Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Clawson on injuries, Wolford, excitement on campus

Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson speaks on the excitement on campus over the team's 3-0 start to the season.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson concludes his question and answer session with the media Tuesday:

On the various blitzes the Deacs will face against Indiana, after struggling against the blitz early against Delaware

Clawson: “I think Delaware is not a team that pressured a lot, then suddenly when John (Wolford) got in there, they did. In the second half, we handled the blitzes much better. Part of that was game plan. We anticipated being defended a certain way with Kendall, then when John came in they changed what they did. We got into halftime, made some adjustments and it worked out. With Indiana, there’s multiple people that come. They do a really good job disguising things. They’re very disciplined in their disguises. A lot of time with the blitz, there are people that tip it off or give it away. They don’t do that. It’s a challenge not only in protections, but also running the football. They have a lot of line movement, and twists. They’re physical, so you have to block guys that are 300 pounds and they’re trying to go right through you. They do a lot of good things.”

On if he’s seen a difference in John Wolford’s approach so far this week

Clawson: “John’s approach has always been great. John is always even-tempered and has a perfect demeanor. Even last week when John was not the starter, you didn’t see a different approach from him. That’s really one of his strengths. He’s steady in the boat now. I’m sure there’s a part of him that knows — it’s my game. He could throw three picks and he knows he’s staying in there. John is one of those do-right guys, that was raised right, his family did a great job, and he’s all about the team. Even last week — I really praised him in the locker room. A lot of times, you tell the guy that’s been starting that he’s not starting then they go down and they don’t prepare. With John it was no different. No different in meetings. Whatever he was feeling internally, he did not share with the team. He prepared and when his number was called, he was ready to go.”

On if there are aspects of IU’s program with Kevin Wilson that he would like to emulate at Wake

Clawson: “One aspect of it is that I would like us to be a physical team. I want us to have a good offensive line, have a team that can consistently run the football and play good defense. I just think the way their football team looks. These are guys with big chests and big arms. They look. . . as a coach, when a team comes out the locker room, you always look at them. Last year I remember thinking they had some good-looking dude. Corn feed beef, or whatever. They were well developed and looked like a big-time team. They played like it too.

“There’s a lot of programs you can look to, and I’ve done that through my career. You look at places that are like what you’re trying to build. Whether it’s Northwestern in the early-to-mid 90s or Stanford or a great example is what Jim Grobe did at Wake Forest — those are all models on how to win at places like this. I believe we’re getting better. I don’t think we’ve turned the corner yet. I still believe we have a lot of work to do in every aspect of the program, and we’re making improvements. We’re making a jump. I felt we made a jump last year, but the record didn’t reflect it. We want to make a jump this year that the record does reflect it.”

On the significance of potentially winning his 100th game as a coach Saturday

Clawson: “I’m excited about having the chance to go 1-0 this week with Wake Forest. I think those are things when the year is over — I’ve been very fortunate to be a head coach for a long time. I was very fortunate at a young age that an athletic director trusted me and gave me a chance to coach. I’ve never ever taken a job for granted. I’m very lucky to be able to do this for a living and coach as long as I have. Something like that (100th win) lets you reflect on all the different players and all the different coaches you’ve worked with and all the different experiences you’ve been blessed to have. If it happens, will I enjoy it for a little bit? Yeah. But that’s one I save for the end of the year. Twenty-four hours, then hopefully the goal is to get 101.”

On if he had concerns about the emotion of the team after losing both Kendall Hinton and Cade Carney

Clawson: “Our team believes in John too. Our team believes in Tyler Bell, Matt Colburn and Rocky Reid. That’s why you recruit. Injuries are part of football, and they’re going to happen. You hate it when they happen. Is there a little frustration in that you finally made a decision of naming a quarterback and then a quarter into it. . . ? That’s why I’ve said all year — we’ve never had those two healthy for the last year. That’s why even last week in practice, we really split reps. We’ve always felt like we’ve needed to get them both ready, and thank goodness we have. John was good enough to be our starting quarterback at the beginning of the season. The players believe in him, and know how hard he works at it. They’re going to play for him, just like they play for Kendall.”

On injuries

Clawson: “We’re getting a lot of guys back. Justin Herron, Elontae Bateman, Jaboree Williams all practice today. Kendall (Hinton) and Cam (Glenn) are two really big losses, but we’re getting a lot of good players back. It’s week four, and we’re getting to play a team coming off a bye week, which seems like a regular event at Wake Forest — the next two weeks in a row.”

On if Demetrius Kemp will play

Clawson: “No. Kemp won’t play. I don’t know (on Cam Glenn). He didn’t pull it. It’s just a matter of how he feels. We’re certainly prepared to play without him.”

On the atmosphere around campus

Clawson: “When all the students rolled The Quad after the Duke win, that was really special for our players. I think that made those guys feel good. They’ve worked very hard for two years, and when things weren’t going well they still worked hard. There’s a part of them that wants them to enjoy that. If people are friendlier to them and more people smile and shake their hand, that’s all a good thing. But it all goes back to — why is this happening? It’s happening because you’re working hard and preparing. Don’t change what you’re doing. Enjoy the moment, but don’t get lost in it.”


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