WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — After an impressive road victory in Bloomington last week, the Deacs (4-0) are gearing up to take their show on the road for the second-straight week, squaring off against in-state conference rival North Carolina State (2-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson met with the media Tuesday for a question and answer session.
On the feeling of the team being 4-0 and how the team has responded
Clawson: “The coach speak is that you always want to go 1-0 every week, but I think our players have really bought into that. I think anytime that a group is winning for the first time, they don’t take it for granted. I don’t feel our players have taken this for granted. Their work ethic has been excellent. Their preparation has been good. Our Friday walk-throughs and our meetings — that attention to detail has never been better in our program. Our players have bought into the fact that those things do carry over to Saturday. Then you combine that with an opponent that they know is really good. I feel we’ve had that one-week mindset and I don’t feel it’s a cliche with this group. They enjoy the win, and they enjoy that feeling in the locker room — then ok, we’re on to the next one. Let’s make that same weekly investment we need to for success.”
On John Wolford’s performance after losing the starting job
Clawson: “In some ways, I think John maybe played one of his best games here. We didn’t turn the ball over at all. We won the turnover battle 5-0. Great job by our defense for getting five turnovers, but incredible job by our offense by not turning the ball over. Last year, that was a game we really lost because of a pick six. I thought we managed the ball well, and I thought John managed the game well.
“It was encouraging to get some third downs converted running the football. I think we converted a 3rd-and-5 again by running it. He was really smart. He didn’t force the ball into traffic. He ran the ball when that was appropriate decision. I’ve said this many times in the offseason — a lot of you guys try to make John sound like an immobile quarterback. He played with a bad ankle last year, and John’s a good athlete. He’s shown that this year. The run he had against Delaware and the plays he made with his feet. John is a good athlete and can run. Now is he as dynamic as Kendall (Hinton)? No, but Kendall is exceptional. It doesn’t mean that John isn’t good with it, and John is a very good ball handler. He made good decisions. Our young wideouts are getting better. The passing game — it’s just not clicking yet. I see that getting better every week in practice and hopefully it will start to show up in the game.”
On the offense bailing the defense out for once
Clawson: “That’s huge. If you’re going to be a good football team, you have to win all types of games — low scoring, high scoring. We knew going into the Indiana game that — I thought going in to win the game we’d have to score at least 28 points. I just think Indiana is really good and really explosive on offense. The pace of the offense and the skill they have at receiver — I thought we would have to get somewhere in the mid-to-high 20s to win that game. We told our offense that. We’re going to have to make plays. We’re going to have to make explosives, and we’re going to have to execute in the red zone. We had a lull where we had those three 3-and-outs in the second quarter.
“Again, I thought the touchdown right before the end of the first half was a perfect two-minute drive. It’s one of the situations we practice all the time, where we have the ball with 1:30 left in the half at our own 20-yard line and we’re not sure if we’re going to try to score or not until we get some field position. You go out and right away just try to get a first down, because if you give them the ball back you don’t want them to have time. But if you do make the first down, then mid-series you’re shifting gears. It was good to see our offense do that. We got the first down with Matt Colburn, and jumped right into our two-minute mode and made some really good plays. The catch by Chucky (Wade) was big time. Just a great presence to get his feet down, and John (Wolford) threw an absolute strike that was either going to be a touchdown or out of bounds. It was good football, and I thought the offensive line protected well on that drive. Now that we’re older on offense and able to change tempo a little bit more. Those were things we’ve wanted to do here, but we’ve been so young to do those things. Now that we’re not starting six or seven freshmen, you can open up the playbook a little more.”