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Andrews was replaced by junior De'Angelo Bryant, who carried 22 times for 105 yards and a touchdown against Ole Miss. Jones's absence has been rendered less painful by the superb play of utility hog Steve Vallos, a senior who has taken snaps at both guard and tackle. Redshirt freshman Riley Skinner replaced Mauk.
Grobe has been in the process of weaning his offense off the flex-bone, a misdirection-intensive scheme he learned as an assistant at Air Force and used with great success at Ohio. "Our big play [at Wake] was the orbit sweep," he said last week, "where we faked a handoff inside and gave it to a wide receiver on a sweep. It was all misdirection. Now, everybody in the country runs it."
While the flex-bone and the orbit sweep wrong-footed Wake's ACC foes for a while, its novelty had worn off by last season, Grobe's fifth in Winston-Salem. Wake worked hard last spring and over the summer to install what Grobe calls a "shotgun spread-option offense." Many of those plays fell out of the playbook when Mauk went down. "Riley's learning the offense as he goes," says Grobe.
The kid had better learn fast. What has been, so far, a dream season gets very tough, very soon. An angry Clemson team--which suffered its only defeat in double overtime, at Boston College; which has won its last two games, over North Carolina and Louisiana Tech, by a combined 103--7; and which has lost two straight to Wake in Winston-Salem--comes calling this Saturday. Indeed, the Deacons are also unlikely to be favored in any of their final four games, against BC, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Maryland.
If he needs a spark in any of those games, Grobe can always go back to his misdirection attack. Late in the win over Ole Miss, offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke called for an "orbit reverse" to wideout Kevin Marion, a sprinter on the track team. The Rebels coaches didn't appreciate Wake's decision to run the play. "I don't think Coach O [ Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron] was very happy with me," says Grobe. "I guess he thought we were trying to run up the score."
We should all
have such problems. The marketing suits at Rutgers struggled deciding which
star running back to promote for the Heisman. At Mizzou the gifted young
quarterback has too many talented targets to choose from. Grobe, all of a
sudden, must work to keep the score down. Oh, well. As he and Schiano and
Pinkel can tell you: It beats the alternative.