WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson met with the media following the Deacs practice Tuesday morning at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex.
The big news was the Kendall Hinton was awarded the starting quarterback position, with no definitive plan to use former starter John Wolford.
Here’s the last remaining segment of Clawson’s question and answer period.
On how big it was to control the line of scrimmage against Duke
Clawson: “Yes, especially since I feel they controlled the line of scrimmage against us the last two years. We feel like we’ve been getting stronger. (Strength and conditioning) coach (Brandon) Hourigan and his staff do a tremendous job in the weight room. We’re two years into it now, and kids are putting up stronger numbers and at some point you want that to show up on the football field. I thought last Saturday it probably did for the first time. We looked physical and we controlled the line of scrimmage against a team that is known as a physical team. Duke is a good football program and a good football team. Those guys are strong. I thought those guys have kind of controlled the line of scrimmage against us the last two years. That was a real good sign, but we have to keep it going. That was just one game. Just because it happens one game, we have to continue to make sure we do that.”
On if he expects Delaware to be just as physical
Clawson: “It’s going to be a real test. Delaware isn’t on ESPN every week, so nobody watches them. When you look at the size of their line and how physical they are, and when you watch them go against a good ACC team and they move the football. They blow people off the football. They’re big and they’re physical and they run schemes well. They’re very much a power oriented team. They’re a team that will get under center and give the ball to their 230-pound back, who will get their shoulder square going downhill. When you coach football in the northeast as long as I did, that’s really good football. That league every year sends four or five teams to the playoffs. Every year that league knocks off FBS teams. Those are good football programs, and they have good football players. I always felt there wasn’t as much of a group-of-five influence in that area. At Richmond, if you weren’t a Virginia or Virginia Tech player, we were getting the next group. We could beat East Carolina on players. Richmond, from Philadelphia to D.C., they’re a very powerful recruiting name. They always sell out and it’s a great atmosphere. Football is really important at the University of Delaware.”
On the great performance of the defense getting lost in the shuffle
Clawson: “I don’t think it’s been overlooked at all. They’re the reason we won the first game, and they kept us in this game when the offense struggles. That very easily could have been 14-0 or 21-0. Trust me. They allowed us to get on track. The defense allowed the offense to get on track. I’ve said all year that this is the deepest team we’ve had. Depth is already starting to show up. The other thing is that we’re playing those three safeties — it doesn’t matter who starts. Cam Glenn, Jessie Bates and Ryan Janvion are all playing, they’re all contributing and they’re all making big plays. We got Amari Henderson back and he broke up a really big third down play. Justin Strnad and Nate Mays played. You look at the defensive line, and you don’t have the full crew you thought you’d have, and you’re playing guys like Elontae Bateman, who you thought would be your fifth or sixth tackle, and he’s playing 24 snaps. He graded out well, and made a play on a quarterback draw for a TFL. Duke Ejiofor at times is just playing at a whole different level. He was defensive lineman of the week in the ACC, but the sacks basically caused two turnovers. He’s a force. Paris Black. Those are all freshmen and sophomore - not Duke. Paris, Chris Calhoun, Chris Stewart, (Willie) Yarbary, Elontae Bateman — those are all young guys, but they’re playing very hard and we’re able to keep them fresh by rolling them in there.”
On if he expects to have Yarbary back Saturday
Clawson: “We hope so. He was out there today. We were hoping we’d have him last week. It was a game-time decision. It was close, so we hope to have him this week. You’d hope to get Jaboree (Williams) back.”
On if Amari Henderson usurped Dionte Austin, after Austin’s missed tackle resulted in a Duke explosive play
Clawson: “No. We’ll play both those guys. We look at it that both those guys will play the field corner, and we’ll go with the hot hand. Dionte played well, but he gave up that one play where he missed the tackle. We got Amari in there and he played well. He was playing well (against Duke), so there was no reason to make a switch.”
On if Kendall Hinton will evolve his game within the system and pass more often
Clawson: “Yes. The deep ball to Cortez (Lewis), and then the ball to (Alex) Bachman was just perfect. It could not have been thrown at a different time, place or trajectory. That was just a perfect throw. Kendall can throw it. The more he plays, the more comfortable he gets and I think that will start showing.”
On if Justin Herron will play
Clawson: “I don’t know. We’ll see. He didn’t practice today. We were told after the game that they would hold him Tuesday and let him return Wednesday (ankle). (Jake) Benzinger would start, but (Nathan) Gilliam would play too.”