Austin says Wake Forest 'D' solid, sound

Wake Forest is a veteran, experienced team that's had a lot of success as a program the past two seasons.

The Demon Deacon defense has eight fifth-year seniors. The experience factor is a plus for any team, and Rebel offensive coordinator Kent Austin says his offense will have to play better than it did against Memphis, a game in which it was quite successful in a lot of ways.

"They play very well together," Austin said of the WFU offense. "It brings a level of maturity to the defense. They're sound fundamentally. They don't make a lot of mistakes. They're very well coached. You can tell they have good leadership on that side of the ball. Their guys play with great effort."

Austin said the Rebels' offense has to match Wake's effort, intensity, and sound defensive play.

"We need to be the same, and we need to make sure first and foremost that we protect the football," said the former Rebel quarterback, whose offense in a 41-24 win against Memphis didn't have a turnover or penalty for 60 minutes. "They win a lot of games by getting turnovers. We need to win that turnover battle. If we lose that battle, there's a good chance we lose the football game. Our execution has to be a lot better than it was this past week to beat a team that sound fundamentally."

No penalties and no turnovers was quite an achievement in an opener. Austin said those are obviously the type stats a coach wants to see.

"That's always the goal. It obviously doesn't always happen," he said. "It's certainly something we have to strive for again this week. Their defense is so good. They don't get out of position. They're very sound schematically. They play very hard. They play with a lot of confidence, and you can see that on film. They force you to play your best game offensively to beat them."

Austin said that with the possibility of less than perfect weather for a football game on Saturday, the Rebels will have to be especially conscious of taking care of the football.

"If it's going to be high wind and wet, it really puts a premium on protecting the football," said Austin, who acknowledged he had been a part of a lot of inclement weather games in Canada, mostly dealing with cold and snow. "All the center to quarterback exchanges, all the handoffs to the backs, things like that. And when we throw the ball, we need to have practiced with our quarterback throwing a sloppy ball before he gets there."

Which is exactly what the Rebels did during this week's practices.

Having run the Wild Rebel as many as 10 times in the Memphis game, Austin said that will continue to be a valuable weapon for the Rebel offense.

"There are a lot of formations that can be run from it," he said. "We haven't tapped out on that yet."

But don't expect too many more passes to starting quarterback Jevan Snead. The sophomore signal-caller did catch one pass, a 37-yarder thrown by freshman running back Brandon Bolden.

"That might be his only ball of the year," Austin said of Snead's reception, "although he's calling for a lot more now."

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