New ACC season, outlook for Wake Forest, BC

Sep. 05, 2013 @ 09:29 PM

Boston College and Wake Forest both opened the season with wins against Football Championship Subdivision teams, but that doesn't mean they were easy.

While the Demon Deacons notched a 31-7 victory over Presbyterian, a member of the Big South Conference, BC struggled early before pulling away from Villanova, one of the top teams in the FCS. The Eagles trailed 14-7 in the first half when Wildcats quarterback John Robertson threw behind an open receiver in the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1 yard-line.

BC scored the next 17 points to win 24-14.

New BC coach Steve Addazio said he knows they can't afford to spot an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent to a lead. "It's harder to get back," Addazio said.

Here are five things to look for in Friday night's game:

RING IN THE NEW: Addazio has already put his stamp on the Boston College program. The most visible is the nameless jersey the Eagles players will wear, part of the new coach's emphasis on the team over individuals. He has also created a more ceremonial ritual on game days, staring with a pregame Mass at Gasson Hall that concludes with the ringing of the bells in the tower. That's followed by the "Eagle Walk," when the players proceed in coat and tie from Mass down the stairs to lower campus, accompanied by the marching band and cheerleaders. The school has also brought back a live bald eagle to serve as mascot after a 47-year absence; a contest will help decide his name.

WAKE ON THE RUN: The Demon Deacons have made it a priority to run the ball more this season after throwing it too frequently for coach Jim Grobe's liking during the past few seasons. They were content with their 189 yards rushing against Presbyterian last week but know they'll need more production on the ground. QB Tanner Price, a 1,000-yard rusher in high school who has been primarily a pocket passer at Wake Forest, rushed for 31 yards and a score against Presbyterian while operating an offense that is incorporating some option elements. Says Grobe: "We're going back to our roots, really."

MOVING PIECES: Addazio moved redshirt freshman Bobby Wolford to fullback in Week 1 and he caught six passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-3, 222-pound former linebacker changed positions in preseason camp. Wolford was pressed into duty on offense when Jake Sinkovec was hurt. "I wanted an explosive guy and Bobby was the guy," Addazio said. "He's got some hip power. We have the need for that type of player. A lot of times fullbacks come from the linebacker corps, and so we got lucky there. I think he's a natural fullback."

PLAYING THE KIDS: Wake Forest is getting away from its custom of redshirting virtually every freshman who sets foot on campus: Nine freshmen, including starting center Cory Helms, played in the Presbyterian game — under Grobe, the Demon Deacons had never played more than three in a single season — and this visit to Boston marks the first road game and first conference game of their college careers. The challenge for Grobe is to prepare them for an unfamiliar environment because "when you take them on the road, the mistakes typically get magnified."

PUTTING THE 'D' IN DEMON DEACONS: The sample size is small, but the numbers indicate that Wake Forest has the best defense in the nation. The Demon Deacons allowed Presbyterian to gain 151 total yards — and 66 of those came on the game's first play — while forcing six turnovers. They'll surely have a tougher time against a Boston College team that rolled up 413 total yards against FCS member Villanova in Addazio's debut.