November 13, 2007

Tuesday's practice report: Run defense excels

North Carolina State gave up 314 yards rushing to Miami on Nov. 3. The Wolfpack limited North Carolina to just 12 yards a week later.

NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer is not sure he has an explanation for why there was a 302-yard improvement from one week to the next.

"You try and analyze why things like that happened, but I'm glad they did," Archer said. "[UNC] gave up on the run awfully quickly and made it a throwing game. You just got to adapt to what people try to do and go from there."

The Pack's running defense will need to be stout against Wake Forest, which has a strong commitment to run the football on offense. The Deacs are averaging a respectable 143.2 yards per game rushing.

"They've been tops in our conference in running the football since Coach [Jim Grobe] has been there," Archer pointed out. "This year, statistically they are not where they normally are. I got to believe they are going to try and establish the run. When they establish the running game, then their passing game and their play action and their boots are that more effective."

Wolfpack fans may not see all of the normal spread option attack Wake has traditionally employed under Grobe.

"They've gone away from some things that they did last year," Archer said. "They really have simplified it. It looks like they are not in quite as many formations, but it's still an emphasis in running the football. They are very balanced, 50-50 run and pass. They give you a lot of different personnel groups and motion.

"You got to stop [wide receiver Kenneth] Moore, he's the key. Moore and [wide receiver Kevin Marion], those guys can run, they're big play guys and they try to get the ball in their hands."

The basic philosophy of running the football is still there.

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