WINSTON-SALEM Any football opponent of Armys knows exactly what to expect.
When you see the academies , Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said. Youre going to get four quarters of guys playing like their hairs on fire.
The Wake Forest coach visits Army at noon on Saturday, less than a week after bemoaning his teams lack of intensity in last weeks 21-19 home loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Now 1-2 with next weeks trip to top 5 Clemson looming, the Deacons are in desperate need of a victory in the picturesque confines of Michie Stadium.
And theyll be playing a team buoyed by its performance in a hard-fought 34-20 loss to fifth-ranked Stanford.
I think we raised the bar on where we can be in terms of how hard we can play, how emotional we can be, and how we can manage that emotion instead of being used by it, Army coach Rich Ellerson. Thats important, because this is an emotional game.
As I told the players, thats the worst well play for the rest of the year. That needs to be the way it is.
Other than the intensity with which they play, the Black Knights (1-2) are best known for their triple-option wishbone attack that perennially makes them one of college footballs best rushing teams. Army is No. 7 in the nation in rushing (314 yards per game) and No. 123, or last, in passing (75.3 ypg).
Wake Forest has played either Army or Navy which runs a similar option offense enough in recent seasons to know what it will be up against. The Deacons allowed 506 yards (429 rushing) last season, defeating the Black Knights 49-37 at BB&T Field.
Last year we were really uncomfortable with Army because it was a track meet both ways, Grobe said. Youre just wondering who can make the first team kick a field goal, and you figure youve got a chance to win if you can do that.
Grobe said he thinks the Deacons defense is better; however, it will be without Steve Donatell, a redshirt freshman outside linebacker who tore anterior-cruciate and posterior-cruciate ligaments last week.
Kevis Jones, another redshirt freshman, is expected to replace Donatell.
Fullback Larry Dixon leads Army with 242 yards on 31 carries, quarterback Angel Santiago has gained 211 yards on 48 carries, and halfback Raymond Maples is fourth with 123 yards on 23 carries. Maples gashed Wake Forest for 140 yards on 15 carries last season, and Dixon added 112 yards on 21 carries.
Its a nightmare trying to get ready for that option stuff, Grobe said. They run it as efficiently as anybody in the country. You can probably throw Army, Air Force and Navy all together. Theyre all great at it.
They block very aggressively, so you know its going to be a very physical game. Youd better bring your big-boy pads when you go play these guys. And theyre very disciplined in everything that they do.
The Winston-Salem Journal is a news partner of the Observer. For more Wake Forest coverage go to journalnow.com/sports/wfu/
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less