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September 7, 2012
Five keys: Wake Forest vs. North Carolina
Wake Forest vs. North Carolina
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Stadium: BB&T Field
Kickoff: Saturday at 3:00 PM ET
TV/Internet: Raycom Sports Network
Wake Forest: 1-0, 0-0 ACC (Beat Liberty 20-17)
North Carolina: 1-0, 0-0 ACC (Beat Elon 62-0)
Series history: The Tar Heels have an all-time series lead of 68-34-2. UNC defeated the Demon Deacons 49-24 in Chapel Hill last season.
Jim Grobe is 4-3 against the Heels, and 30-8 against other schools in North Carolina during his head-coaching tenure at Wake.
What is on the line? A 2-0 start to the season would be huge for both teams, and a win in the first league game would give the victor an early leg up in their divisional races. Also, with it being a rivalry game bragging rights are at stake till they meet again.
Quotes of the week
"It's the first ACC game. It's a home game. You know Saturday the stadium is going to be electric. There's going to be a lot of blue out there. The first game I came to Wake was when they played UNC back in the day. You could tell there was some animosity in the crowd and the Deacs put a whooping on them."
"Guys are just ramped up and ready after last year going up there and the way we played we want to come out and we want start off ACC record 1-0." - Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro
"To Wake Forest as a whole, our football team, our football program, I feel that we need to get the respect that we deserve. Last year we went to Carolina, and we blew it basically. This year we're out there fighting for our respect, because when people think of teams in North Carolina they never say Wake Forest. They always NC State, Carolina, Duke, and I feel like it's a respect thing."
"We're playing for our respect in North Carolina. This week come out with a win on Saturday I feel like we'll have our respect." - Wake Forest strong safety A.J. Marshall
"It gets your attention when you see somebody score 62 points. I think Elon's not a bad football team. I think Carolina just had a great day against them. 62 points is a lot of points, but I think the thing that's got our attention as much as the 62 points is the shutout. In this day and age with the talent that everybody has, FCS included, I know Elon had a nice quarterback and great receiver and had success last year offensively moving the football and a lot of the kids are back. For Carolina to shut them out is just as impressive as scoring 62 points, so I think from a coaching perspective I think I'm always impressed when I see somebody 60-some points, but I'm equally as impressed if not more impressed with a shutout, so you I think you've got good balance. You've got a team playing good on both sides of the ball." - Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe
"First off, Jim [Grobe] does a great job with his team. They are always very well prepared; I've known that for a long time. I've always heard great things about Jim. I came in behind him when he was at the Air Force Academy about to go to Ohio, so I never really got a chance to be around him. But I know his teams are very, very well prepared. He has a lot of guys who either played at the Academy or were there coaching before that are on his staff. His kids are going to play hard, they are going to be very strong and they are going to move quite a bit up front defensively. They've got a receiver [Michael Campanaro] I understand who is a really good player in the league. There kids play hard, they are aggressive and they get after it. It will definitely be a tough match." - North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora
Keys to the game
1) Give Price time
Tanner Price was sacked just once against Liberty, but was often flushed out of the pocket and to hurry throws.
"As a coaching point I would tell Tanner don't hold on to the ball too long," Grobe said. "I think he's got to realize it's coming."
UNC defensive tackle Sylvester Williams had two sacks in the Tar Heels blowout win over Elon. The Deacs must also be on the lookout for Kareem Martin, Kevin Reddick and company.
"We work really hard to put our kids in good positions to win, but at some point the talent is what you've got to have to play any scheme whether it's 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 or 4-3 or 3-4, whatever, and that's what you see with Carolina," Grobe said. "They got a real good defensive front, real impressive inside players, the linebackers can run, the secondary's really athletic."
2) Price to Campanaro
The quarterback-receiver relationship between Price and Campanaro may be the most positive thing going for this young Wake Forest offense.
In Wake's win over Liberty Price completed 16-28 passes for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Of those statistics nine passes, 96 yards and the touchdown went to Campanaro.
The Demon Deacons do not have a reliable target outside of the redshirt junior from Baltimore, so offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke will have to be creative in drawing up ways to get Campanaro the open opportunities Wake needs against North Carolina's athletic secondary.
In his last two outings Campanaro has a combined 19 receptions for 224 yards and a touchdown.
"The tough thing about Michael he's a great athlete," Fedora said. "You can tell he's very natural catching the ball. He plucks everything with his hands, so that's not something he's concerned with. If they get the ball close to him he's going to make the catch. He catches the ball in contact in a crowd. He can make you miss. He can obviously take it the distance, so it's definitely a headache for you defensively knowing that when he's got you in open spaces you have to make that tackle."
"The key is just making sure you get him on the ground. You can't worry about getting a knockout. You just got to get him on the ground, so he definitely gives you a challenge."
3) Establish the run
This appears to be reoccurring theme and remains to be a glaring need for the Demon Deacons. Wake rushed 38 times for an anemic 98 yards in its season opener versus an FCS-level defense. The competition gets much stiffer Saturday and throug the season as the Deacs get deeper into ACC play.
DeAndre Martin's 21 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown were impressive for a redshirt freshman in his collegiate debut, but Wake Forest needs more production out of its ground game. Keeping Josh Harris will go a long way toward that.
Harris, who sustained a mild concussion against Liberty, has practiced this week and is expected to play Saturday.
Orville Reynolds should get some touches versus the Tar Heels after he was not even given the chance to be a factor against the Flames. He should provide a game-breaking change of pace.
4) Corralling Bernard
UNC running back Bernard did not even play an entire half last week, but still amassed 203 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns.
For Wake it is not about stopping Bernard, but slowing him and forcing UNC offensive coordinator Blake Anderson to employ other options.
"Your homerun is to have a great back like Giovani, then be spreading the ball around to all of those receivers," Grobe said. "You had 14 guys catch balls, and so their spreading the wealth around. They're letting everybody get their hands on it, and that's the thing that makes it so tough is that you think of 14 different guys catching footballs you start thinking of coverages and how we're going to cover all these guys, but when you got a running back that might be the best one in the league you go to sleep at the wheel and this guy can go 80. He's got the great foot-speed."
"He torched us last year. I think he ran for a ton last year, averaging 10 yards a carry I think he had 90-some yards before they took him out. I thought I saw stat somewhere where they said he's second in the nation at 50 yards per punt return. I'd like to see who's leading the nation."
5) Getting to Renner
Bryn Renner's uniform was kept nice and neat as his protectors kept the Phoenix from bringing him down.
The Tar Heels offensive line is led by pre-season All-ACC stalwarts Jonathan Cooper and James Hurst. Wake Forest showed improved pressure against the Flames, but only managed a sack and often over-pursued on possible sack opportunities.
That must change if the Deacs expect to rattle Renner.