Wake Forest (4-4, 2-4 ACC) is fighting for its post-season life, and win over Boston College (2-6, 1-4 ACC) is a must have.
Deacons Illustrated discussed Wake's upcoming challenge with EagleAction.com's senior writer Eric Hoffses.
What would you attribute Boston College's struggles to this season? "There's no doubt that injuries have been a part of the problem. The team's best receiving weapon, tight end Chris Pantale, just appeared in his first game three games ago. On defense, the team has been hurt with injuries too, most notably to their best defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey, who had been in and out all year, and the best defensive back, Al Louis-Jean, who has been out all year."
"Spaziani's critics point to the fact -- and probably rightfully so -- that the issue is recruiting. While Spaz has recruited some good talent at starting positions, some of his backup players are more "project players" who needed more time to grow into a starting role. Ultimately that's on him."
Do you see the win over Maryland being a possible turning point to the season? "It's a turning point in the sense that there were some people who thought that BC might not win a game the rest of the season. If the Eagles are going to go on a run and finish .500 this was a good first step, but I don't think many consider it more than that."
Is Frank Spaziani on the hot seat, and if so what does he need to do to save his job? "Spaziani is on the hottest of hot seats right now. At this point most people think he is a lame duck coach. About the only thing he can do to save his job is win out and that would mean wins over teams like Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and NC State. In other words it isn't very likely. Even if he wins out I'm not sure it will be enough to save his job either."
What are the Eagles strengths on offense? "The strength of the offense is the passing game. Quarterback Chase Rettig (2,204 yards and 15 touchdowns) has done a great job at quarterback this season and has performed well enough that you can see him being drafted if he has another good season next year. Wide receiver Alex Amidon (57 receptions 943 yards) has been his favorite target and has performed great in his own right. Amidon is a smaller, quick receiver who runs great routes and his decent speed."
"The BC passing game has been a pleasant surprise and has performed so well that some fans are calling for [offensive coordinator] Doug Martin to return no matter who the coach is next year."
What are the Eagles strengths on defense? "Sometimes the truth hurts and the truth is that the Eagles don't really have any strengths on defense right now. The defense is last in the ACC in rush defense, 11th in total defense, 11th in scoring defense, and 6th in pass defense. The pass defense has the best numbers in that group, but in reality it's more a matter of going against some weak passing teams this year. They do have some decent players at linebacker, which would have to be the strength of the defense."
Who should the Demon Deacons be on the look out for who no is talking about? "My vote would be for tight end Chris Pantale. Before the season, Pantale was on the Mackey Award Watchlist and was a candidate for 1st Team All-ACC. Pantale missed the entire month of September with a foot injury and just came back three games ago. Last week, Pantale had his season high in receptions (4) and yards (54) and looks to be getting back into the swing of things. He is a guy who has the potential to have a big day on Saturday."
What is Boston College's injury report, and how significant of an impact is it? "BC is dealing with the same injuries for much of the season. The two biggest ones are to the best defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey, and best defensive back Al Louis-Jean. ALJ has missed the entire season and Ramsey has missed most of the year. On offense the Eagles don't have many significant injuries."