WINSTON-SALEM — Wake Forest football coach Jim Grobe didn’t have to do much to get his players focused on Saturday’s game against ACC foe North Carolina.
The Tar Heels did most of the work for Grobe in their 62-0 romp over Elon. It was UNC’s highest-scoring victory in 17 years and its first shutout since 1999.
“They didn’t even need to see the video,” Grobe said Tuesday. “You hear that night the score was 62-0 ... that got everybody’s attention.
“I expected Carolina to beat them, but not like that. That was pretty impressive.”
While the Tar Heels (1-0) cruised to an easy victory in Larry Fedora’s coaching debut, the Deacons (1-0) struggled mightily before pulling out a 20-17 win over Liberty.
“I was telling the other receivers that we’ve got to get in the film room and study these guys,” said flanker Michael Campanaro, who had a 31-yard touchdown catch and finished with nine receptions for 96 yards against the Flames.
“Liberty played great ball, but after looking at UNC it’s definitely going to pick up. We’ll see what kind of team we’re made of.”
Grobe said part of Wake Forest’s problems last week came from “overpreparing” for a new-look Liberty team, which has a new head coach (former Kansas coach Turner Gill) and staff, including former North Carolina head coach Carl Torbush.
“Maybe we did too many things and prepared for too much,” Grobe said. “Prepared for too much offense and prepared for too much defense, and ended up not being real good at anything.”
However, Grobe said even with the changes North Carolina has seen under Fedora – a high-tempo spread offense and a radical 4-2-5 defense – preparing for the Tar Heels will be somewhat easier now that the coaching staff has video of them in action.
“We’ll be able to hone in a little bit more,” Grobe said. “We’ll be able to eliminate some things we did the last three weeks just getting ready for Liberty, and be able to do some more bread-and-butter stuff.”
“We’ve got a pretty good idea about what Carolina’s best stuff is. It’s a matter of whether we’ll be able to do anything about it.”
HARRIS OK: Tailback Josh Harris may return to the Deacons’ lineup this week after getting knocked out of last week’s game against Liberty with a mild concussion.
However, whether Harris will get the start over redshirt freshman Deandre Martin against the Tar Heels remains to be seen, according to Grobe.
“That’ll be up to Mitch,” Grobe said, referring to Wake Forest associate head coach/running backs coach Billy Mitchell. “Deandre played really good, and I’m actually mad at myself for not getting Orville (Reynolds) time in there.
“But we were in a close game where we couldn’t have anything go wrong. We could’ve gone with a fresh guy who didn’t have many reps, but one mistake would’ve been the difference.”
Harris, Wake Forest’s No. 2 rusher last season, had just five carries for zero yards before coming out of last week’s game late in the first quarter. Martin finished with 74 yards on 21 carries, including the Deacons’ go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
“I think Josh will be OK,” Grobe said. “He actually ran some plays (Monday night) without pads on and didn’t have any problems.”
A BRIGHT SPOT: One of the few bright spots for Wake Forest in last week’s win over Liberty was punter Alex Kinal.
Kinal, a native of Australia making his American football debut, averaged only 36.0 yards per kick on eight punts, but five landed inside the Liberty 20 and two others resulted in minus return yards.