WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (CBSMiami) – The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have a tough enough task trying to keep Saturday’s game against the Florida State Seminoles close. Now, they will have to do it without the team’s top player, wide receiver Michael Campanaro.
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said the receiver will miss at least the next four weeks with a broken collarbone. Campanaro was Demon Deacons quarterback Tanner Price’s top target this season and was responsible for almost thirty percent of the offense for Wake.
“There’s a little bit of pressure, but it’s exciting pressure because you know someone’s got to start making those plays,” tight end Spencer Bishop said Tuesday. “Everyone wants to be that guy. … There’s a little bit of excitement around to see who’s going to step up and make plays for us.”
Grobe said Campanaro can’t be replaced by one player so the Demon Deacons are relying on a committee of receivers to do it.
It helps that some other injured wideouts might be back, including Tyree Harris (bruised sternum), Orville Reynolds (sprained ankle) and John Armstrong (concussion). But none of them have more than 14 catches.
Sherman Ragland III figures to be in that mix after he stepped in last week at Syracuse and had career highs of 10 catches for 91 yards.
“We’re not going to try to highlight one guy to try to get him the football,” Grobe said. “The key for us now is … (to) try to spread it around.”
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he’s preparing for Wake Forest to return to the elements of the option after some of them were scrapped following a 2-3 start.
“I think they can go back and do some of those things now,” Fisher said. “We’ve got to prepare for both groups of what’s going on. So it’ll be tough.”
It probably would have been tougher for the Seminoles had Campanaro not suffered what he called “a minor break” to his collarbone during the first quarter of last week’s game at Syracuse when he was tackled in “a freak way.”
In his absence, the Demon Deacons failed to advance past the Syracuse 42 in a 13-0 loss that put their bowl hopes in serious jeopardy.
The only silver lining, Campanaro said, is that — instead of rewriting the playbook on the fly — they at least can come up with a game plan for the Seminoles (8-0, 6-0) that doesn’t include him.
“Some guys were just out of whack a little bit,” Campanaro said. “I have a lot to do with the offense and I get the ball a lot, so guys are asked to do some things that they usually aren’t expected to do. Just moving forward, now they’re able to prepare for that and they understand the responsibility.”
Campanaro has a total of 842 yards of offense — receiving, rushing and passing — and caught at least 10 passes in four games, including three in a row in October.
He was at the center of the Demon Deacons’ offensive resurgence last month, with the coaches continuing to find creative ways to get the ball in his hands.
He accounted for five touchdowns — catching four and throwing for another — while helping Wake Forest beat N.C. State and Maryland and match then-No. 7 Miami throughout a 24-21 loss.
“It’s just confidence,” Bishop said. “When we’ve played well this year, we feel we can play with anybody. Even though we lost ‘Camp,’ we feel that we can still put our best foot forward. … We have nothing to lose.”
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)