WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Deacs got more work in Monday afternoon under the hot sun, which was baking down on the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex.
Tulane game prep was in full swing, but the highlight play of the day was a leaping one-handed grab by Chucky Wade deep over the middle of the field. The play earned rabid cheers from the whole team watching.
Wake coach Dave Clawson spoke with Demon Deacon Digest just three days before the season kicks off against Tulane.
On what he saw
Clawson: “This is four-straight days we’ve gotten some work in the heat. Tomorrow we’ll go early in the morning and probably have cooler weather. We’ll have a little recovery as they have 48 hours off their feet before kickoff.”
On classes starting Tuesday and then the game Thursday - lots going on
Clawson: “Yeah, we’ll practice before class, which is great. It’ll be the first thing they do, then they’ll have the rest of the afternoon to take care of their studies. That was one of the reasons we wanted to practice in the morning, because it reduces so many more class conflicts. There are so many professor hours and group project meetings in the afternoon. It’s a lot less conflicts with classes. Then Wednesday we have the walk through and we’re ready to go.”
On the Thursday game day
Clawson: “It’s torture. To wake up Thursday morning. To sit there all day. It’s torture. I love the early game, and love playing Thursday. I love it because you get to camp a little earlier and you get to prepare for the second game. Anytime you play weeknight football, you’re in the hotel all day and there’s no college football to watch. At least on Saturday nights, you can watch other games. This is just — you’re not going to watch soap operas or anything. I usually go for a run in the morning, then a walk — just something to calm the butterflies a little bit. We’ll do a walk through and have them get off their feet. These guys take naps.”
On if they responded well to the consecutive days in the heat
Clawson: “To me, it’s the end of camp and you’ve had all these days in the heat — there’s going to be a little, physically it’s going to get to them. To me, I don’t want them to break down mentally. We were good assignment wise and I thought guys were locked in. I think they’re ready to play a game.”
On coaches usually wanting more prep time, but it sounding like they’re ready to play
Clawson: “Coaches would, but our players are ready to play. You work all year and you circle Sept. 1 as the first game. You know Tulane is the opener and you talk about your goal of being 1-0. I think they’re anxious for it to get here.’
On general impressions of Tulane
Clawson: “They play in a good conference, and they’ve hired a coach who’s won every place he’s been. He won a lot of games at Georgia Southern. He did it last year with a freshman quarterback. They have a very difficult offense to defend. They run a lot of motions and options concepts. There’s the unknown of what will they do differently, since it’s his first year there. Defensively, they return eight or nine starters. They have a tackle who’s a NFL draft choice, and they have an end who can really rush the passer. The linebacker (Nico) Marley has more than 230 career tackles. They’re a little like us in the back end. They played a lot of young kids last year, but they’re good players. They’re back and experienced. They’ve got some really good running backs. They have a stable of running backs that I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s some two and three back stuff given what their offense is. The AAC is a good conference, with Houston, Memphis, Temple and a lot of good programs. They played multiple ACC teams last year. They’ve got a head coach who’s won everywhere he’s been. He knows how to run a program and he knows what he’s doing. They will be very well coached and very athletic.”
On if they watched Georgia Southern film to prepare
Clawson: “We looked at Tulane for personnel, but Georgia Southern for scheme. They will end up in a lot of two and three back sets. You have to defend the dive, the quarterback and the pitch. Then they have a play action off it that will drive you nuts.”