WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The change was noticeable immediately.
There indeed was a changing of the guard.
As the Deacs began practice Tuesday at the Doc Martin Football Practice Complex, a new guy had ascended to the top of the quarterback depth chart — sophomore Kendall Hinton.
It was noticeable, but also unsurprising, because Hinton’s play Saturday in the 24-14 win over Duke made the decision easy for Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson.
It was with Hinton running the show that the Demon Deacon offense came to life in the final 40 minutes of play, and Hinton that engineered a victory over his hometown Blue Devils that made the depth chart change all but certain.
Hinton went 6-for-11 passing against Duke for 133 yards, while rushing for 63 yards on 11 carries. His fourth-quarter 62-yard completion to Alex Bachman while facing 3rd-and-10 on his own 15 yard line led to a field goal that essentially sealed the game for the Deacs.
But on top of the plays he made and the stats he piled up, just Hinton’s mere presence on the field caused chaos for the Duke defense, as their focus often went to stopping Hinton — allowing other Deacs to get open and make plays.
“I feel like I had a pretty good game, but there’s a lot we can work on,” Hinton said after practice Wednesday. “Credit to the rest of the offense, that got us there. I feel like I had a pretty decent game, and hopefully it continues to the next game.”
The win over Duke was one of the top highlights for the program since Clawson has arrived, and one of the top moments for Hinton as well.
“It’s definitely up there,” he said. “It’s between last year’s B.C. win and this Duke win. Because Duke is a huge rivalry game. It felt good to come out of there with a win, after them having a winning streak for so long.”
Clawson awarded the starting job to Hinton and said the Delaware game is completely his game. There’s no definite plan to integrate John Wolford Saturday.
“It just feels great to be given this opportunity to be able to lead the team and make something happen,” Hinton said. “It’s a chance to continue our winning streak and stay undefeated, to give us momentum as we move closer to more conference games.”
Hinton said Wolford has taken the decision in stride.
“We’re definitely keeping a respectable friendship,” Hinton said. “You don’t let competition get in the way of friendship.”
The keys to continuing the momentum against Delaware this week?
“We just need to be disciplined as an offense, and I need to be a disciplined quarterback,” Hinton said. “I need to trust the offense, run our system and everything should be good.”