Wake looks to bounce back against winless Army
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Jim Grobe appreciates the way the service academies play football. His humbled Demon Deacons just can't afford to get beat by another one when they host Army on Saturday night.
Grobe spent a decade as an assistant at Air Force, and has played six games against the academies since 2007. Wake Forest is 3-3 in those games, including three losses in the last four meetings with Navy - which, like Army (0-2), uses a triple-option offense.
"We have to approach things from a different angle," Grobe said. "We've got to try to stop the run, but what Army can hurt us with - as Navy has done in the past - is play-action passes. They get you crowding the line of scrimmage trying to stop the run, and beat you with some throws where you've turned people loose and don't cover them."
That's almost a polar opposite from what the Demon Deacons (2-1) faced last week against a nationally ranked Florida State team that used big plays from its elite players to rout them 52-0 - their worst loss since the 1996 Maryland team beat them by the same score.
"We just can't think we're going to come out and kill Army because we're upset about last week," Wake Forest linebacker Justin Jackson said. "We definitely know that we need to work harder. That's one benefit of last week - we know we've got to work harder to get better."
Army has the second most productive rushing offense in the nation, averaging 384 yards, and that offsets a passing game that ranks last in the Bowl Subdivision with an average of 29 yards.
The key question might be which team has the advantage when Wake Forest has the ball.
The Black Knights have one of the worst defenses in the country, ranking 105th in total defense, last against the pass and 115th in points allowed. So if the Demon Deacons can't get anything going against them, it won't bode well once they become immersed in the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.
Wake Forest is 114th or worse in three major offensive categories with averages of 68 yards rushing (116th), 281 total yards (114th) and 16 points (115th).
"In our world, there's somebody always open," Army coach Rich Ellerson said of his defense. "The question is, can you get to that quarterback and make him feel you before he finds that open person. ... Pressure always has to be part of it, but we don't have the experience level on the defensive side of the ball to try and bring too much to the table.
"We're going to do some things and create some indecision, but we have to play within our package. We have to be able to get better from these last couple of games."
Updated September 21, 2012