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September 21, 2012

Five keys: Wake Forest vs. Army

Wake Forest vs. Army
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Stadium: BB&T Field
Kickoff: Saturday at 12:30 PM EST
TV: ACC Network
Current records:
Wake Forest: 2-1, 1-1 ACC (Lost to No. 4 Florida State 52-0)

Army: 0-2 (Lost to Northern Illinois 41-40)
Series history: The Demon Deacons have an all-time series lead of 7-4, including 21-10 win at Wake in the most recent meeting in 2007.

Jim Grobe-coached teams are 1-1 versus the Black Knights.

What is on the line? After last week's embarrassing loss to the Seminoles the Deacs need a dose of confidence, and Army is still looking for its first win. While it does not carry the weight of a conference game it is Homecoming for the Demon Deacons, and a victory over the Black Knights would put Wake Forest just three wins away from becoming bowl-eligible.

Quotes of the week

"Coming off the Carolina win after the game Coach Grobe told us celebrate on Sunday and Monday we're getting back to work and not to get too high off of the win. After the Florida State loss we can't get too low. We're really looking forward to this Army game." - Wake Forest wide receiver Brandon Terry

"So far this season we've had some success at home, so it's really good to come home. You feel a little bit more comfort, because you're on your home turf." - Wake Forest outside linebacker Justin Jackson

"This is really their favorite thing to do. They are pretty much in a grind on a daily basis with the military obligations, the academics are souped up, and this is their escape. The nice thing about [service] academy kids is when they come to football practice that's their favorite thing to do where most kids come off campus and they think it's going to be a grind to go to football practice. The academy kids can't wait to get to football practice."

"That's like their recreation every day, and then they play that way on Saturday. It's their chance to go have fun, and of course because of basic training and all the military training that they do you got kids that are tough and hardnosed guys. These guys are going to get after you. You love knowing these guys are going to be defending you, because they got the right mentality." - Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe

Keys to the game

1) Time of possession

It has been said the best defense is a good offense, and Army appears to be the epitome to this philosophy by the way it works to keep the opposition's offense off the field. In its loss to NIU the Black Knights had a 25:06 edge in time of possession.

"They're going to be a team that fourth and one it's not a thought," Grobe said. "Don't expect to see the punter when it's fourth and one no matter where they are. It's just a mentality. They're going to grind you. They're going to hang on to the football. I think Northern Illinois, and they're a good football team, I think in the first half they had 16 snaps of offense against Army."

Wake must take the saying "Time is money" to heart Saturday, making the most of every opportunity to make stop defensively and capitalize offensively. Expect the Deacs to receive if they win the coin toss. Scoring first would breathe fresh confidence into Wake Forest, and would give it an early leg up on Army's clock-eating Wing-T offense.

2) Assignment football

Misdirection, motions and fakes are significant components to the Black Knights intricate run-heavy offense. It is imperative for players not to do too much, but to execute their own individual assignments and responsibilities on defense.

Army had three 100-yard rushers against the Huskies in fullback Larry Dixon, slot-back Raymond Maples and quarterback Trent Steelman.

"This week you've got to try to stop the run, but what Army can really hurt you with like Navy has done to us in the past is play-action passes, so they get you crowding the line-of-scrimmage to stop the run and then beat you with some throws where maybe you would turn people loose and don't cover them," Grobe said. "We got an Army team that's going to be focused on beating us running the football, but if you ignore the pass you'll get in trouble pretty quickly."

"[Army's offense is] very similar, very similar [to Georgia Tech's]; maybe not quite as apt to want to throw the football, capable, but I think Paul [Johnson] tries to figure out ways to hurt you throwing the football maybe a little bit more, but [Army's] offense is basically same stuff, same kind of stuff."

3) Getting off blocks

Wake Forest's front seven has an additional factor to mindful of than staying on top of Army's complex ground game and option-attack … getting chopped.

"I used to have everybody complain about us chop-blocking," Grobe said. "We used to have everybody mad at us for that, but it's a different deal. We have to keep our hands down, keep our knees bent, and get to the football. It's different than anything we see. Everybody else is high hat, trying to turn you out or overtake you where these guys trying to get you off your feet."

4) Passing game

In losses to San Diego State and Northern Illinois Army yielded 557 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Wake needs to exploit this chink in the Black Knights armor, and it is something Tanner Price and Michael Campanaro are very capable of doing.

Price has completed 51-88 passes for 604 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, and Campanaro has reeled in 24 receptions for 268 yards and a touchdown this season.

Sherman Ragland and Brandon Terry must provide Price with targets outside of Campanaro against to challenge Army's vulnerable bump-and-run pass-defense.

5) Running game

The Demon Deacons have yet to reach the 100-yard mark in rushing this season, so for the sake of creating a balanced attack it is vital to the positive development of Wake's offense to have success on the ground.

Josh Harris has the homerun-hitting ability to break a big one whenever he touches the football, but has not had the lanes to do so thus far. DeAndre Martin showed promise Wake Forest's against Liberty and along with Harris flashes versus UNC.

However, the duo has been relatively ineffective for the most part, but Army is vulnerable against the run. The Black Knights have allowed 401 yards and six touchdowns rushing this season. Opportunity could be knocking at the Demon Deacs door. It is time to swing it open and run.


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