Wake Forest vs. Army: Game rewind

Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

I ran through the Wake-Army replay last night and wrote out some notes on the game! Lengthy, but worth the read if you have the time.

Due to copious of amounts of time that I currently have on my hands, as well as my love for Wake Forest football knowing no bounds, I decided to rewatch the Wake Forest-Army football game. It was much more entertaining than re-watching the FSU game, I'll tell you that right now. There were a lot of fireworks, and even on second glance it was really difficult to tell where Army was going with the football (even with the play-by-play right in front of me at all times).

I picked up a fair amount of tidbits that could hopefully prove useful for those that want to take the time to read it.

Warning: It is lengthy, and it is somewhat a rambling narrative in some places. I broke it down to Offense (1st half and 2nd half), and Defense (1st half and 2nd half). At the end there is a TL;DR summary. READ IT ALL THOUGH!!! It was also typed initially in Word, so the font is different, but deal with it ok?!?!? Thanks!

OFFENSE (1st Half)

Ø The Deacs kickoff return game is really, really poor. That needs a lot of work.

Ø Price to Terry on the first possession would have been a TD if Tanner hit him in stride.

Ø The wide runs to Camp on the first drive definitely helped lead to the big holes in the middle later in the game.

Ø Army’s gameplan against Camp was just really poor on the first drive. You cannot guard him in single coverage and expect to stop him.

Ø Great 4th down playcall early on by Coach Lobotzke. Good blocking and an easy first down by Josh Harris. Set tone for the rushing game on the day.

Ø Fantastic effort by Camp on the first TD rush. Ragland had an absurdly hard hit on an Army defender to help out. Terry had a solid block as well.

Ø Brandon Terry is an excellent blocker for a wide receiver. The first two touchdowns were made possible by Terry’s blocking on the perimeter.

Ø The Wake offensive line also dominated the Army defense at the LOS all day long.

Ø Kudos to Coach Lobotzke for the different looks on offense all day. This stretched the defense out and made the running easy.

Ø I don’t know what Army was trying to do against Camp. It was a bad gameplan though. They let him run through the middle of the field a lot without a body on him.

Ø Martin does a great job of seeing the hole and kicking it into gear to hit it. No dancing, just running.

Ø The second TD by Camp was nearly unstoppable. Great blocking and great moves by Camp to get to the endzone. Perfectly executed screen pass by the Deacs.

Ø Tanner Price really didn’t have that good of a game in my opinion. It seemed like he was a little off on his timing to the receivers not named Michael Campanaro.

Ø As good as Camp is, and as well as he played, Tanner seemingly locked on to him too much throughout the game. More than once Price had a man downfield and instead checked down to Camp or just threw the ball away before making his second or third reads downfield.

Ø Tanner Price and Sherman Ragland had a horrific miscommunication on a play that should have been intercepted by Chris Carnegie. It looked like SRIII had the outside and Price threw it right when SRIII cut inside. I’m not sure how the interception was overturned with "indisputable evidence". I guess they ruled that the ground caused the ball to pop out of Carnegie’s hand. (6:37 remaining in the 2nd quarter)

Ø Martin is a very powerful running back and has the rare combo of speed to go with that power. He could be a very, very good one for MSD. Lethal stiff-arm.

Ø Price’s lob to Camp for Wake’s third TD was just perfect. Great throw and catch to Camp in single-coverage (once again not sure of Army’s scheming to guard him). Nice awareness by Coach Lobotzke to identify that single-coverage with no safety help and make that play call. Pretty dumb to leave the cornerback on an island with Camp in the endzone. Hard to overstate how good of a throw that was by Tanner though.

OFFENSE (2nd Half)

Ø The first drive of the second half was all about Josh Harris, capped off by his absolutely absurd TD run that showed great balance and running capabilities. He showed more patience than he has in the past and showed he can run out of shotgun, I-Form, or pistol formation in this drive alone. (4 carries, 38 yards, TD)

Ø The Army D really keyed in on the outside runs and Campanaro specifically. This opened up a lot of big holes in the middle that the Deacs O-Line did a good job of creating.

Ø WE ALSO ACTUALLY COMPLETED A PASS TO A TIGHT END!!!! (Spencer Bishop, who promptly comes out right after).

Ø Once again, Brandon Terry is really, really good at pass blocking. I know the Deacs staff will recognize this and get him in the right spots in weeks to come to help Camp get some space.

Ø The second drive of the half was all about DeAndre Martin. He came in on a short field and just dominated the Army defense. Big kudos the line and playcalling once again, as the TD came on a direct snap to Martin. Good call to give this play to Martin because of his ability to quickly read the defense and react to it.

Ø Also big ups to Tommy Bohanon for lining up as the TE (in the H-Back position), and getting the block that sealed Martin to the inside.

Ø A bit problematic that in early in both halves the Deacs had to burn a timeout because they couldn’t get the play in/had miscommunication. That needs to get fixed. I’m guessing it was because they were trying to get in the Wildcat with Martin and it failed.

