Wake Forest currently holds a 3-2 overall record and a 1-1 record in conference. Considering the strength of their schedule this is not anything the team should be ashamed of, however the Demon Deacons have let a couple of opportunities slip to their fingertips already this season.
Each week players explain that most of these costly errors are the product of mental mistakes, and that if they can just cut down on these mental mistakes then everything will be just fine.
Against NC State the Deacs definitely made fewer mistakes, but once again two seemingly unnecessary penalties - Boo Robinson's unsportsmanlike conduct foul and Ted Randolph's false start on the one yard line - perhaps due to mental lapses, kept Wake from truly putting the game out of NC State's reach until the final minute.
Last week after similarly costly mistakes cost the Demon Deacons a victory at Boston College Deacons Illustrated asked linebacker Jonathan Jones why this mistakes are still around and what it will take to eliminate them.
"I think the biggest thing you're going to have to kind of deal with having a lot of young guys like we do, me included since it's my first time as a full time starter seeing as many reps as I have, is that you've got the crowd, you have the jitters, the nerves, the adrenaline, and everything like that," explained Jones.
"It's not that guys don't know what's going on or don't know what they're doing, but in the heat of the game you have a split second to make the decision, and sometimes it's going to be the wrong decision. You're never going to be able to complete eliminate mental errors, but you want to cut down as much as you can, and I think it just comes with repetition."
"In practice, being focused and going through it every day like every day is game day. I think we've been doing a better job but it's still not up to par. Week in and week out, every week, we've got to try to get a little better."
"You're going to have your mental errors, and you're going to have to try to overcome those. You want to limit those. But when you do have an opportunity, when you do role a "seven" and you have the right call and you put yourself in position to make plays you've got to make them. I think that's one thing we're going to have to work on, just finishing plays out."
The Demon Deacons showed some of that improvement on Saturday against NC State, appearing to have fewer blown plays, missed tackles, and silly penalties. Still, it was far from mistake free football. The team may be taking steps in the right direction, but they aren't there yet.
Wake's next opportunity for an improved performance comes this Saturday at home against the Maryland Terrapins. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. from BB&T Field.