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October 4, 2013
NC State's defense shouldn't have too hard of a time of a time in knowing what tricks and surprises Wake Forest throws at them Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The Wolfpack defensive players have seen a steady stream of reverses, jet sweeps and occasional trick play against their offensive teammates in practice during the spring and fall camp. The Demon Deacons do like to establish some option football mixed in, and that will be different.
NC State defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable confirmed that the players saw some trick plays during practice this week.
"They are very multiple in the things that they do offensively," Huxtable said. "Week-to-week, they've changed a little bit. They are looking a little bit different each week. We are preparing for a lot of things.
"There are a lot of things that they do which are similar to our offense. We've worked against some of those things, but there are some things different. There is a lot of familiarity."
Clemson completed 10 passes to star junior wide receiver Sammy Watkins, with eight in the first half, but couldn't get him free downfield. Wake Forest senior wide receiver Michael Campanaro is also a volume target for the Demon Deacons.
"There is some and just like last week with CMU trying to get the ball to No. 84 [junior Titus Davis]," Huxtable said. "He's their guy and he leads the group in catches with 32. He is the guy they look to for the big play."
NC State senior cornerback Dontae Johnson followed Campanaro around last year and held him to five receptions for 12 yards in a magnificent performance. Huxtable could copycat that game plan.
"We are going to be who we are and we may have a couple of different things," Huxtable said. "We are going to stay true to who we are and do what we do."
Campanaro has 32 receptions for 429 yards and two touchdowns, and also has four carries for 10 yards on the ground. The 5-11, 190-pounder caught 16 passes for 177 yards in a 21-19 loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 14.
The next closes receiver is lanky redshirt freshman Jonathan Williams, who has 13 catches for 206 yards.
"He [Campanaro] is a good player but I think the rest of the group they have are good players too," Huxtable said. "It just so happens at this point in the season, he is the guy that they have gone to more than the others. They are all out there, so we have to defend them all."
Senior quarterback Tanner Price is always on the same page with Campanaro. The four-year starter isn't going to be rattled too much by anything he sees by the Wolfpack defense. He has gone 80-of-141 passing for 977 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions this season.
NC State had three interceptions against Central Michigan last week, the first ones of the season.
"I don't know [if Price can be rattled], but we have to go out and play hard, play smart and play tough," Huxtable said. "That was nice [with the three interceptions]. That first one was a pick-six [by senior outside linebacker D.J. Green]. That helped us get off to the start we needed."
Price runs the option decently, but he isn't a threat to keep the ball and sprint for 60 yards. He has rushed 48 times for 76 yards and a score, sharing team-high honors with senior running back Josh Harris for most rushing attempts on the team.
"They are a spread option offense and are multiple in their formations, with a lot of different things that they do," Huxtable said. "We've worked hard here this week to be able to defend them all, and show them to our guys. Hopefully, we go out and do a good job with it."
Wake Forest has struggled running the football and are going through a youth movement on the offensive line with two freshmen and a sophomore starting.
"They are going to run the football and everything starts on the line of scrimmage," Huxtable said. "Our D-Line has done a good job for us in our first four games. I expect them to do another good job, with the linebackers and secondary behind them. It is all a team effort."
NC State will be bolstered by the healthy return of fifth-year senior defensive end Forrest West, but fellow end Darryl Cato-Bishop has been ruled for the game. Redshirt freshman Drew Davis switched from linebacker to defensive end prior to the Central Michigan game, and responded with four tackles and two tackles for loss.
"I'll tell you what, he did a really good job," Huxtable said. "I knew he would do a good job because I had worked with him at linebacker. He has an unbelievable motor and he's tough. He loves to play the game. He is a great hustler. He only had a short time there during the week but Coach [Ryan] Nielsen did a great job of preparing him.
"I knew Drew would go out there and make some plays because of the size of his heart and amount of hustle he has."
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