After a week off due to the Notre Dame game being cancelled, the Deacs are back in action this Friday in Winston-Salem against the Campbell Fighting Camels in the 1 non conference game of the season. The Camels are currently 0-3, but they have played very competitively as an FCS school taking on FBS teams; in week 1, the Camels were a last minute 2-point conversion away from beating the Georgia Southern Eagles for their first ever FBS win. To prepare for Friday’s matchup, let’s take a quick look at the Campbell offense.
In their 3 losses to FBS teams this season (Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, App State), the Camels are averaging 338 yards and 22.6 points per game. For the sake of comparison, if they were an FBS school, that would put them around 58th in the nation in yards per game and 52nd in points per game out of the 72 FBS teams that have played a game this season. So while Campbell does play in division down from the Deacs, they are definitely more than capable of holding their own on the offensive side of the ball.
In terms of scheme, the Campbell offense isn’t anything that you won’t see all over college football on a weekly basis. The Camels run a spread system that uses a mix of zone read, RPO, and quick passing style plays that rely heavily on the talent of their QB, Hajj-Malik Williams.
Williams is a true dual threat quarterback and leads the Camels in both passing and rushing. Through the air, he has completed 50% of his passes for 475 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. On the ground, he leads the team with 43 carries (the next closest runner has 26 carries) for 179 yards (4.2 avg) and 4 touchdowns. He is very good at extending plays with his legs when things break down, either scrambling for yards or buying himself enough time to find an open man down the field.
This is important, because the Campbell offensive line has really struggled with pass blocking this season. Williams has already been sacked 9 times for a loss of 54 yards this year, including 5 times in the Coastal Carolina game. I expect that the Wake Forest defensive line will wreak havoc on Campbell in obvious passing situations, so containing Williams and not letting him escape the pocket on those downs is going to be very important to getting off the field.
One final thought for the Campbell offense: because the Camels use a lot of quick hitting passing routes such as slants and hitches when they throw the ball, this should be a great opportunity for the Deacs to get some game reps using the press coverage that was talked about so much during the offseason, but hasn’t been used so much so far.
Hopefully the Wake Forest defense has taken advantage of the extra week and fixed some of the big issues that we saw during the first 2 weeks. We shall see.