Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Deacs adjust to Delaware blitz, find success in 38-21 win

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson answers questions from the media following the Deacs 38-21 victory Saturday night over Delaware.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson answered questions from the media following the Deacs 38-21 win over Delaware Saturday.

On the offensive line

Clawson: “I think we controlled the line of scrimmage on offense. With Kendall (Hinton) in there, a lot of our game plan is to run the ball with the zone read stuff. We finally started on a starter at quarterback, and settle on one game plan instead of two, and then the next thing you know in the first quarter. . . I thought (offensive coordinator) Warren Ruggiero did a great job of adjusting. We started throwing the ball a little bit in the second half. John (Wolford) looked a little shaky throwing at first. He wasn’t setting his feet. In the second half, he started setting his feet and throwing good balls. That was encouraging.”

On Delaware bringing pressure on Wolford

Clawson: “What happened is with Kendall they weren’t blitzing a lot. It’s hard to blitz a zone read team, because there’s just so many seams. You can do it sometimes, but when John came in they just started bringing the house. They weren’t as worried about the zone read game. Their corners are great players. They made a good pick on their first touchdown. They were getting to us a little bit. As we ran it better, it allowed us to throw some of the bubble screens and some of the quick gains, hitches and the play action game. We had the big play to Cam (Serigne) down the seam, which was good to see.”

On shutting down the prolific Delaware rushing attack

Clawson: “I just think we challenged our guys to play physical. We knew Delaware was a physical football team. If you watch their front, they block everybody. We just had to be more physical. We just challenged our guys. We were very much worried that this could become very much like the Tulane game, where they moved the chains and controlled the clock, and limit possessions. We felt that if we got them to third down, we could get off the field, but we wanted it to be 3rd-and-longs. I thought we did a great job of stopping first and second down early in the game. We put them in a lot of 3rd-and-longs. Anytime you’re a running team like they are, that’s usually not a comfortable down for you. Our guys did a nice job up front.”

On setting the tone on defense early

Clawson: “They were running their pin and pull stuff, and we were getting penetration and making hits in the backfield You know, 2nd & 12 and 3rd & 14 are nice downs to play on defense, so I thought the front setting the tone by getting penetration allowed the backers to scrape and make run throughs and make plays. Then we got them in 3rd down. It becomes a competitive game though when you turn the ball over. By nature, you're always going to find the things to critique, but you're close to 500 yards, you limit a team to under 100, but you know to me those turnovers allowed them to get back in the game. We can't do that. We've been good at not turning the ball over but today we lost the turnover margin by two, which is why it was a competitive game for as long as it was.”

On when they knew Cade Carney wouldn’t be available

Clawson: “Probably had an idea Thursday. Wednesday he tweaked his knee, but we didn’t know how serious it was. Later that day, it was swelling up. We got an MRI Thursday night or Friday morning. We were concerned Wednesday, but were optimistic that if it wouldn’t swell up it was just a mild sprain. Then it swelled up on him, we got an MRI and pretty much knew Thursday or Friday. We kind of had an idea Thursday, but Friday we knew for sure.”

On when Carney might return

Clawson: “The MRI came back fairly clean. It is a MCL sprain. It's one of those things that I would be very surprised if we have him next week. I would say NC State might be optimistic. Hopefully Syracuse probable."

On when they will have Kendall Hinton back

Clawson: “I have no idea. Right now, Kendall is so strong in his legs that they can’t get him to loosen up right now. They’re really not sure what it is. We’re hoping for the best, and fearing for the worst.”

On overcoming the losses of Carney and Hinton

Clawson: “I really give John Wolford a lot of credit. We met with John and Kendall Sunday, and told both of them that Kendall would be the starting quarterback. Obviously, that’s a good meeting for Kendall and a very tough meeting for John. It’s always easy to tell the starter that they’re the starter. It’s tougher to tell the guy who has started that he’s going to be the backup. I told John, ‘I’m worried about you. You’ve put alot into this, you care alot about it and I know this isn’t easy.’ He said, ‘Coach, you don’t have to worry about me. I’ll be ready.’ He had a great week of practice. With the way Kendall plays, you just never know when. He had a great week or practice, and went out there. He was a little shaky at first. Wasn’t setting his feet. But then he got comfortable playing. He knew no matter what he did that he wasn’t coming out. I thought he got comfortable and threw the ball really well in the second half. I don’t know what his numbers are, because at Wake Forest we’re so media friendly that the reporters get the stat sheet before the head coach. (they were passing them out to us right then) I thought it was a beautiful touchdown strike to Alex Bachman. He was pressured, stepped up and threw a really nice ball.”

On if there were adjustments to the early blitzing by Delaware once Wolford entered

Clawson: “I think we started running some different plays because of the blitz. In your offense, you have zone beaters and blitz beaters. There’s run plays that you like better against base, and run plays you like better against blitz. When John went in there, they adjusted their defense, so we had to adjust our offense. We started calling different stuff. Some of the stuff we do just going fast helped too. Sometimes when you do that, it’s tough for the defense to get their blitz calls in.”

On having consecutive 100-yard rushing games by different players

Clawson: “We went how many games without having one? Matt Colburn had more than 100? Good. It was good to get Rocky (Reid) going too. He didn’t bust any, but we gave him a lot of carries and got him into the flow of the game.”

On how he would assess Colburn’s play

Clawson: “Matt played well. He gets behind his pads, pushes the pile forward. I think the defenses at times have a hard time seeing him. I think he’s got underrated speed. He comes through there and can make some nice plays. For his first start, he played well. I was really excited to see Steven Claude get a catch, and Scotty Washington get a catch. I say all the time, we’re starting eight freshmen and sophomores on offense. All of the skill players going into the game were freshmen and sophomores. You just hope every game they play and every week they go through that they get better and better, and that they will grow up really quickly. I think Matt Colburn has grown up the last two weeks, and I hope this will help Rocky get going a little bit.”

On being 3-0

Clawson: “It’s good. We want to be 4-0. Our goal every week is to be 1-0, so when our players start talking about going 3-0. I tell them ‘you can’t go 3-0 this week, you can only go 1-0 this week.’ It’s really that one game mantra — you enjoy it for 24 hours, then try to get the next one. If you do that, you’ll get better as a team and win more games. If you start getting caught up on ‘we have to get this many.’ Our players are very aware of it. I’m happy for them. They’ve worked hard. We’re off to a good start, but we want to keep going. We don’t want to be a team that started fast, and then say ‘what happened to them.’ Heading on the road next week, that will certainly be a really good challenge for our football team.”


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