Posted by Chip Patterson
In a matter of weeks, Florida State has gone from being a potential national title contender to hanging on the edge of the national rankings. A pair of losses to No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 8 Clemson left the Seminoles banged up and looking for answers heading into their bye week. Starting quarterback EJ Manuel is questionable for Saturday's contest with an upstart Wake Forest team, re-joining the team in practice after suffering a shoulder injury against the Sooners.
On Tuesday Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe told the media his team was preparing to face both Manuel and redshirt freshman Clint Trickett. Trickett led two scoring drives in the second half against Oklahoma to tie the game in the fourth quarter, and completed 24 of 38 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns against Clemson.
"It's really hard because they've got two really talented quarterbacks and we're not sure which one we'll get," Grobe explained at his weekly press conference. "I think the Trickett kid has a great arm and is a very accurate thrower and more of a pocket guy. And Manuel is very athletic. He's driven us crazy with boot passes and play-action passes when we've played him."
Manuel said on Monday he expects to play against Wake Forest, but head coach Jimbo Fisher has insisted the junior quarterback is questionable. Despite the impressive performance of Trickett in Manuel's absence, it is hard to replicate the strength and athleticism Manuel provides under center. The game has become a must-win for the Seminoles, who cannot afford to drop to drop their second straight Atlantic Division showdown if they plan on making a return to the ACC Championship Game in December.
The Demon Deacons' defense is preparing for the game as if they'll see both quarterbacks. After a frustrating 1-7 showing in conference play in 2010, Wake Forest has been one of this year's surprise teams in the ACC. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Price has settled in and the offense has figured out how to best utilize a stable of talented playmakers led by Chris Givens and Josh Harris. The next two weeks will offer Jim Grobe's squad arguably their toughest stretch of the season, with the Seminoles and No. 21 Virginia Tech coming to visit BB&T Field. If the Demon Deacons can pull an upset in one of the next two contests, they will put themselves in a great position to be bowling in December.
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