Ø I’m absolutely loving the alternating of Harris and Martin in possessions. It gives them each a chance to get into a good rhythm and it paid dividends on Saturday.

Ø Although Tanner had some questionable plays (throwing off back foot, not leading receivers enough), he doesn’t get enough credit for the little things that matter, like extending plays via the rollout and throwing darts to receivers.

Ø On JRoc’s 63 yard TD, it was out of the I-Form and he just saw the hole and went. That’s exactly what he needs to do every single play. The zone blocking was superb and the ability to get downfield to block the linebackers was the difference in it being a 4 to 5 yard and a 63 yard TD run. Excellent downfield blocking by the O-Line.

Ø Glad to see Deacs finally downing the ball when it’s kicked into the end zone. Based on our kick return I would take the 25 every single time.

Ø The 4th Quarter was a defensive stalwart for the most part (other than the late Martin TD to ice the game). Both defenses got more pressure in the backfield that disrupted the draws and screens (Wake), and the triple option (Army).

Ø Michael Campanaro makes the Army defense look like a high school team. He catches the quick screen, gets another big block by Terry and just runs past everybody else. Elite speed.

Ø I’m not sure whether our line got tired and couldn’t hold the blocks as long or if Army was just catching onto our motion and keying in on where the ball was going in the 4th quarter. They did a much better job of staying at home and defending our misdirection offense, particularly in coverage downfield.

Ø Camp with one of his only mistakes of the game as he drops a wide open pass against single-coverage (again with dumb coverage by Army) that would have gotten first down and extended the drive.

Ø Fantastic punt once again by Kinal to pin Army at the 15 on a fair catch, but a five yard penalty pushes it to the 20 yard line. Another dumb mistake by the Deacs that winds up not hurting them too much.

Ø Originally I thought this was a horrible play by Coach Lobotzke, but I see now what happened. On first down with 5:47 left the Deacs try another screen pass to Camp and Tanner throws it away because the Army guy looked like he might jump the route (at least that’s what it looked like to me on replay). I have no problem with that call since it worked all day long. Just didn’t work there…it happens.

Ø Price makes up for it with a game-changing 19 yard run on 3rd and long. His running skills are greatly underappreciated on an ACC and national stage. Shows great mobility to extend the play, which he did several times on Saturday.

Ø Once again, Brandon Terry understands what is happening downfield and seals the edge for Price to get the first down. Camp may seem like the obvious MVP for this game, but Brandon Terry may be MVP 1B. He had a superbly underrated game.

Ø Now I don’t get the PA throw on 1st down after the run by Price, especially after the run game has dominated all game. No need to get flashy, run the football and win the game.

Ø Man, there was nowhere to go on 3rd and 3 and Martin just ran through everybody to extend the ball and get it to the 1st down marker. He was probably short of the 1st down marker though upon replay. Either way, he gets it and the drive is extended. Just a big play for a young guy in Martin. It’s the small things that win the game, and the Deacs did a couple more than the Black Knights on Saturday.

Ø The insistence on throwing the ball, even while Army is using timeouts is a little unsettling. I understand that the screen passes are extensions of the running game, but running up the middle has been solid all game. Perhaps fumbling concerns surrounding Martin were popping up in the coaching staffs minds. It’s obvious the staff wanted the ball in Camp’s hands at all costs.

Ø DeAndre Martin seals the game with a beautifully patient run that started left and headed to the right downfield. Just a great run all-around. The offensive line did a great job of blocking up front and Martin takes advantage of the linebacking corps overpursuit of the ball and cuts it back to win the game for the Deacs.

DEFENSE (1st Half)

Ø On the long pass play Daniel Mack moved up to defend an underneath route and lost contain on Lawrence who ran by Bud Noel at the corner.

Ø Hazime played in the middle a lot. Army dominated the LOS up front on first TD drive.

Ø Really low kick on the XP leads to the blocked kick.

Ø In the first half the perimeter was defended very well and the middle was just atrocious. Coach Knorr flipped that completely at halftime.

Ø Tackling, as a whole, was horrendous all game for the Deacs. No excuse whatsoever for some of the missed tackles. Not going to call out names here, but it’s pretty much a team-wide problem.

Ø On the second TD run, three Deacs touched Dixon and couldn’t bring him down. Inexcusably poor tackling up the middle.

Ø Tylor Harris has good size and athleticism but seemingly has a problem with reacting to the ball being snapped. That is something that sets Nikita apart from everybody else. Hopefully this will come as Harris gets up to speed with the college game.

Ø The linebackers got taken out of the play way too quickly by the Army cut blockers.

Ø I can’t get over how much the Army O-line dominated the Deacs up front. It’s hard to tell, eve n on replay, how much of that was the scheme of Army or not.

Ø The defense got the job done with Army up 20-14 and with the ball. The Black Knights could have stretched the lead to two possessions but the Deacs manned up and got the big stop.

