Key Match-ups for Navy-Wake Forest

Homecoming has been an American tradition since the early 20th century. Alumni return to their Alma Mater for fun, festivities and football. The Naval Academy held their first Homecoming football game in 1950, a 22-0 loss to Northwestern. All time Navy is 36-20 on Homecoming.


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October 20, 2007
1:00 pm
 
Homecoming has been an American tradition since the early 20th century.   Alumni return to their Alma Mater for fun, festivities and football.  The Naval Academy held their first Homecoming football game in 1950, a 22-0 loss to Northwestern.  All time Navy is 36-20 on Homecoming.
 
Navy Coaching vs. Wake Forest Coaching
 
Paul Johnson and Buddy Green must be cautiously enthusiastic about the  outcome of the Pitt game.  The Midshipmen did win and in exciting fashion, but the overall performance still needs improvement.  The pluses  are obvious, the result, the key defensive stop at the end of the game, and the offensive production.  But this coaching staff wont let the negatives; the defensive production (or lack there of), penalties at inopportune times, and poor special teams execution, be overshadowed by the  victory.  The win was Navy's first overtime victory in school history.
 
Jim Grobe led Wake Forest to the ACC Championship and a BCS Bowl birth  in 2006.  The Demon Deacons finished 11-3 and Grobe was the unanimous choice as the ACC Coach of the Year.  He also earned coach of the year  honors from the American Football Coaches Association, the Bobby Dodd Foundation, the Associated Press, The Sporting News and CBS  Sportsline.com.  Wake Forest improved its record from 4-7 in 2005 to 11-3 in 2006.  The seven game difference was the largest turnaround in the nation.   The 2006 ACC Championship was the first for Wake in 36 years.  Grobe wasan assistant at Air Force from 1984 to 1994.
 
Navy Offense vs. Wake Forest Defense
 
If last Wednesday night is any indication of the maturation of Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada then he is growing into a true dual threat quarterback.  The first touchdown pass to Reggie Campbell was perfect.  Campbell was either going to catch the pass or it would have sailed out of the end zone.  This was a drastic improvement from the Rutgers game.  Kaipo completed 9 of 12 passes for 166 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.  He also rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 25 carries.
 
Both fullbacks and three slot backs played well against Pitt.  Eric Kettani and Adam Ballard combined for 131 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.  Ballard fumbled toward the end of the third quarter and did not have another carry.  Reggie Campbell only touched the ball 6 times on offense but recorded 3 touchdowns.  Zerbin Singleton had 5 carries for 39 yards and caught 2 passes for 20 yards while Shun White had 6 carries for 23 yards with a touchdown.
 
The wide receivers are starting to get in on the action.  Tyree Barnes led the team with 3 receptions for 58 yards against Pitt.  O.J. Washington caught a 49-yard pass on Navy's first offensive play.  This offensive line is starting to gel.  Kaipo was sacked twice, but the Midshipmen regained the top spot in rushing, now averaging 345.5 yards per game.
 
The Wake Forest defense is aggressive and fast.  They are currently ranked 46th overall and 22nd against the run.  The line is led by senior defensive end Jeremy Thompson.  Thompson has 6 sacks on the season.   Fellow end Zach Stukes leads the ACC with three fumble recoveries.  Redshirt sophomores Boo Robinson and John Russell man the interior of the line.  Robinson is a mountain of a young man (6' 2'', 326 lb).  He has 3 tackles for loss on the season.  Navy needs to contain Robinson so they can establish the fullback as part of the triple option.
 
Aaron Curry is Demon Deacons active leader in career tackles and tackles for loss with 172 and 21.5 respectively.  He has started 30 consecutive games and is currently second on team in tackles with 44.  Middle linebacker Stanley Arnoux had his best game against Maryland, finishing with 9 tackles and 3 tackles for loss.  Chantz McClinic and Hunter Haynes have manned the other linebacker spot. McClinic has started four games with Haynes starting the other two.  McClinic has 19 tackles on the season while Haynes has 25 tackles and is second on the team with two sacks.
 
Though they rank 91st in the nation, the Wake Forest pass defense is dangerous.  Wake Forest has intercepted a pass in 17 of the last 18 games.  Cornerback Alphonso Smith is the NCAA's active career leader in interceptions returns for touchdowns with four, including three this year.  He is also third on the team in tackles with 26.  Free Safety Chip Vaughn leads the Deacons in tackles this year with 49.  That is good enough to rank 11th in the ACC.  Vaughn also has an interception and a fumble recovery.  Fellow safety Kevin Patterson has 25 tackles and an interception on the year.  Two other corners have starts this season.  Brandon Ghee has started the last four games while Kerry Major started the first two.
 
Wake Forest Offense vs. Navy Defense
 
Quarterback Riley Skinner was voted the ACC's Rookie of the Year for his performance last season.  He led the ACC in passing efficiency, completion percentage and interception rate.  Thus far this season Skinner is picking up where he left off.  He has completed 70.5% of his passes for 891 yards with 4 touchdowns.  The only part of Skinner's game that is going through a sophomore slump is his interception rate.  All of last year he only threw 7, while he already has 9 this season.  These numbers are only through 4 games as Skinner missed two games with a separated shoulder.
 
