Todd Shanesy writes for the Spartanburg Herald Journal and GoUpstate.com, and he has been a mainstay at Wofford fall practices this season. You can follow him in two different places on Twitter: @ToddShanesySHJ and @TerrierTracker. Shanesy helps Baylor fans get to know Wofford a little bit better in this question and answer series.
What is the top story line to emerge from fall camp?
No real surprises. The top stories, I believe, are that the Terrriers are completely healthy and that the freshman class has proven to contain several players who are ready to compete right away. Anton Wahrby, who played only one year of American football after being a foreign exchange student from Sweden, may start at right offensive tackle. Nick Colvin, a high school quarterback, has been a standout wide receiver and kick returner. But everything on the two-deep chart is the same since the end of spring practice.
It seems that multiple quarterbacks have been making plays in the early scrimmages, can you break down the quarterback situation?
It was a legitimate six-player race, including a couple of true freshmen, for the quarterback spot during preseason. That’s not for a lack of talent. That’s for an equal level of talent. The race is down to three: rising junior James Lawson, sophomore Michael Weimer and second-year freshman Evan Jacks. I believe all three will play against Baylor and the starter will be Lawson, a former walk-on who stepped up and led Wofford to a league championship. He deserves it. He is safe and very smart, but unspectacular. Weimer is coming off knee surgery (knocked out for good against now NFL player D.J. Swearinger of South Carolina) and is getting better every day. Jacks has been the most impressive in camp, honestly. I think he may very well be the starter in the second game, a conference game against The Citadel.
Wofford has come very close numerous times in recent years to knocking off high-end FBS teams including South Carolina last year, what do you attribute that to?
I think it’s because Wofford runs a unique style of triple-option offense that is difficult to prepare for in just one week and that most FBS teams don’t take it seriously enough. They figure they can just overpower the Terriers. That’s usually what ends up happening in the end, but only after a scare. Wofford and South Carolina were tied in the fourth quarter last year. Wofford lost by only 10 against the Gamecocks in 2008 and by seven in 2006. In that game, the Terriers had the ball inside the 10-yard line at the end and had a two-point play ready. Wofford only lost by eight at Clemson in 2011. It was awful quiet in Death Valley that day.
Wofford looks to be on track to compete for another conference championship and make another deep run in the FCS playoffs, how do the coaches and players (or fans) view the Baylor game with those goals in mind? What is the general sentiment going into this game?
The Terriers won’t see this as a “money game.” They have been competitive in these big games before, so they’ll see it as a chance to pull off a shocker like Appalachian State against Michigan. As for the fans, the thing that scares them is that Wofford’s cornerbacks are all inexperienced. There’s nobody who had many significant snaps last year. And against Baylor, that could spell big-time T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
What is the one thing Baylor fans should know to be prepared for Wofford?
The Terriers’ plan is to use that triple-option offense to hold the ball as long as possible. Sometimes that’s their best defense against a potent offense, especially a team like Baylor. They have, however, been working on a faster-paced offense since spring. Usually, though, they are quite happy with three yards per play. They will go for fourth down from anywhere on the field and I mean anywhere. Sometimes they’ll line up for a fourth down in the shotgun formation and, depending on how the defense looks, have the quarterback punt.
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