Ø Kris Redding was the catalyst in this big stop.

Ø In the second quarter it becomes obvious that Wake has adjusted a little bit and knows where they need to be. From there they still had some troubles, but were reading the offense well. Positioning was much improved from here on.

Ø Disappointing that the defense let Army get a FG and the lead before the half, but it could have been worse. Strange that Army essentially let the TD go by the wayside in favor of the field goal. They had a timeout left and instead let time run down and get the guaranteed three points.

DEFENSE (2nd Half)

Ø The first two plays of the first half showed great adjustments by the Deacs in defending the option, as it forced the ball to go wide and Raymond Maples can’t control the pitch and Justin Jackson recovers.

Ø Kris Redding was also knocked up on the play and was really frustrated about what appears to be a lower right leg injury.

Ø Raymond Maples has a lot of speed for Army, and got most of his yards as the third option when the edge was sealed by the Army o-line and receiving corps.

Ø From what I can see, the cornerbacks got taken out of plays way too easily. Same complaint I had about the linebackers in the first half.

Ø Most of Army’s damage was done on 3rd down and an intermediate yardage to go. In the second half a lot of this was to the outside, as the Deacs really did shut down the middle after the half for the most part.

Ø Just a note, but Jimmy Newman has been dominating kickoffs this year. 66% of his kicks have gone for touchbacks. That’s up from 18% last season. Amazing what that 5-yard difference can do.

Ø It almost seems from possession to possession the Deacs forget what they need to do to contain the option run. I guess that’s what it does to a team.

Ø From what I can tell the biggest indicator of whether or not Army was going to succeed in the run was what type of pressure the Deacs got in the backfield. This sounds simplistic, but when the Deacs pressured Steelman and got penetration the Black Knights couldn’t do anything.

Ø I’m not going to go to war for the defense based on this performance, but I gotta tell y’all, this offense on replay looks even more impressive than it did in person. There are just so many wrinkles in it that have to be guarded against at all times. Even for a team as smart as the Deacs it is difficult to defend without perfect discipline and marking.

Ø The 5th Army TD was really disappointing because it was obvious that it was going to be a throw (3rd and Goal from the 12), and the second level defenders in the linebacking corps and secondary just overpursued and didn’t stay disciplined, allowing for a nice little lob over the top to Raymond Maples on a wheel route in the endzone. Trent Steelman can really run this offense well.

Ø Huge stand by the Deacs after Army stopped the Deacs on the previous possession. The defensive line did a great job of getting penetration and Zach Thompson/Tylor Harris did a nice job.

Ø Really, really stupid block in the back by Bud Noel on that punt. He’s smarter than that and I’m sure knows he made a mistake to pin the Deacs back after the punt.

Ø This defensive stand proves to be the game-winner for the Deacs. Army moves the ball down the field with ease but because Trent Steelman gets injured while Army is in Wake territory the drive stalls. If he hadn’t gotten injured I’m not sure the Deacs would have stopped the Black Knights, but that’s the way injuries break sometimes. Angel Santiago does his best as a backup QB but just can’t get it done like Steelman can.

Ø A.J. Marshall puts a HUGE hit on Steelman that ultimately forces him out of the game (left rib area) and also nearly seals the game for the Deacs because Steelman fumbled the ball. Great effort by Malcom Brown to get the ball back for the Black Knights in the midst of three Wake defenders. Big time play by Marshall.

Ø On the last four plays Santiago made the right handoff on 1st down, hesitated on 2nd down and took a HUGE hit from Tylor Harris, make the right handoff to Dixon on 3rd, and Mike Olson forced him to keep the ball on 4th on what looked like it might have been a sprintout pass (or maybe a QB keep). Ups to the Wake defense for making the big stop, but no doubt that the QB injury played a huge role in the games bottom line.

TL;DR

> Brandon Terry had a low key HUGE game for the Deacs. The first two TD's were a product of his blocking, and the 3rd and 12 scramble by Price would have failed if not for the sealed off block on the outside by Terry to extend the run. Great field awareness and I'm sure he's getting a ton of recognition in film study this week by the coaches.

> The offensive line had their way with the Army defensive line, especially our right side of the line. They were bigger, stronger and better than Army at the LOS, and offensively the Deacs flexed their muscles and ran for 296 yards (which was actually over 300 yards if you take out the kneels at the end of the game).

> The defense without a doubt struggled without Nikita Whitlock in the middle to disrupt the Army rushing attack, but it's hard to overstate how difficult it is to defend the option.

> Tackling is atrocious and needs to be rectified immediately if the Deacs want to have any chance of a special season.

> Michael Campanaro is an absolute stud, but we knew that.

> Josh Harris and DeAndre Martin proved to be a ferocious two-headed monster when they are patient and given adequate blocking up front.

> Kris Redding has emerged as one of the top three most important players on the defense right now.

> Tanner Price still has some things to work on, but looked really, really good at times on Saturday. His fade route to Camp was a thing of beauty for the third Deacon TD.

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