Wake Forest seems to have found not only their running back of the future but also their running back of the present.  Redshirt freshman Josh Adams leads the team with 364 yards on 71 carries.  He is currently the ACC Rookie of the Week.  Against Florida State Adams finished with 140 yards on 18 carries.  In the second quarter he shredded the Seminole defense on an 83-yard touchdown run.  Senior Micah Andrews started the first four games this season.  He has 1,364 yards for his career, 223 this season.
 
The Demon Deacons most versatile player is wide receiver/running back/return specialist Kenny Moore.  The senior leads the team in receiving with 41 catches for 434 yards and 2 touchdowns and is second on the team in rushing with 27 carries for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Moore was moved to running back last season last season in order to keep the redshrit on Adams.  He had a career day running the ball against Maryland in 2006.  Moore finished that day with 27 carries and 165 yards.  This season he recorded 15 receptions against Boston College, tying a school record.  Tight end John Tereshinski is second on the team with 19 receptions.  Zac Selmon is listed as the started.  At 6' 5'' Selmon may present a match up problem for the Midshipmen.
 
For the most part Wake Forest has started the same offensive line the entire season.  Louis Frazier, Matthew Brim and Steve Justice have started every game this season at left tackle, left guard and center respectively.  On the right side Chris DeGeare and Joe Birdsong have started 5 of the 6 games this season.  Athlon named this unit the best in the ACC before the season.
 
The three things that continue to plague the Navy defense; missed tackles, missed tackles and missed tackles.  As the young unit continues to gel the number of missed assignments and efforts (plays with lack of full effort) are dropping.  But the fundamental skill of tackling is missing.  Against Pitt there were several occasions where a Panther player was surrounded by several Navy defenders and still was not brought down.  Tackling must improve in order for the Midshipmen to enjoy a successful second half of the season.
 
The emergence of Ram Vela at outside linebacker has allowed Matt Nechak to move to defensive end.  Nechak had struggled in space and his size (6' 4'', 244 lb) lends itself to more of a down lineman in the Navy system.  This additional depth will only help the end rotation of Chris Kuhar-Pitters, Michael Walsh, Jordan Stephens and Kyle Bookhout.  At nose guard Nate Frazier is starting to come into his own.  He has 21 tackles for the year, including two tackles for loss and one sack.  Fellow sophomore Andy Lark is also improving.  He recorded his first tackle for loss against Pittsburgh.
 
Seniors Matt Wimsatt and Irv Spencer are not only the leaders of the linebacking corps, but also the leaders of the defense.  They rank first and second respectively in tackles.  Ram Vela continues to impress in his new role.  He recorded a career high nine tackles against Pitt.  Tony Haberer seems to have locked down the other starting spot.
 
Cornerback Rashawn King was the defensive star of the night against Pitt.  Not only did he break-up the Panthers final pass attempt ending the game, he also recorded nine tackles and an interception.  Freshman free safety Wyatt Middleton had both a team and career high 12 tackles verses Pitt.  With Ketric Buffin out due to a broken arm, either Jesse Iwuji or Kevin Snyder will need to step up at rover.  Snyder recorded the first four tackles of his career against Pitt and forced a fumble.  Iwuji has had an up and down season thus far, starting three games, two at rover and one at free safety.  Blake Carter continues to improve at the other corner spot.
 
Navy Special Teams vs. Wake Forest Special Teams
 
Two special teams miscues almost cost Navy a victory in Pittsburgh.  First punter Greg Veteto opted to run on a rugby style punt attempt early in the fourth quarter.  It wasn't the fake that I minded but it was the execution.  Veteto had a seem between the middle and the outside but chose to cut back inside toward All Big East linebacker Scott McKillop.  The other was in the first overtime when an offside penalty allowed Pitt to continue their dive for a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal.
 
The aforementioned Veteto was punting rugby style because Pitt got a piece of his first punt.  The punt did still cover 31 yards.
 
Joey Bullen was 2 of 4 on field goals against Pitt.  He came up short on a 48-yard attempt that would have ended the game in regulation but more importantly he did connect from 29 yards on what proved to be the game winner in the second overtime.  Reggie Campbell almost broke the kick return we have been waiting for.  Unfortunately the Pitt kicker got in his way and he had to settle for a 60-yard return.
 
Junior kicker Sam Swank is currently third all-time in scoring at Wake Forest.  He is a perfect 83 of 83 on extra point attempts.  This season he is 5 of 5 on field goals with a long of 48 yards.  Swank also handles the punting duties for the Demon Deacons.  Of his 39 attempts, 14 have resulted in the opponents starting inside their 20-yard line.  Swank is currently the ACC Special Teams Player of the Week.
 
Kevin Marion and Kenny Moore share the kick off return duties while Moore is the primary punt returner.  Moore returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown against Army.  He currently averages 10.3 yards per punt return.  Marion is averaging 21.6 yards per kick off return.
 

 

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