Well, Wake Forest’s attempt to extend its inexplicable four-wins-in-six-years streak over Florida State to five-in-seven has taken a helluva body blow.
Following up on speculation that had been making the rounds earlier in the week, the Demon Deacons will indeed be without defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock for their game this weekend against the Seminoles. The nose in Wake’s 3-4 defense suffered an ankle injury in the one-point over North Carolina Saturday.
While acknowledging “[i]t’s really hard to replace Nikita” and “[w]e’d hate to miss Nikita,” head coach Jim Grobe expressed confidence in the “five guys in that defensive front for those three positions where we’ve kind of through practice in August rotated those guys around, and most of those guys have played either nose guard or defensive end.”
Replacing Nikita could prove, despite the public confidence in the replacements, to be a significant challenge.
Entering the 2012 season, the redshirt junior had started the previous 25 games. He had totaled 24.5 tackles for loss during that span – second among current ACC players, per the school, to FSU’s Brandon Jenkins, who was lost to a season-ending injury earlier this year — and was named second-team All-ACC following the 2011 season.