Notre Dame Opponent Preview: Wake Forest Demon Deacons Defense


Nov 3, 2012; Winston Salem, NC, USA; Boston College Eagles quarterback Chase Rettig (11) gets pressured by Wake Forest Demon Deacons linebacker Justin Jackson (39) during the third quarter at BB

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

November 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm


Last Meeting: Wake Forest 17-Notre Dame 24

Line: Notre Dame (-24.0)

Wake Forest is currently ranked 71st in scoring defense giving up 28.9 points per game so far this season. The Demon Deacons give up an average of 156.9 rushing yards per game that ranks them at 65th overall in the country. Passing defense is their biggest weakness on defense ranking 100th and giving up 260.9 yards through the air a game this season. Overall Wake Forest ranks 80th in total defense giving up 417.8 yards a game (5.38 yards per play). Notre Dame should be able to exploit their defense, but if they don’t take care of the ball and have excessive penalties then it could be an underachieving game like they had against Boston College.

Justin Jackson, LB, Junior

At 6’1’’ 220 pounds this agile linebacker is the leading tackler for the Demon Deacons with 75 tackles so far this season. Adding to that he has 8.5 tackles for loss and 4 sacks on the season. He is an outside linebacker that is used a lot on the pass rush, since they have trouble getting pressure with just their defensive line and they run a 3-4. He is a decent pass rusher, but doesn’t use his hands very well on tackles and is usually blocked by them. He can use speed at times to beat the offensive tackles, but don’t look for it to work too well unless they get pressure up the middle as well. This guy is their best playmaker on the edge and look for him to try and contain Riddick, Wood, GAIII, and Golson.

Mike Olson, LB, Junior

6’3’’ 230 pounds he is their enforcer in the middle of the defense. The second leading tackler on the team with 68 total tackles. Olson also has an interception, a sack, and 3.5 tackles for loss to his statistics as well. His pass coverage is definitely average to below average overall, with teams tearing up the passing game over the middle all season long. He can often get caught too far up in the cover two zone and the pass is dropped between him and the safeties. His run support is good and he often finds the whole in the blocking scheme, especially when on the back side of the play. Look for him in mainly run support against the Irish.

A.J. Marshall, Safety, Junior

Standing at 6’ 190 pounds is their playmaker in the defensive backfield for the Demon Deacons. He is their third leading tackler with 61 tackles on the season. Marshall has two interceptions (one ran back for a TD), 4 pass breakups, and 3 tackles for loss. He is much better in man coverage, which isn’t good since he is a safety and mainly in zone for most of the game. It will be interesting to see how Notre Dame attacks the pass defense of Wake.

Overall the Wake Forest defense is below average as a whole, but their three playmakers above are the key to their success. If they can get some turnovers and force Notre Dame into penalties on the offensive side of the ball it could be anyone’s game. I’m sure the game plan will be to attack the middle of the defense with the running attack and Eifert. While taking some shots deep especially on 1st and 2nd down when they are primarily in cover 2.