Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 55

38 SEPT. 24, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI DEALING WITH SETBACKS The 2018 Notre Dame women's basketball national champs went by the motto, "You can't spell miracle without ACL." Despite losing four top players in the rotation to ACL surgery before and during the season, the Fighting Irish still finished No. 1. So where does that leave Wake For- est football this season? In the opening-game victory against Tulane, the Demon Deacons lost standout left tackle Justin Her- ron and safety Coby Davis because of torn ACLs — making them the sixth and seventh players already lost in 2018 because of that specific injury. The absence of 38-game starter Herron was particularly difficult be- cause he was a linchpin on a unit that returned all five starters from an offense that finished 17th nationally last year (465.8 yards per game) and was rated the No. 1 offensive line among 2018 Fighting Irish opponents by Blue & Gold Illustrated football an- alyst Bryan Driskell. Both Herron and center Ryan An- derson were All-ACC selections last season, and Pro Football Focus graded them out as the top pass blockers in the league at their posi- tions (Herron did not allow a sack in the 469 pass blocks he had). "That's why you recruit. That's why you build depth," philoso- phized fifth-year Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson. "Those things can never be an excuse for us not to be successful, and we have other good players. Certainly on the O-line, we have good depth." However, it did require some shift- ing, including right tackle Jake Benz- inger moving to left tackle, Nathan Gilliam sliding from right guard to right tackle, and Patrick Osterhage becoming the full-time right guard. Like Robert Hainsey and Tommy Kraemer at right tackle last season, Gilliam and Osterhage were a tag team at right guard in 2017. Davis was not a starter, but like Notre Dame's Nick Coleman he was a "third safety" in the rotation. The injuries to Herron and Davis hardly have been the lone setbacks so early in the year for the Demon Deacons. • Also lost for the season to ACL tears were linebackers Chase Monroe and Jeff Burley, offensive lineman Spencer Clapp, running back Tyler Bell and cornerback Arkeem Byrd. • Dual-threat quarterback Kendall Hinton — who had passed for 1,502 yards and rushed for 705 during his col- lege career and was deemed the prob- able successor to graduated standout John Wolford — was suspended in June for the first three games of this season, along with tight end Thomas Cole, be- cause of a violation of team rules. Hinton completed the scoring at Notre Dame last year with a 90-yard drive in which he carried five times for 39 yards and completed two passes for 17 yards. He is available for the Sept. 22 Notre Dame game because the sus- pension was served for the Tulane, Towson and Boston College contests, but will he back to form and might it disrupt some continuity? In his place, true freshman Sam Hartman — who enrolled in January and went through spring drills — com- pleted 68 of 123 passes (55.3 percent) for 834 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions during the 2-1 start. • At receiver, 6-5, 220-pound Scotty Washington has been slowed since the preseason by a shoulder injury that shelved him the first three games. He nabbed a then-career-high eight passes for 84 yards in the 48-37 loss at Notre Dame last season. • Defensive tackle Elontae Bate- man was ruled a medical casualty, ending his football career. He started three games last season and recorded more than 400 snaps. MASTER BUILDER Dave Clawson has established him- self the past 20 years as one of the best program builders in college football. • He was 0-11 in his first year at Fordham in 1999 — and four years later the Rams finished 10-3. • At Richmond in 2004 the Spiders GAME PREVIEW: WAKE FOREST Top STorylineS Fifth-year senior left tackle Justin Herron — a 38-game starter — is one of seven Wake Forest players that have already suffered season-ending knee injuries in 2018. PHOTO COURTESY WAKE FOREST

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Sept. 24, 2018