Wake Forest doesn’t have the most impressive resume of wins, knocking off Utah State, Rice, North Carolina, Elon and Boston College.
But even in a 62-59 home loss to Louisville on Saturday, one thing is obvious: the Demon Deacons use tempo to their advantage and are one of the most prolific offenses in the FBS.
Wake is averaging 39.7 points and 540 offensive yards per game, a big challenge for FSU on Saturday (7:30 p.m. on ACC Network).
“The good thing about that is that we played them last year here,” FSU defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett said. “They go super fast, really fast, with their snap counts, their tempo, what have you. We’ve got to be able to get lined up first when you go up against a team like this. Get lined up and then execute the defense. When you are able to get subs, get subs in. You have to go out there and get lined up, No. 1, and then execute the defense.”
While Wake is quick to the line of scrimmage and won’t run the play clock down very much, the Demon Deacons add an unusual wrinkle as their quarterback likes to take the snap and hold the ball in the tailback’s belly for a few extra moments before deciding if he will hand it off or keep it – as a runner or thrower.
“It is very unique,” Barnett said. “You don’t see anybody else doing it. They do a great job at it. … Those guys execute their offense extremely well.”
FSU is coming off an ugly defensive performance, albeit against one of the nation’s top teams, following strides made against Virginia, Louisville and NC State. The Seminoles allowed 45 points and 552 offensive yards in the loss at Clemson.
“We talked about being poised going up there,” Barnett said. “We are in a hostile environment. Being locked in and ready to go. For whatever reason didn’t get it done. We did eventually settle down and play some decent football in the latter part of the game. Unfortunately we just didn’t do it at the very beginning.”
Barnett is confident that the defense put the loss to Clemson in the rear-view mirror and is focused in on Wake.
“Young people are resilient,” Barnett said. “These guys know their talent level and their ability. They are back, ready to go. They bounced back.”
For more from Barnett, click on the video below: