to Louisville. On the other hand, Jeff Brohm has a chance at all of them but Shawnkel Knight-Goff. I think that bringing in Brohm by December 7th or so could lead to UofL landing some of these guys. I’m not sure he would be able to pull Jared Casey away or the guys that are committed to blue blood programs but he might have some success with some others.

Milton Wright seems to be a guy that is going to wait until the second signing day, so that gives any coach a chance to get him to Louisville. J.J. Weaver is announcing his decision next week but most seem to think that he will go with UK. However, Brohm would still have a couple of weeks to convince him to stay home if he’s hired early in the month.

The two guys that are really intriguing to me are Wandale Robinson and David Bell. Robinson was on hand to watch Rondale Moore do Rondale Moore things against OSU last week, so it could be a big recruiting pitch to sell him on the potential to do the same in Louisville as a true freshman. Bell is a highly ranked receiver from Indiana that is trending towards Purdue with some other Big Ten teams in the running. Bell has all of his official visits scheduled right now but might be willing to change some things around to check Louisville out.

Some of you might have seen Bell against Trinity earlier this year:

Technically, we’ve already done this and I think we both had an Old Fashioned at Brooklyn and The Butcher in New Albany. I highly recommend it for a night out with the significant other by the way. But the answer if we’re just ordering a bourbon and not a cocktail is Four Roses Single Barrel on the rocks. It’s my go to if I’m out for a drink. I typically stick with Makers or Woodford for an after work drink or if I’ve made the bad decision to act like I’m in college again.

I’m not really a picky bourbon drinker even though I haven’t purposely had any other type of alcoholic beverage in years outside of a few beach trips. I don’t like to blow a lot of money on bourbon because I drink too much of it and I have bills to pay but I do like to take advantage of some good stuff when I can. Weller 12 year is the best I’ve ever had. I didn’t care for Pappy the one time I had it (don’t remember which one I even had). I have a bottle of I.W. Harper 15 that I got as a house warming gift. I drank some of it and saved the rest for a special occasion. I forgot to drink it when my wife and I got the news we were pregnant after a couple of years of trying and when we actually brought our son home. So, maybe I’ll finish it off some time in late November or early December...

This is such a good question because it leads to so many other questions. I think that Petrino would almost have to play Harris and Snell but the question is really about whether or not he would know how to utilize both of them. Snell is the type of back that is at his best when he’s getting 20-30+ carries. He wears defenses down and he gets better as the game goes on. He’s one of those crazy types of guys that enjoys contact and works harder than everyone as opposed to just being better. Petrino would waste him by giving him 12 carries a game and he’d be just another guy on the roster.

Damien Harris is super versatile and he actually fits Louisville’s offense really well. Out of the three guys mentioned, I think he would be the guy Petrino would use well. He catches the ball out of the backfield really well and Petrino loves that stuff. One of the issues with Harris and Snell is that you’d still need these guys to run behind UofL’s offensive line. Both of these guys get great blocking and make the most of the room they have to run. I don’t know that either are built to make people miss on nearly every play like they’d be asked to do behind this line and blocking scheme.

When it comes to Rondale Moore, I can’t think of a player that would be wasted more in this offense. Moore is electric in space and has to get touches to maximize his effectiveness. Screens, bubbles, tunnels, slants, quick outs, and arrow routes are where he is at his best. He also compares well to Tutu Atwell in some ways. Louisville has used Atwell on seam routes, deep ins, and not much else. You can also throw in the lack of jet sweeps and reverses into the mix. I 100% believe that Petrino would have used Moore in the same way and he would have 15 or so catches right now and they wouldn’t have built in specific plays to get him the ball quickly.

I know there are a lot of rumors flying around about a “bombshell” type of story that will be dropping soon but I don’t think any of it matters. I don’t know anything about any of the rumors other than that they are rumors, so I won’t get into them. My view on things is that there is no way that Vince Tyra brings Bobby Petrino back if they finish 3-9 or worse with the team continuing to play poorly through the rest of the season. Anything else that happens or comes out will likely impact the buyout or settlement.

At this point, it all comes down to signs of improvement for 2019. If this team still can’t move the ball on offense or stop anyone on defense after the UK game, Vince Tyra has a pretty easy decision to make. What reason would he have to bring a guy back next year that would likely coach a team to the same results? I also think that Petrino would have a very hard time explaining things to Tyra. I think that’s an overlooked part of this.

Bobby Petrino hasn’t been able to articulate what is wrong with this team at all this season. He hasn’t been able to point to specific things that they can do to improve, either. He’s not putting on a show or anything like that. He is uncomfortable being uncomfortable and this entire season is that. So, imagine going into Tyra’s office and trying to talk about practicing harder and going to work. I don’t see Vince as the type of guy that will fall for coach speak. Petrino will have to give him a detailed plan of how he will turn things around and I don’t think for a second that he has one.

I don’t really do predictions but I will say that I think this is a game that Louisville can win. Wake has injuries at linebacker that could help open things up for the intermediate passing game. Petrino loves to run those short crossing routes and Wake could have some trouble stopping them. They’re playing a safety at outside linebacker and sliding the normal guy inside where he has one game of experience. Throw in the lack of a pass rush and there are things that can be exploited by the offense. The big question is whether or not they can actually do that.

The reason that I think Wake will end up winning is their offense. They go super fast and they have weapons that can make big plays in the passing game and running game. If they didn’t use pace so well, I wouldn’t even be worried about this game but I don’t know if the defense will be able to stop them at all. I went back and watched BC play Wake and they rolled through a solid BC defense over and over again. Their biggest issues were getting in their own way, which you expect when you have a true freshman quarterback. Louisville’s issue, of course, is that they don’t pressure anyone into mistakes. So, I would be surprised if Sam Hartman doesn’t have one of his best games and Wake puts up a bunch of points.