Early Look at Wake Forest

It's clear that the Demon Deacons realize they're in a bind when it comes to talent, so they've tried to shorten games.

But that has led to some dismal offensive numbers.

The Demon Deacons have tried countless strategies and game plans, but coach Jim Grobe has admitted that part of the offensive philosophy is dictated by the team's defensive shortcomings. A pass-oriented offense is out of the question, apparently, because it lends to having the defense on the field too much.

Wake Forest managed 11 yards in the third quarter and 40 yards in the fourth quarter at N.C. State. The 188 yards of total offense marked the best defensive performance for an N.C. State defense against a major-college team since 2004. The Demon Deacons had a lot to do with that.

"Catch-up for us is not good," Grobe said. "The protection for us was shaky at best."

The latest attempts to minimize opponents' opportunities has had benefits in that young running backs have been given opportunities. The latest to emerge is Michael Campanaro, who made his debut at running back against N.C. State after playing as a wide receiver and kick returner.

With Clemson's athleticism on defense bound to present similar challenges for the Demon Deacons, expect Wake Forest to keep a similar approach on offense.

WEDNESDAY NOTES: The Demon Deacons have only seven scholarship seniors from a class that once numbered 14, so that should make the Senior Day activities short prior to the game vs. Clemson. There are 11 total seniors on the roster.

"I couldn't be happier with what they've done," coach Jim Grobe said. "There's just not enough of them."

* Wake Forest not only is stuck with an eight-game losing streak for the first time since 1978, but the Demon Deacons also have bad luck prior to games. They've lost the coin toss in their last seven games.


The Demon Deacons are committed to staying with QB Tanner Price and furthering his development. (Getty Images)
* Associate head coach Billy Mitchell suffered significant facial injuries Nov. 6 against Boston College when he was hit on the sideline during a play. He avoided surgery, and he was on the sideline a week later at N.C. State.

SERIES HISTORY: Clemson leads Wake Forest 57-17-1, (last meeting, 2009, Clemson 38-3).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The rushing attack showed good signs of breaking out again, and the coaching staff is expected to be a little more aggressive with the passing attack. But the issue for the passing part of the offense tends to be protecting the quarterback. The Demon Deacons are committed to staying with QB Tanner Price and furthering his development. Coach Jim Grobe said he's confident that RB Josh Adams is in gear for a solid finish to his last season.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Demon Deacons are becoming more comfortable in their 3-4 setup used the past few weeks. This could be a chance to see some rewards against a Clemson offense that has been sputtering at times, so it's an opportunity for Wake Forest to see if there really has been progress. DE Kyle Wilber continues to be the main playmaker, and the junior has 10 career sacks.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "This team is still very motivated. The team knows it could have played better and should have played better, but there's still a lot to prove." -- C Russell Nenon, a senior who has been around for victories in home finales in two of the previous three years.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Wake Forest has put a lot of attention on keeping games close after a string of blowout losses. The offense hasn't been doing enough, so falling behind again likely would be a bad omen. The Demon Deacons would like to make steps toward a more balanced offense, but pass protection has been shoddy. It reasons that the Demon Deacons have to avoid allowing Clemson's offense to find a spark because it's unlikely Wake Forest can keep up in a high-scoring game.

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