It is Wake Forest week and it is not hard to find easily the most impactful player on the Demon Deacon roster. That would have to be non other than second team All ACC wide receiver Michael Campanaro. The 5'9 180 lbs converted running back, will be looking to build off his monster game he had against Boston College last season where he caught sixteen passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns. The most impressive part of Campanaro's game against the Eagles was that he did just two weeks after returning from a broken hand.
But what makes Campanaro so dangerous? It's his versatility. Jim Grobe and offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke line up Campanaro all over the field in a variety of sets. They primarily use him as a slot receiver, and with deceivingly fast speed (4.37 40 time), he can burn poor tackling teams. Campanaro also falls back on his days as a wide receiver, occasionally taking handoffs after moving him in motion, or handing him the ball on sweeps. All it takes is some open space and he can become a major problem for any defense. He finished last season with 16 rushes for 82 yards, but it's not just the times he ran the ball that caused problems, but the fact that opposing defenses had to respect the possibility that he could.
Campanaro is not much of a deep threat, think more of the Wes Welker/Randall Cobb ilk. He finished last season with only 6 catches for over 25 yards, but a mind blowing 41 catches that netted Wake Forest a first down. He is the king of the bubble screen, which worked perfectly against the Spaziani Cushion last season. Corners didn't press, Spaz sent linebackers after him (bad move), and Campanaro destroyed BC with a series of dink and dunk receptions. And of course the defense never adjusted.
But hopefully Don Brown will change the way BC attacks Michael Campanaro. If he wants to see the perfect way to do it, he should watch how teams like the Ravens and the 2012 Giants took Wes Welker out of games. Press him at the line of scrimmage, get physical with him and make sure he feels it anytime he goes up the middle. Keep a physical safety like Justin Simmons on Campanaro and make sure to have a hefty linebacker hovering around the middle of the field that isn't afraid to be smack him every time he touches the ball. Baltimore and New York did that to Welker and he was ineffective, hopefully the same would happen to Campanaro.
Campanaro is a rhythm receiver, the last thing you want to do is allow him to get into the flow of the game and feel comfortable. I think Don Brown's defense is tailor made for preventing players like him from having a big game, but we will have to wait until September to see.
Week 1: Villanova QB John Robertson